I have a question for you.
This is significant because I think how you answer this question could change the balance of your life: When the time comes to leave Animal Control this place, will you be able to look back on your past with fondness, gratitude, and satisfaction instead of regret and guilt? I invite you to take a deep breath and simply sit with this question for a moment… marinade from the basis of its profound implications; allow yourself to truly feel the very fact of your last day in the world for there lies the very prized gift.
I know from experience as this is a practice I indulge from time to time. I remember over two decades ago losing my dad to complications resulting from type II diabetes. I recall the day of his burial and his coffin being lowered into the ground as though it was only yesterday.
There was a final ending to his time here that not only touched my family, but echoed throughout my life in the months and years ahead. It was though the world grabbed me by the shoulders and said:”Wake up, son, your time is limited. Don’t waste another moment because you also will return to dust daily.”
Since that time, I chose to live passionately, to be of service to others, to enrich my life and explore my potential so as to direct others to wake up. The journey has been difficult, stressful and yet daring; I’ve discovered more about myself in the subsequent years than I did leading up to my dad’s passing. It was as though I had been jolted with a reminder that this gorgeous journey called life must inevitably end, sometimes when we least expect it.
Now, my second question for you: Can you relate?
This Too Shall Pass: Don’t Consider Your Challenges As Permanent
There’s a delightful parable told by the late Jesuit priest and psychotherapist Anthony de Mello that captures the Importance of embracing life completely:
Before the visitor embarked upon discipleship, he wanted assurance from the Master:
“Can you teach me the goal of human life?”
“Or at least its significance?”
The visitor walked away in scorn.
The disciples were dismayed that their Master had been shown up in a poor light.
Said the Master soothingly:”Of what use is it to understand life’s nature and life’s meaning if you have never tasted it? I had rather you ate your own pudding than supposed on it.”
Anthony de Mello’s fable reminds us, it is of little use to intellectualize life at the level of your thoughts. Life is to be lived fully, meaning you will experience suffering and pain, however as the adage goes:”This too shall pass.”
In such moments, the experience may be too much to bear. But as the former English Prime Minister Winston Churchill once declared:”If you’re going through hell, keep going.” He knew too well that if you are in the grips of despair, to escape is to deny yourself the ability to overcome your pain and discomfort. Sorrow and misery are not the story of your own life story, but one chapter of it. There’ll be a number of chapters to come and you mustn’t consider your challenges as permanent.
Whilst you may have regrets, remember they are paragraphs contained within the story still being written. What you’re experiencing is not the end of the world because there is so much more to your life’s story to unfold in the years ahead.
The outcome of your choices are often right under your nose. Many people miss the signs because they are too busy moving from one thing to another to notice them. They are rarely present and participated with the now to notice what’s occurring beneath the surface of their lives. This is since they are concerned how their lives look to others, they don’t notice their interior life is slowly crumbling.
In many ways, they’ve forgotten how to come home to themselves. There’ll come a point when people you love will stand at the edge of your interment, looking down upon you as you are lowered into the ground. They’ll contemplate the same thoughts as I did that day in my father’s burial.
“Is this it?”
“Surely there is more to life than this?”
For the most precious gift which you can give to yourself is to deal with each day as though it were you last. Hold nothing back. Live fully and completely, knowing when the time comes, you will have been completely used up like a sponge wringed of water. May your life’s story be a compelling story lived truthfully.