Categories Menu

To Live or To Expiate

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Expiate — To extinguish guilt or to atone

In his essay, Self Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson says “I don not wish to expiate, but to live.  My life is not an apology, but a life.”

Let’s live today.  Let’s pause and recognize this moment is different from the previous one and different still from the one yet-to-come.  From our bones and from our Soul, let us express this moment as who we are without apology.  Let’s decide to be ourselves fully.  Let’s speak what is ours to give voice to and be quiet where it doesn’t matter to us. Let us do what is ours to do and let others make their contribution with equal conviction.

I often speak to the “how” one lives their life and the “what” one does through their life’s actions when officiating a memorial service.  These are two different ways to examine a life.  For example, I can Google my father’s name and pull up a portfolio of his work left behind.  This is the “what” is done in life.  And then there is the “how”  the doing is accomplished, not available on Google, but through the transmission of self-expression.  This is the essence slathered within, without, and all over the doing.  It is the personality, the intention, the Soul of the individual.  When we lose someone, we miss the “how” they lived their life.  We miss the invisible unique expression behind their actions.  It is their essence and presence which we most grieve.

I remember waking up one morning years ago hearing my inner Self say “I don’t want to die without having lived.”  I was a bit surprised because I had prided myself in not cowering.  However, not cowering and living produce different life experiences.  Shortly after this revelation I had a vision of my friends and family standing next to my grave not knowing who I was while I was embodied, here on earth. My Me-ness was too wimpy to express itself fully, afraid of what others may think about me.  I was trying to fly beneath the radar, not wanting to stand out in any significant way.  But I was being called into living a vibrant version of Me.  I knew innately I was here not solely as a student of life, yet as a lover of life.  I chose in that moment to live giving forth my gifts and talents without apology.

Join me in living fully.  Be yourself today and let yourself drip all over the planet.  Not at the exclusion of others, for the benefit of us all.

Rock on,


Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *