“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children … to leave the world a better place … to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently, one of my neighbors was killed on the spot when his motorcycle was hit by a car at an intersection.
I’m reminded, once again, that there’s no time like the present:
- To love
- To forgive
- To cultivate kindness and compassion
- To be patient, understanding, and tolerant
- To let go of judgments
- To resolve to change a negative attitude or habit
- To train your mind to be present and aware
- To be the “best possible you”
The “best possible you” isn’t about how much money you make, the status of your job, or the size of your house. It isn’t even about accomplishing your goals as worthy as they may be.
All these are temporal affairs that could very well end with a bang when you least expect it – just like my friend whose life ended instantly at the corner of Highway 137 and the entrance to Lelani Estates. It could be any corner, any moment, any time.
And, even if death doesn’t descend unexpectedly, the news of a life threatening or chronic illness could change your life irrevocably.
What really matters is how you mind is in every moment. Is it infused with positive thoughts, neutral or negative ones? The state of your mind determines your words and actions – for better or for worse. The Dalai Lama tells us:
“Naturally, most of us would like to die a peaceful death, but it is also clear that we cannot hope to die peacefully if our lives have been full of violence, or if our minds have mostly been agitated by emotions like anger, attachment, or fear. So if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well: Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life.” – Introduction to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
Sure, it’s a tall order to be a saint. But no one started out as a saint. It takes diligence, patience, and humor to train this wild mind of ours in love, compassion, and clarity. It’s really possible though. And when you pursue the path of kindness, you’ll discover your own happiness around every bend.
I started this post before the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which serves to remind us even more strongly that we never know if we will see the sunrise tomorrow.
There’s not a moment to waste! Remember impermanence! Use this precious life wisely. Love and act like there’s no tomorrow.
What are your best reminders for being fully alive in each moment?
- If you feel clouded by feelings of sadness, anger, or distress since the tragedy in Newtown, this beautiful advice may help: A Letter to Rachel.
- You might also like this free ebook from Joy Holland: Learning to Forgive: Moving Through Tender Spaces with Grace.
Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with friends. If you are new, please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra