Happiness is a Direction not a Destination

Photo: YouTube

Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer, on May 28, 2014, at age 13. However, Athena’s death was not just another sad story about a child who passed away too early. Instead the story of Athena’s death become a story of a very different kind.

As her family was going through the belongings in her room, her father happen to remove a full length mirror from Athena’s bedroom wall. On the back of the mirror was 3000+ word secret message she secretly left for hers parent and siblings. A message of inspiration and hope.

Her father described Athena “as a very spiritual person, she’d go on about stuff that I could never understand. She never mentioned the message.” Her mother said “Athena loved to write, that was part of who she was, it made her happy. She was always positive, even when she was in hospital.”

What do you see when you look at yourself in a mirror? You see a reflection of your physical self, the physical body, the physical container that interacts with your soul and spirit. Is that reflection of your physical self the “real you?” Is that reflection of your physical self the only way you view yourself? Is that view a limiting view? Or should you consider a different view point of how you should view yourself?

What do you see when you look at the back of a mirror? What you see depends on how creative you are and what kind of imagination you have. There is no reflection of your physical self, so when you look at the back of mirror, how would you described yourself? What do you actually see? Is this the “real” you instead?

So why did Athena write her message on the back of her mirror?

Athena could have easily wrote it in on paper in a journal or diary, in a file on her computer, on her phone?

I am only speculating here, but even at the young age of 13 Athena likely realized that the reflection she saw of her physical self, was not the “real” Athena. What Athena was seeing daily in her mirror was a reflection of her physical self, her physical body that was suffering from the affects of bone cancer. The real Athena was an intuitive who realized her own soul journey was to be short, a writer, a dreamer, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a giver and receiver of love and many other things.

According to her mother Athena liked to write. It was part of who she really was, part of her “real” self. Writing made her happy. According to her father, Athena was spiritual. With her spiritual beliefs, she understood she was more than her body, her physical container.

Athena may have written on the back of her mirror to remind us all that we are so much more than the reflection of our physical selves we see daily in a mirror. Our own message, our own “real” selves are so much more than a reflection we see in a mirror.

Athena’s mirror message is a message we all should read and contemplate very carefully. There are so many words of wisdom from this 13 year old writer, we all need to apply in our daily lives. Here is the full text of her mirror message from the Daily Mail in the UK.


Athena’s Mirror Message:

“Happiness depends upon ourselves. Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Happiness is a direction not a destination. Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young. You know my name, not my story.

You have heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through. Love is like glass, looks so lovely but it’s easy to shatter.

Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change. Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad. If someone loves you, then they wouldn’t let you slip away no matter how hard the situation is. Remember that life is full of ups and downs.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. I want to be that girl who makes the bad days better and the one that makes you say my life has changed since I met her!

Love is not about how much you say I love you – it’s about how much you can prove it’s true. Love is like the wind, you can feel it but you can’t see it. I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to. Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without… Life is a game for everyone but love is the prize. Only I can judge me.

Sometimes love hurts. Now I’m fighting myself. Baby I can feel your pain. Dreams are my reality. It hurts but it’s okay, I’m used to it. Don’t be quick to judge me, you only see what I choose to show you… you don’t know the truth. I just want to have fun and be happy without being judged.

This is my life, not yours, don’t worry about what I do. People gonna hate you, rate you, break you, but how strong you stand, that’s what makes you… you!

There’s no need to cry because I know you’ll be by my side.”


Thank you Athena. I did not meet you, but thank you for changing my life and pointing me in the right direction after reading about you. You have indeed accomplished your goal of being the girl that “makes you say my life has changed since I met her!

If you were going to leave a message behind, what would it be? Who would you write it to?
Let’s start a discussion on this topic. Leave me a message below.

Out There on the Edge of Everything®…

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Copyright © 2019, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD.  All rights reserved.

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Award-winning and best-selling author, Entrepreneur, Visionary, CEO of 2 different companies, Attorney, Tech Expert, Certified Solution-Focused Life Coach.

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