Live, Learn, and Love
by Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.
Pondering the deeper meaning of life–alone and in conversation with friends–I always come back to the same trilogy: to live, learn, and love. I suppose I could add to embrace, to evolve, and to contribute, but I like the simplicity of the first three which for me sum up
the core elements of why I am here. The three, as I see them, are interrelated in that one must live in order to learn and learn in order to love.
“To live” encompasses being aware and embracing life’s gifts, large and small. So often, in the midst of our struggle for a livelihood, we lose touch with what resonates most for us. Busy as we are at our jobs, with our families, and in our communities,
it is easy to lose track of that which makes our hearts sing…and which is most often “free.” To make time to care for our magnificent bodies or revel in the majesty of a sunset. To regularly feed our personal passions for art, music, sports, children, animals, technology,
etc. To laugh heartily and often, and connect with other human beings. To feel the satisfying fatigue of a day well-spent and the exhilaration of a dream yet to be realized. These are the logs that fuel the fire of life. Even in the midst of disease, economic hardship, and
emotional pain, we can celebrate our strength, resilience, faith and support system. Feel the pain, accept what is, and appreciate both the danger and the opportunity. To me, a life well-lived is living well, regardless of your situation. There will always be someone richer,
poorer, happier, or less fortunate than you. Questions I ask myself regularly are: what are you doing with what you’ve been given, and are you aware of blessings as they appear.
“To learn,” means we not only embrace life, but we grow. In all of nature there is a process of moving from the tiniest potential to the fullest bloom to eventual fulfillment of purpose…at least in the physical world…in one life cycle. A seedling does not
stay a seedling forever; it grows into a fruit–or leaf–baring-tree. So too, I believe, we are here to learn about our potential and become more of our higher selves. If we take risks, fall down, and pick ourselves up again, we are learning. If we listen more than we speak,
observe our impact as well as act, and follow in the footsteps of trustworthy role models, we are learning. If, on the other hand, we sleep-walk through life, going through our days on auto-pilot, we are existing, not living. In fact, it is more accurate to say we are dying
because in the physics principle of entropy, we learn that all living systems are either expanding or contracting at any given time. There is no status quo; we are either growing or breaking down. The famous nun brain studies illustrate this example well by connecting lack of
intellectual stimulation and growth with Alzheimer’s disease…an actual shrinking of a portion of the brain. The same can be seen with exercise or a lack therefore as it relates to strength or atrophy of muscles. Use it or lose it seems to be true not only for physical growth,
but for inner growth as well. Have you ever noticed that when you keep getting the same “bad luck,” it’s often because you continue to make the same mistake-–mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Perhaps you ignore your heart and do something you “feel” is wrong. Or maybe
you ignore a “sign” that you should choose another path. Not tapping your higher level thinking by practicing meditation, prayer, or quiet reflection, means you lose the ability to choose what is right for all concerned, thus the “lesson” may appear over and over…until you
get it. Repetition is an important element of learning.
“To love” is in my mind the deepest meaning of life, with living and learning necessary stepping stones along the way. And I mean to love not in the romantic sense, but to know, accept, care for, give to, and connect with all living creatures. Not to
selectively love only those who fulfill our needs or reflect our views–although that’s not a bad place to start–but to go to a deeper place within and tap our well of pure, innocent love that bubbles up spontaneously when we rake aside the debris left by fear and ego. To
treat strangers kindly, to fall in love with nature, to care for those less fortunate, and to trust those closest to us are all signs that we “get” the meaning of life. To not judge or hold grudges, to invest ourselves for the benefit of others, and to help others see–in
fact, BE–their very best is, in my mind, to love. When I appreciate my own light and recognize it in others, I become one with goodness and in those moments, life’s meaning appears.
© Copyright 2006 Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D. All rights
Suzanne Zoglio, Ph.D.,
is a life-balance expert, author, and national lecturer. Through her writing, coaching, and seminars, she helps individuals and work teams reach their full potential. With a personal mission to nurture growth, she supports practices that lead to energy, empowerment, and the realization of meaningful goals.
Suzanne’s books include Recharge in Minutes and Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul (Named “Outstanding
Book of the Year” and “Most Life-Changing” in the Independent Publisher Book Awards).
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