Mark, your comment about living life and not just passing through it, rings all to true for me. I usually say that I think life is happening to me, but I am not directing it as well as I know that I can.
I can give some really good talks on how to live your life with a decent amount of serenity and sense of direction, rejoicing that we can determine who we want to be. Most days, I do not practice it though. That is when I forget that I have lots of control of things, but I choose to sit back and watch what is going to happen. For me, that is rather maddening.
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.