I bet all of us at some time or another, have heard comments like, “seize the moment’, “carpe diem”, “live in the moment”… So many quotes expressing this mentality: “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one”; “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”. Everybody says things like “Live like there’s no tomorrow” and “Live each day as if it were your last”.
If today might be my last day on earth, If I go to sleep tonight and never wake up again, what exactly am I doing with my life today that would make it worthy of being my last?
“What if today were my last day on earth?” I know many of us don’t think about dying. We’re so wrapped up with egotistical and material things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, vacation – we’re involved in billions of little tasks just to keep going. So we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, “Is this all”? Is this really what I want? Is there anything missing? Sometimes you need to come face-to-face with a near death experience. Or have someone point you in that direction.
I find myself asking myself the same questions just about every day: “Is today the day?” “Am I ready?” “ Am I doing all I need to do?” “Am I being the person I want to be?” I think asking these questions allows me to be more prepared. Allows me to become more involved in the everyday aspects of the life I am presently living.
Trust me, once you learn how to die, you learn how to fully live your life. During chemo many eons ago, I never thought I could be so tired. It’s like a continual cloud passing over the sun. There were so many moments when I didn’t know if I would have the strength or sense to get to the bathroom, walk the dog, or even get dressed. But I also learned, that I was stronger than I have ever been. Lying isolate in a laminar airflow room, I tried to reach the dead within me, in order to fight, to find the will to live. My mind was clear. That is the moment I learned how to detach. My mortality was at optimal distance, not up so close that it obscures everything else, but close enough to give me depth perception. In the past, it may have taken me weeks, months, or years to discover the meaning of an experience. Now it’s instantaneous.
Detachment, disconnecting to some degree, doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience affect you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you completely. That’s how you are able to deal with it. Take any emotion – love for a person, or grief for a loved one…. if you hold back on the emotions – if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them – you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to leap, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. I have experienced those emotions. I recognize those emotions. Sometimes in order to fully accept, you need to detach from these emotions moments at a time. Let other emotions in.
Learning how to live, fully embracing so many scary,wonderful things is part of living in the moment. Appreciating so many little things. By living each day as if it could be our last, we relate to each life experience passionately, powerfully, and memorably. I try to appreciate every sunrise, every sunset (may explain my insomnia – I hate that nagging feeling I am missing something); I crave so many things, especially sweets; appreciate every culinary delight, every sip of wine. So many instances of my life these days are laced with a sense of urgency and passion. Don’t get me wrong, there are still so many moments where I have to remind myself, “breathe, slow down, appreciate”. Embrace life, seize the moment, conquer our fears, appreciate the differences in people, cultures.
In the words of Robert Brault, “Life is short, God’s way of encouraging a bit of focus”.
I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, all the food and sweets, I want to eat, all the wine I want to drink, and all the friends I want to see…♥