There is no self-made man or self-made woman. Remember what has brought you to this moment. Remember your ancestors. Your ancestors lived, struggled, fought, thrived and celebrated for one reason – you. You, my friend, are the result of countless generations of hope, love, faith, and charity. Consider this monumental moment of graduation your season of springtime brought forth to you by those who came before you. However, springtime isn’t what brings forth fortitude. No, it’s the harsh winters that reveal us to ourselves. The moments when it’s cold, resources aren’t easy to find, and when we’re lonely are the moments when we dig deep and realize we’re stronger than we ever knew. Before you arrived at this season of springtime there was the season of winter with all its storms. The winter storms of those who didn’t believe in you. The chilling winds of those who abandoned you; the long winter nights where the only thing that gave you warmth was your blanket of hope, and sometimes that hope felt frail, but you allowed yourself to hold on for one more day. That one more day turned into a series of days, all leading to this moment. So in this moment of your springtime I am not asking you to look at all of the books you’ve read, the theories you learned, the information you memorized, your GPA, or even your diploma. I am asking you to look at and consider something else. Perhaps it’s something you’ve become more acquainted with during your journey to graduation, or perhaps it’s something you’ve grown further away from. Either way, it’s fully accessible to you because it is you. It’s where the voices and fortitude of your ancestors reside. It’s where your calling sings to you. It’s a place where there is no such thing as I, only we. It is a place that reminds you that any attempts to live for yourself is not living at all. It contains all the reasons you were born, and all that will benefit the next seven generations who come after you. This most sacred place is your heart.
The type of diploma you now hold in your hand, or hanging on your wall is of no great significance to the world unless it is accompanied and guided by a heart filled with love and compassion. In this transitory, wonderful, and mysterious life you are now in a position to do what you always wanted to do, what you were sent to do – to change the world for the better. All the dreams you held about changing the world for the better when you were a child were not silly, childish thoughts. When you were a child is the time you heard and understood the ingenuous language of the heart most clearly. Regardless of your profession and the career path you follow, you can change the world for the better. Before you continue with your plans of career paths and professional positions, I am asking you to consider the position of your heart. If you are positioned resolutely within your heart you will find fulfillment. If you are positioned away from your heart you will find voids that only moving back to your heart can fill. Moving back to and living from your heart is the most courageous way to live. If you’re willing to live with and from your heart, of course you will experience hurt, pain, and loss, but those will be moments, not a lifetime. There is nothing more tortuous to the human soul than going down a path that has no heart, because it’s counterintuitive to our spirit. This direction is a lifetime of suffering, always leading to a final moment of regret that no one has to experience, but unfortunately, many do.
At this point in your blessed life I urge you to make one simple decision that will ensure you do not miss the reason you were born. This simple decision is taking a very short walk. It’s a walk that I have witnessed people on their deathbeds wish they could turn back time to when they were in your position, and take the first step on this sacred path that ensures all paths taken after it are meaningful, not meaningless. It is a walk that is only seventeen inches long. It is a walk I suggest you take now, and every day throughout your life to ensure you truly live, and share life with all those fortunate enough to be in your presence. On this very short walk you will find love in the purest sense in your personal and professional life. In this pure love you will find your calling. You will always recognize your true calling by one key trait: That which fills you when you give it away. To know love and your true calling within love, take the short walk from your head back to your heart.