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Natural Awakenings Bucks and Montgomery Counties PA

Learning Through Life

My holiday season has been filled with family gatherings and new resolutions—plus conversations about how fast you go from age 15 to 50. With that fresh in my mind, I’ve spent some time reflecting on my own life but also on the journey ahead for my son. He’s hunting for college; fearing, I assume, the unknown, and looking into the abyss of growing up. 

By age 17, my own journey had taken me from the street life of Brooklyn to Taipei, Taiwan, courtesy of military service. Those two years in Taiwan mesmerized me with new experiences, new cultures and learning just how big life is. By age 24, I was married and a father of two, and for the next ten years, there was nothing any book, any professor, any one person could help me with. Life was my teacher. And sometimes Life handed me a punch in the face. I never got use to that punch, but then, I never knew that I needed it. Which leads me to this point—Life is the greatest teacher and paying attention to the moment is the key. Accepting it all—the ups, the downs, the mistakes, the rewards, the people, the experiences, the friends, the challenges—they are all part of our instruction, and in some cases, tests to help us become who we are and can be. I only wish I learned how to pay attention a little earlier.

Life does go by fast. If you’re as lucky as me, then 50 quickly goes to 75. Now my teaching is a little easier. The punch is a tap, the moments are miracles, each breath is a gift, and humility has taken over ego (though not totally). You realize that life is good, love is breathtaking, kindness and giving is a gift to myself.  

Life has taught me to live in the moment, as best I can, experience the possibilities, dream the dreams, take risks (safe ones), be there for others, to make gratitude a cornerstone of thinking, to live with integrity, make good decisions, and embrace love no matter what. I still have lots to learn and chapters to write, so as we enter into the new decade I hope everyone will pay more attention to self because life has taught me that my life, my happiness and my path is my responsibility. And that is a good thing.

In love, peace and laughter,

Joe Dunne

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