Your Life’s Work


It’s already inside you….

In Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book 10 Secrets to Success & Inner Peace, I read “Second Secret: Don’t Die With Your Music Still in You” eagerly looking for some good suggestions or anecdotes. As a lover of music, I surmised this would be information I would understand suggesting one should let your voice sing the songs of your heart–let the music speak to and from your inner thoughts. I was more intrigued when he quickly spoke of

Khalil Gibran’s quote: “When you are born, your work is placed  in your heart.”

That quote from the Lebanese-American poet, writer & philosopher Khalil Gibran is familiar to me because a friend had gifted the book, The Prophet, to me in the early 70s.  Each time I read a part of that book, I feel emotions & challenges that stir my heart. I  began to believe my dreams could come true and I would only need to let life move through me and ultimately I would become the person I wanted to be. I read and re-read the book and do still today because it gives me confirmation that I have been and am following the path of my heart, the emotional & intuitive side of my brain. The book lies on the table in my library–ready to pick up anytime and renew my spirit and find additional strength.

But let me warn you here, this is not a “one and done” approach to living your life. It takes multiple starts and restarts and more research and discovery. However, if you do not become active in your life, you’ll miss even the smallest reward. You will need to begin and adjust and re-assess. Living in peace is part of your life’s work. You have within you the strength and perseverance but you will need to apply your work your entire life. That’s why it’s called your life’s work.

Because I am a music lover, it’s easy to see why the words of Henry David Thoreau became my words to live by (I first read them in my senior year 1965).

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music he hears however measured or far away.”


From the days of my teen years, I heard a different drummer. I could often be found reading and listening to music. I loved singing along to the radio, record player or in church.  Predominantly I was listening to my parents’ music (later known as “The American Songbook”) not the new rock and roll. I believed I should saturate my heart with music, and it would emit from me to others.

There was an early turn in my thinking and the time I spent contemplating my life and future role in it. I read all kinds of books–adventure, history, mystery, biographies, literature. I spent my senior year reading The Bible through (I’d had a strong upbringing and training in the Word). I knew deep inside there were things I should decide upon and knew those things would begin my journey into adulthood. It was at this time I began to form my impressions, expressions and directions. I was choosing a road map for my life. I’ve never regretted the routes I’ve taken or detours forced upon me…it’s not all wonderful, but it is all important.

As Dr. Dyer said, we should listen to the quiet voice in our hearts–the center of our emotions.  In reality the music was a part of my heart, part of my life’s work. I had the training and education to make a living with the skills I had developed. But there was always something more that spurred my passion resulting in my energy being stronger, more vivid–the sound that lived in me. I could find a certain peace when I melded my thoughts with the sounds of beautiful music. I learned I had the choice of making my life and my thoughts peaceful. I became enthusiastic about creating more calmness and purpose in those moments–I listened to the strings, horns, rhythm and words of music. But more than that, I let the music accompany my daily life choices. I let it set the pace. I let it move through my body and soak deeply into my soul.

Let me insert here about the word enthusiasm: it comes from the Greek word “entheos” which means the God within and “iasm” which is the passion you feel inside. Those are the brain messages directing you to a certain path. That is where you find your life’s work–inside you.

Rudyard Kipling says: “If you can meet triumph & disaster and treat those two impostors the same…yours is the earth and everything within it.”

This encourages me to be compassionate about what my thoughts are and how I need to be heartfelt in my direction. Only then can I proudly and without hesitation claim my own music.

Music is more than the notes set to tune and timing.

Music is more encompassing than just the notes put into sound.

Music is the pace you keep as you step through life’s highways.

Music is part of the foundation upon which I’ve built my life’s thoughts.  I have allowed it into the decision-making portion of my brain where I am able to select the true and passionate choices for life.

In my 20s I was making adult decisions–marriage, children, life’s work–and it was then I knew I had different goals than many of my friends. And early in my adult life I would make a decision that would lead me into the direct path of a life changed. I know what Gibran means when he says your life’s work is inside you–constantly honing and changing.

It is extremely important to know the things that bring peace to us; we need to seek those things. We must be true to ourselves and carry our commitment forward to all whose lives we touch.  That truth must first ring in harmony for us or we cannot represent peace and harmony if our notes are not in tune.

To say you should not die with the music still in you is to remind us that unattended, the things of the heart may wither and die. Seek that note which represents your emotions then let it resound to all around you. Soak in all the peace you can find; let it grow inside you and reach out to others; let it reverberate back to you with even more harmonies; only then can we give all we have to give living our purpose and singing our music all our days.

Never let the last thoughts of your life be “what if I had but “I did.”See the source image

Listen here to:  “If” – A song by Six Elements –


 Poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream- -and not make dreams your master;
If you can think- -and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on! ‘

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings- -nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And- -which is more- -you’ll be a Man, my son!

Dr. Wayne Dyer. 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace. Hay House Inc., 2001

Gibran, Khalil. The Prophet. 1923. Translated into more than 20 languages.

Thoreau, Henry David. "Walden," Chapter 18, 1966; originally published 1854.

Kipling, Rudyard. Poem "If", written 1895 (poet lived from 1865-1936).

About Van Hess

Traveler ~ Writer ~ Dreamer Across the Web I blog at "New Journeys On Old Roads" Follow me on Twitter @VanHessTXred

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