What would you do today if you had just been told that you only had a few weeks left to live?
Unfortunately, this is the prognosis of a dear friend of mine of over 25 years. What would you do?
Would you reflect upon your good memories and ignore the bad ones?
Would you give no attention to the negative things in your life – the irritations, frustrations and minor stresses?
Would you let go of the old memories and moments in your past that have hurt and upset you?
Would you live each moment as fully as possible as you don’t know how many moments you have left?
Would you enjoy the sound of the autumn leaves on the ground, the warmth of the sun on your face, or embrace the wet and cold of the rain; because you don’t know how many times you will feel these things again?
Would you think of your family and how much you love them? Would you tell them every time you see them? Would you reach out to your friends and tell them how important they are to you and how you have appreciated their love and support over the years?
Why don’t we live like this every day? Living in the moment, embracing and finding the good in every moment? Living each day fully. None of us know how long we have to live.
In Buddhism there is a lot of focus on reflecting and meditating on our own mortality, because we all like to think we have a long time left to live, but the reality is that none of us know how long our particular life will be, or indeed the quality of our life in our older years.
How can you live today, fully? Can you live each day with huge gratitude for what you have right now – your good health, your family and friends, your warm house? Can you enjoy each meal fully and appreciate each morning you awake and see another day – can you feel grateful that you have been given the opportunity to experience another day?
There is much to be said for living in the moment. Forgive your family and friends for their faults and failings, and indeed forgive yourself for this too. All humans are imperfect – we all make mistakes, we all say and do unskillful things at times. We can learn from these and forgive ourselves and others of this. Can you love yourself each day – and give yourself what you need?
Can you learn how to plan for your future with excitement and intention but not wishing your current life away – making sure your daily life is a life you want to be living. Remembering you can change your life at any given time by making new decisions and choosing to create changes from now.
To help you come into the present moment, when you remember, you can enjoy your in breath and your out breath. You can focus on feeling the movement of your breath in your body; enjoy the sensation of this life-giving breath moving through your body. Enjoy the pleasurable sensations of your physical body – dance, sing, have a massage, or a hot bath. Embrace your wrinkles and grey hairs – not everyone has the opportunity to have these.
This is the passion and motivation behind the writing of my book – to encourage people to live their life today, to live a life they love, to create a life that they long to live. Don’t put off enjoying your life until later – to the weekend, to next month, to your next holiday, or to retirement. Create a life you love to live today.