Eerily… this email was scheduled originally to go out on the day after the Aurora Theater Tragedy where 12 people died and 58 were injured by a gunman. When I was awakened by the news of this abrupt and ruthless event, I immediately cancelled the content and sent out a prayer for the victims and their families instead.
The coincidental timing seemed to emphasize the message… we never know when life will come to a startling halt. It’s a waste of energy to be afraid because these circumstances are out of our awareness and control. Rather, the experience heightens a realization that all we really have is… this moment. How do we want to spend it?
I learned of the phrase “It’s a Good Day to Die” from my Native American friend who uses it to close her morning prayers. She gently explains, it is a powerful way to ask…? Am I living in such a way that if I died this minute, I’d feel content with my life? Of course, there’s always more to do, see, learn etc….? Rather, the question is… Am I willing to live the next 24 hours without regret? Hmm, a thoughtful question to ponder!
As I contemplate such a question I am drawn to look into my deepest self… to honestly acknowledge… How am I living? According to a different measuring stick than the usual day-to-day ones of…? Did I complete my to-do list?… How much money did I make?… Did I please or displease the people around me? … Rather, it’s a hard look at what’s most important to me and am I being true to my purpose… are my actions in alignment?
Recently, I heard a hospice worker list the most common regrets she’s heard spoken by the dying…? I regret not spending more time having fun; I regret not being brave enough to buck the system and do the things I really wanted to do; I regret not spending more time with the people I love… I regret not taking time to take better care of myself… I regret not quitting my boring job to do what I really love.
Several years ago, I read a beautiful book by Stephen Levine,? A Year to Live, How to Live this Year as If it Were Your Last. What if this fall you and I jump into life as if it was? A GOOD DAY TO DIE… every moment, every day, every week, every month of it! Live full-out… absent of regret!
**See below Russill Paul’s recommended Retreat as a way to heighten your clarity about what’s important to your deepest self
As I open my eyes and look around at all the blessings in my life… the beautiful greens of the trees… the reds and yellows of the flowers in the garden and the birds in the air… the expanse of sky above me… the solidity of earth below me … the ocean and the sun… and most of all the people of varied colors, shapes and sizes…different faces and personalities… all shining for me to sense, savor and enjoy.
I am alive here and now… and… absolutely present in this moment… to receive this bounty of worldly gifts. How grateful I am for the bodily senses and functions… tasting the sweet difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolate… smelling the wonderful scents of jasmine and basil… hmm… shivering with the satiny feel of the bed sheets against my naked skin at night and the prickles of dry grass beneath my bare feet in the day… all reminding me of this amazing human body… a brilliant invention… and I’m grateful to be alive.
Resting in this place of gratitude, I ponder… What will be important to me when I face death… Will it be my appearance?… the quality or quantity of my relationships?… the size of my finances or success? Will it be how much I have contributed my talents to the world?… how much I enjoyed myself?… Did I appreciate all of life’s big events and little moments that kept it intriguing and often ridiculous?
Taking a pause of silence, my heart tells me what’s true… what’s my calling… where might I be creating regrets… Taking as much time as I want and need, I listen, easily releasing any defensiveness even before it comes… because there’s really no one to whom I need to answer except my heart… my soul… my calling. No external judges count at the time of death… just me and what I know. (Taking as much time as wanted… my eyes gently close… as personal insights easily flow into awareness)
Wow! As I surrender to this inner knowing, life gets so easy… absent of regret, guilt and shame. I know who I am… what I’m called to do… and it’s all good. Naturally… I begin to appreciate today… loving my unique expression as a human being that is uniquely me… regardless of the opinions of others… like a garden of life… where tomatoes are as yummy as mushrooms, yet they look and taste differently… liked by some and disliked by others… yet both
LIVE OUT THEIR FULLNESS AS BEST AS THEY CAN and so DO I!