I just found out that a former co-worker passed away today. I think back to when we worked together. He was strong, fit, smart, always ready to help someone out. He would regularly go for a run at lunchtime, and he never hesitated to get involved when there was an opportunity to make a difference in the world. He and his wife spent some time in Africa a number of years ago, looking after people who needed medical help.
As I reflect on his life, I am reminded of my own mortality. When we’re young, we think we have an eternity here on this earth. When we’re middle-aged, we wonder where the time went, and we wonder how much time is left. How much time is left? I can hear the whisper of a reply. “You are not meant to know. You are simply meant to live fully one day at a time.”
“But how can I do that?” I ask. “Trust that whatever apparent obstacles come your way are only there to help you reach for more – more strength, more emotion, more depth.”
“Please teach me,” I ask, and these 3 things come flowing into my mind.
- Be authentic. No matter how you think people want you to be, your only job is to be yourself. From a place of true authenticity, you can stand in your own power and offer people what they need without taking away from what you need. When you are not being authentic, you are as a leaf that has separated from the tree and is blowing around aimlessly. You go here and there, but have no focal point, no anchor, no grounding. Trust that when you stand in your power and offer your authentic self to the world, people will respond positively to you. The days of being praised for ‘pleasing’ people are gone. In most cases, people would prefer to hear you speak honestly about something and risk hurting their feelings, rather than say what you think they want to hear – empty words.
- Be present. Stop worrying about the past and the future. Realize that your life is now. If you focus your mind in other time-periods, you’ll miss out on your life. This is it. It’s not to be squandered. You have a chance to experience every moment as if it’s your last day here on earth. Take that attitude upon yourself. Tune into and open up all your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste, smell, touch, sense? You can also get this full experience by imagining that this is not your last day on earth, but your very first day. What would your experience of today be like if this was your first day here?
- Be prepared. If your job here on earth is to be fully present and fully authentic, then what’s the missing component? What if we told you that the missing piece is your creation. The unfolding of your life is up to you. You can drift along like the little leaf blowing in the wind, or you can ground yourself in your authenticity and full presence. From that place of strength, you’ll dream up a picture of your ideal life. Once you dream it, take time to think about it and feel it strongly in your imagination. Once you have your dream, you’re job is to prepare yourself to receive it in your physical reality. Being prepared doesn’t mean sitting around and waiting for something to happen. It means taking whatever actions you feel inspired to take – today, tomorrow, the next day, and the next – toward the building and realization of that dream.
“It sounds so simple,” I say to the whisper. “It is simple,” comes the reply. “It is simple, and yet, people love to make it complicated.”
“Alright then,” I say. “I’m going for it. I’m committing right here and right now to living my life as if it’s the first day…and as if it’s the last day. I’ll be authentic. I’ll be present. I’ll be prepared. Thank you for the free advice.” 🙂
“One more thing…” says the whisper. “Whenever you get off-track and feel lost, it will be the perfect time to start again. Never berate yourself for slipping, for that only causes you to slip further. Simply decide to pick yourself up and start again…and then start again. You’ll be fine.”
Returning to my initial thought, I say a silent good-bye to the one who passed away today. I feel a sense of sadness that is mixed with gratitude of having known him. As I continue on with the day’s activities, I carry with me a new resolve to make the most of the time I have left on this earth, however long it may be.
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– MaryLet's Keep In Touch...