“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
Ash, Irina & Damien Sharma
My personal philosophy is best summoned up by the Latin phrase, “Amor fati” (coined by Nietzsche), which means “love of fate”. It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good.
These days, I live in Orlando, Florida with my partner of 23 years, my beautiful wife Irina and my 13 year old son, Damien but I’ve been floating back and forth across the Atlantic between the UK and USA most of my life and feel very fortunate to be the product of a multi-cultural upbringing. I acknowledge that I’m an imperfect being and that I haven’t always lived like a saint but I would also like to think that I’ve stepped up to more than my fair share of unselfish acts.
To me it’s the complex interplay of our strengths and weaknesses coupled with the inevitable chapters of random happiness and sadness that make up the human experience and I wholeheartedly embrace the inevitability of that experience. I’ve always had a hard time accepting that “everything happens for a reason”, but I do believe that if we choose, each of us has the power to bring meaning to our personal circumstances and in truth, I think that we can all acknowledge that the essence of our character is actually forged in adversity and heartbreak.
Gratitude and acceptance have become the cornerstones of my personal philosophy. If I were to die tomorrow; certainly, there would be things left undone… experiences that had remained elusive but I must say that I have enjoyed a colorful life and accept whatever time that I have been granted; I’m completely comfortable with my mortality.
I feel very fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively and some of my best moments have been born out of those experiences; I vividly remember riding a horse in the Sahara Desert when I was a boy, coming over the top of a sand dune as the last vestige of sunlight disappeared behind the horizon to find myself looking at the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx; in that moment, time seemed to stand still. Or decades later, standing on “the roof of the world” while camping in the Tibetan Himalayas; the breath-taking majesty of the night sky presented the Milky Way as I had never seen it… an endless trail of stars arched across the entire celestial sphere holding me transfixed in it’s majestic, timeless beauty. I remember a bitterly cold Christmas in Paris, sitting in the window of a café opposite Notré Dame with both hands firmly clasped around a welcome cup of hot chocolate and watching the billowing gusts of wind gather up snowflakes in a magical dance across the face of the great cathedral.
However, it’s not just the highlights that seem frozen in time, but those moments in between everything else that often bring the most resonance and insight… watching my son fall asleep, soaking in his innocence and letting myself feel the rhythm of his breathing or pausing during a family meal to take stock of the people that I have chosen to break bread with, reminding myself that my loved ones and the good folk that share my life are my true wealth or even just the simple pleasure of looking into my wife’s beautiful green eyes and allowing myself to be lost all over again in their magic. Life is a collection of such moments, big and small… being truly present and mindful of them all is a source of great happiness.
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