Today I watched the funeral of Muhammad Ali and was deeply moved by the speeches that eulogized him. The lengthy funeral concluded with a speech by Bill Clinton. President Clinton started by lamenting about what more could he say about Muhammad Ali that hadn’t already been said by the previous speakers. He decided to talk about the later half of Muhammad Ali's life, which Mr. Clinton called the best half of his life.
As most people know, Muhammad Ali lived with Parkinson’s disease for the last half of his life. Parkinson’s disease is a progressively debilitating neuromuscular disease that affects both physical & neurological function During the first half of his life, he was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. During the first half of his life, Muhammad Ali “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.” Yet it was the second half of Ali’s life that President Clinton said was his best.
President Clinton said that as Muhammad Ali lost his physical prowess, he found his true self. President Clinton pointed out that Muhammad Ali never let anything or anyone write his story for him. Even as he lost the power to speak he continued to communicate his love and compassion to everyone he met! Additionally by losing control of his body Muhammad Ali seemed to develop his heart and his soul.
I am always inspired by those who live joyfully and intentionally despite great obstacles and of course, I am inspired by Muhammad Ali! I also was struck by the idea that he wrote his own story and I wondered if I was doing the same thing? What story was I writing? And, if I read that story would I be inspired by it! It made me consider rewriting and revising a couple chapters, eliminating the drama that drowns out the peace, joy and love always available to me, in my story. Are you writing your own story? If so, I hope you’re making it a good one!