To live each day as if it were your last…these are the words that came to my mind as I was biking the last up hill stretch on the road leading to my home. My nearly 12-year old daughter had already made it to the top. We had taken a very pleasant bike ride on a cool summer cloudy afternoon when it had threatened to rain. It was one of our last days of summer vacation before school began for both of us. If this were my last day, would I be happy? Would I be content with the way my life has unfolded? Would I be at peace?
Even though I have been practicing metta and mindfulness for many years and now am training to be a mindfulness teacher, there are many moments in my day when I am not awake. I am in a trance/dreamlike state where it feels like I am here, but life is not in full focus. I only realize this when I return to the present moment – and how fresh and alive it feels! And here is an opportunity. To realize that I am NOW awake – instead of berating myself for being away. As Joseph Goldstein points out in a recent 10 percent happier episode, this is a helpful way of practicing. My teacher Tara Brach says this over and over again – this (moment when we return) is a moment of re-member-ing and re-relaxing in the body.
‘It does not matter how long we have been unconscious. We are groggy, but let the guilt go. Feel the motions of tenderness around you. the buoyancy‘.Rumi
So as I rode up the hill, I remembered this question – what if this day were my last. Would I be ok?
I think I would be very grateful! For having a life more beautiful than anything I could have imagined. For having just enough suffering and pain for me to reach for and stay on a spiritual path; for having more than enough joy for me to have balance; and for having equanimity – the letting go of wanting anything more! More than anything, for being present, here and right now. If this were my last day, I would be grateful to be here and be with the people I love.
How about you? Are you living this day as if it were your last? If not, what is in the way? Can you ask this question with great tenderness and kindness so that you can really listen to the response from your heart?
In kindness, S.