Are You Alive?

Are you alive? It might seem to be a silly question, as you are obviously technically alive since you are reading this. But are you truly alive and living the life you were born to live -- a life of purpose, vitality and meaning?
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

"Each day should be passed as though it were our last." -- Publilius Syrus (fl. 1st Cent. BC)

Are you alive? It might seem to be a silly question, as you are obviously technically alive since you are reading this. But are you truly alive and living the life you were born to live? A life of purpose, vitality and meaning? What if you were struck down suddenly with no warning, would you be content with the life you've lived?

It's almost Easter and Passover, a time of rebirth and renewal. A good time to assess how vibrantly alive you are.

On Monday, Jim went to work in the morning and played tennis in the afternoon. On Tuesday he thought he thought he was coming down with the flu, and on Wednesday he was in the intensive care unit of the local hospital. Tubes supplied oxygen, liquids and medicine to him; he was rushed into exploratory surgery to determine if his heart was impacted by the raging, life-threatening infection in his body.

By Friday Jim was hooked up to a complex array of tubes when I finally managed to get there. He was remarkably positive in his lucid moments, and expressed his love for us with gentle eyes in a voice made raspy and barely audible from the many exploratory procedures done to his throat and chest. We held back tears as we surrounded him with love and prayers, and took shifts to be with him 24 hours a day.

We met with the many medical specialists who roamed in and out of his ICU room. Each had his or her own perspective, but none could answer why this vibrant and healthy man was abruptly reduced to a feverish, hallucinating and feeble shell, unable to move his arms and legs, clinging weakly onto life.

Jim led a life of purpose. He built a company, which made products that were respected and sought-after worldwide. His employees were loyal and many had been with him since the beginning over 40 years ago. He was active in the community, donating time and resources to his church and humanitarian causes locally and globally. He raised five loving children and had five grandchildren. At 86 years old, he had lived fully. When he passed into the light less than two weeks after his sudden collapse, it was bittersweet. He lived well and died with no regrets, save for causing grief and longing in all of us left behind.

How would you feel if it was you? Would you be content and prepared to leave this planet? Many of us live each day as if we have lots more years left to eventually do what we really want to do, and to express what is deep in our hearts. But what if there were no more years? Or even months for you to do all that you've put off?

"We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves." -- Alice Bloch

Take the time to reflect on your life purpose. Quiet the noises in your head and turn off the relentless outside yammering of what should be important to you. Go back to your heart; listen to your own wise inner voice that has been muted by all the loud outside opinions. Be patient and gentle with yourself; allow your inner child to speak to you about your reason for being. It may take a few tries before you begin to hear the message. It's worth it. Finding your life purpose will propel you to another level of existence, where you are motivated to do what you are destined to do. Your life purpose will guide you and help you determine the choices, and what needs to be done to bring you balance, happiness and peace.

More good news! Research has shown that people living with a reason for being, live longer, are happier, healthier and more successful than people without one. So during this time of renewal and rebirth, take a new look at yourself. Contemplate your inherent goodness; yes, it's in you innately. Live from your highest potential and know that you are able to attain what is beyond the appearance of your everyday existence. Happy rebirth to you, and may you always be fully alive!

"Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life." -- Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)

Marilyn Tam's new book, "The Happiness Choice - The Five Decisions that Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be" was just released. Marilyn wrote the book so that others may benefit from what she learned, often through painful experience on how to be happy, healthy and have a dynamically balanced life. Many experts in the five key aspects of life: Body, Relationships, Money, Spirit, and Community contributed to the book. This includes Joan Borysenko PhD, Jack Canfield, Arielle Ford, MJ Ryan, Harville Hendrix PhD, Michael Galizter MD and many more leaders in their fields. All share personal stories, insights and expertise on the key factors that influence our lives. Each talk about their personal life purpose and their secrets to happiness. You can get more free insights and find out about Marilyn on her website and connect with her on facebook

Marilyn Tam is an international selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, humanitarian and former CEO of Aveda, President of Reebok Apparel Products & Retail Group and VP of Nike and the Founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation.

For more by Marilyn Tam, click here.

For more on wisdom, click here.