So I was standing in the car wash gift store (don’t ask) and saw this.

First thing that struck me: Every lifetime is a journey. Whereas a very cool trip, like the one I took to Egypt last year, could be considered the journey of a lifetime.

So while this headline sounds good, it’s actually not logical. Life is not the journey of a lifetime, it IS the lifetime.

I know, right? Am I the only one who actually parses card headlines? (Maybe not. I know some of you readers!)

Nonetheless, it got me thinking about a favorite Ram Dass quote:  “You can do it like it’s a great weight on you or you can do it like it’s part of the dance.”

He would know. More than 20 years before he died, this erudite teacher and philosopher suffered a debilitating stroke. He was paralyzed and suffered expressive aphasia the rest of his life. What a cruel twist–this great thinker and communicator lost the ability to easily express his thoughts.

His longtime friend, Krishna Das, points out that he never heard Ram Dass complain about it, either. Not once. Because RD saw it as an opportunity to grow, as the lesson that it was.

I can’t say I would be as perceptive. Let’s face it. The troubles and infirmities we face are great weights for most of us.

And yet. if we look at this lifetime as a journey, it’s possible to view the stuff that happens to us differently. Change our lens, change the view. Is it a great burden? Or can we see it as part of the dance of life? What can we learn from the things that happen in our lives? How can we use those lessons in the future?

Attitude shifts are not easy and especially not easy when they concern infirmities. But when I look at Ram Dass and how he lived the two decades after his stroke. I am mightily inspired.

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