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One of summer's pleasures is taking a little extra time to read. I'm one of those readers who always -- fiction or non-fiction -- reads the acknowledgments (and the introduction and epilogue, if there is one). I think that writing a book is quite an accomplishment. It usually takes years of effort and, once it's written, published and read, it blows my mind to think that it is then put aside, forgotten or passed on. It took so much to complete but once it's done, people move on.

It reminded me of a life -- my life, your life. Life is hard and most of us work hard at it! We don't get where we are without a little nudge or advice or comfort along the way.

What if we all took the time to write an acknowledgments page for our life such as it is up to now? It's not an obituary -- that outlines all the things we did and loved. It's not a resume or a CV -- that usually describes our work and academic accomplishments, maybe some volunteering or other affiliations. I mean, what if you sat down today and wrote your acknowledgments page to the book that you've already written, that is, your life?

Who would you thank for helping you to become the creative force that you are (because that is what you are -- by definition, life is a creative impulse!)? Maybe you'd thank your parents or a coach or a great teacher who inspired you to go for it when you doubted yourself. Would you thank a friend or lover who spurned you, lighting the fire of determination in you to succeed in spite of what they said? What about your childhood friend who never failed to make you laugh or smile or feel good about yourself even when you only saw each other every decade or more? You may have experienced a random act of kindness or inspiration or motivation that was known only to you and never to the passer-by or aunt or uncle or neighbor who said just the right thing at the right time who never even knew they had any effect on your life whatsoever. Assistants, advisers, therapists, counselors, children, shopkeepers, co-workers, friends... so many people in your life have affected you in one way or another.

When Barack Obama said, "You didn't build that," he was acknowledging that we are all beneficiaries of the work and influence of others, whether it's a project we've worked at diligently and sought the advice, consultation and assistance of experts or whether it's just the life we've lived to this moment.

So, here's a thought for you: take the time to write your acknowledgments page. You don't have to publish it or show it to anyone. But take some time to remember who helped you, who influenced you, who guided you or showed you another possibility. Take the time to realize that you are a part of the whole, the main . . . that you are involved in mankind.

Peace and love to you in the week ahead.


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