Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Step Into Uncertainty

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What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.  – Crowfoot, April 1980, on his deathbed.

I have been waylaid for more than a month.  First, my back took a u-turn.  Then, a virus invaded my respiratory system. To protect me, my brilliant body created copious amounts of phlegm and its counterpart, the unending hacking cough. In her thoughtful hypervigilance, she seems to have forgotten to turn these off.

Life narrowed to bursts of work alternated with rest and multicolored moments of presence, embracing whatever happened to appear.

All this distress, and the temptation to wish it wasn’t so, made me wonder why we strive so eagerly for the illusion of a permanent happiness as if we actually have control.  Life unfolds our past karma – the result of our very own thoughts, words, and deeds – and so we never know what will come next until it surprisingly appears.  It might be joy or sorrow. It could be wellness or pain. Even death could unexpectedly follow this particular instant.

Don’t Wait for Happiness

Please don’t wait for happiness or imagine it’s right around the corner. Instead, find nourishment and truth in whatever circumstances arise. What awaits this body is the discomfort of disease, old age, and death.  The law of attraction people may decidedly protest, but have you ever seen anyone become immortal after reciting affirmations day in and day out?

When the time of death arrives, how exactly will this mind of mine respond?  Will I open to death’s naked reality or pull away in attachment or fear?  Will I rest in my heart or be embroiled in transitory thoughts and emotions that have little importance or reality?  This illness told me there’s far more mind training to be done if I wish to live with awareness and recognize whatever appears as its magical display.

I know the state of my mind will be all that matters at that watershed moment as I step from this life into the uncertainty of the next stage.  All the possessions I’ve accumulated and ordinary accomplishments will be left behind, irrelevant and meaningless like a handful of dust or a forgotten dream.

The  change and uncertainty that occurs at death is mimicked constantly in each moment that passes by.  Now’s the time to learn to be present and step into uncertainty with confidence and ease.  Then death will be nothing to fear.

Life lives in tiny moments, which exist right now.  When you die, will you have regrets because you didn’t live in this precious now?

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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31 Comments

  1. Sandra, I’m so sorry you’ve been sick. Being out of commission for a long time does put a different spin on life–it happened to me a few years ago and ended up being life-changing. I do try to remember to embrace life as it is right now, and lately I’ve gone a step farther and thanked God (use whatever name you like) for anything and everything that is in front of me. I’m finding it to be an incredibly energizing practice. Take care and hope the nasty cough subsides soon.

    • That’s a profound practice, Charlotte – to thank God (or whatever fits) for anything and everything in front of you. I’m going to focusing on that one for awhile. Thanks for the idea and the good wishes!

  2. Thank you so much for this Sandra. You have clearly stated the ideas that I’ve spent the last month reflecting on. It is my goal to awaken more fully to life as it is and experience it more directly. After a long bit of reflection, I found that I was still constantly searching for safety, security, permanence. I’ve decided to actively embrace uncertainty as a way of life – we have purchased a motorhome and weare getting rid of most of our “stuff” so that we may live full time in the motorhome. With no permanent home and very few material possesions we hope to “step into uncertainty with confidence and ease.”

    Dan @ ZenPresence

    • Hi Dan,

      I’ve been thinking about you and recently read on your blog that you had taken a break. The tendency to search for safety, security, and permanence goes deep and subtle, doesn’t it. You are taking a big leap into the motorhome! Good luck! I hope you realize your aspirations through this shift.

  3. Dear Sandra, I’d like to tell you that I send you my heartfelt support and pray for your health. ♡ May divine grace liberate you and many of us through my prayers from some of the suffering connected to karmic conditions. Love – Ephrem

    • Beautiful! Thank you so much, Ephrem. I’m letting all those heartfelt prayers enter my cells and dousing them with health!

  4. Sandra, I hope you are feeling stronger and your body is healing, and am heartened that you found value in your sickness. I think, anything, observed with wonder and curiosity, even sickness, can be a learning experience.

    When I die, I will not regret that I didn’t live in the now, becaus e I think I do. However, I will lament the things that I didn’t get to do. I can go ahead and experience what I can in the present, but some things have to unfold over time with patience: falling in love, becoming financially independent, being a grandmother, etc…

    As you know, I do not fear death. I think it will be a joyous reunion!

    • Hi Debbie,

      It’s so remarkable that you don’t fear death! All the more power to you!!! There will always be some things we won’t be able to accomplish in this life. But, I know you are getting your full share with your devotion to wonder and curiosity. I suspect you might feel quite satisfied when it’s your time to move on.

  5. I came here after completing day 7 of Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Healing meditation where today’s Centering Thought was : My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to Spirit.
    I am finding that this meditation challenge is both calming and reflective and funny thing is my left knee is giving me some challenges- time to do some journaling I heard as I wrote this. My body will have a story to tell.
    After getting stopped in my tracks back in 2011 I resonate closely with what you have written. Yes we do have to be in the now, the present moment and for me this time was one of reflection, learning patience and spending more time being truly present and just being…..that one not always easy.
    I am sending you healing light and energy and I love how you are finding happiness in the moment. So important as we never know when we will face death and will it be with fear or love, knowing we have lived to our fullest.
    All my love
    Namaste

    • Suzie, I love that Centering Thought from the 21 Day Meditation Series. Thank you for that gift! I’m on it!

      Being truly present and just being is not easy, is it! You’ve gained so much wisdom from your period of physical challenge. I am so glad you are sharing it with the world.

      The funny thing is that my left knee went wacky yesterday afternoon. How synchronous! I’ll be sending you healing energy too and lots of love. Thank you for the encouragement.

      • That is amazing about your left knee too. Advice from a friend was to rest it and love it, plus talk nicely to it. I put peppermint oil on it which seemed to bring out some heat which was good and today it is almost back to normal. Not jumping up to go for a long walk again yet though. Although I have done some lying down shiver shaking and Donna Eden’s 5 minute energy session.
        Yes learning to be has been a gift
        Sending you healing love and energy. be well xxoo

  6. Hi Sandra,

    I do hope that your body begins to feel better! As for death, I release my ‘self” each night when I sleep, I awake fresh and new; with presence to unfolding, I can practice this each moment I am mindful. I do believe and practice affirmations; when I had cancer and when my body was rejecting my stomach, affirmations didn’t heal my physical self, but they did allow me to access peace and release judgment as I was in the experience. Love, refreshment, and healing energy to you!

    • Hi Joy,

      I love what you said about preparing for death by “releasing your ‘self'” each night when you sleep. In the Buddhist tradition, the Kadampa masters had a practice of turning their cup over at the end of the night before bed in recognition that we don’t know what will come first, this life or the next.

      Thanks for sharing your positive experience using affirmations. I agree that we need to retrain our mind from thinking negatively and affirmations can really help in this way. They may not make you immortal, but they may help extend your life and accessing peace and releasing judgment are essential for a happy life. Much happiness and joy to you!

  7. With your ongoing encouragement Sandra, I am trying to live in the present, accepting with equanimity whatever crosses my path, but its not always easy…..hope you get better real soon. xxx

    • Hi Edith,

      Yes, it’s not always easy! I appreciate that very much, But, it gets a little easier every time you make the move back into the present moment. I’m with you!

  8. jean sampson

    Hi Sandra, I am so sorry this illness has lasted so long. But it sounds like you are mining it to get the good from it, which is a hard but good thing to do. The hard things that have happened to my body have always had gifts, if only to teach me to eat better or to rest more. I was on crutches for a year when I was 40 and it resulted in finding the poet self that I had neglected in the hustle and bustle of daily life. I hated being on crutches after being a runner for 20 years, but there was a gift with it, thank goodness. So hang in there, rest and receive all of the love and healing energy people are sending you. And thank you for this very powerful post!

    • Jean,

      That’s a remarkable story of your year on crutches. What a wonderful outcome. Thank you for sharing this post story and for all the love and healing energy you are sending my way.

  9. Hi Sandra,

    Our bodies know how to get our attention, don’t they? And when they do, it’s essential that we find the lesson in what we experience.

    I’m happy to see that you are using this time to not only heal, but to reflect.

    I think the best way to die without regrets is to live each day to its fullest, finding happiness in even the smallest moments. That’s my daily goal: noticing the leaves and flowers when I go on my walk, listening to what people say, making an effort to leave behind encouragement and showing up with my full body and mind.

    • They certainly do, Flora. Although some of us have perfected the art of not listening! I see for myself it takes time to turn that around. I love your aspiration to live each day to the fullest and be so present and loving in each moment and experience.

  10. Paul Norden

    Thank you Sandra for sharing yourself and this precious message. Thinking of you.
    love to you and B.

    • Hi Paul,

      You’re welcome! And thanks for saying hello. I hope you and Margaret are well and send you both lots of aloha.

  11. Gail Brenner - AFlourishingLife

    Hi Sandra,

    Such a beautiful use of your current experience to speak so directly about that which we humans fear most. When I investigate the concept of death, questions arise: What is it? Who dies? What lives?

    All I know is that in surrendering everything fully in the moment, there is no fear, no problem, and I am happy. Death may come to the body, but somehow something remains untouched. And that is what feels so everlastingly sacred.

    • Those are excellent questions, Gail. I agree that surrendering everything fully in the moment is the key. Though it’s also an art to be learned. I so appreciate you and the depth of your knowing.

  12. I had to laugh at your first paragraph. I finally stopped coughing weeks after the tiny cold I had was gone.

    About death, though, that has been much on my mind lately. You have articulated so perfectly what was moving around in my murky thoughts. Several years ago my word of the year was Prepare. Because it came to me alongside the word Death, I understood it not as a premonition of my impending demise, but more as a lesson that when we are prepared to die, then we can live fully without fear. That was a powerful year with that word!

    Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what I’ve been thinking about.

    • Galen,

      I’m so sorry you coughed for so long. It sounds like there may be an end in sight. I don’t know whether to relax and forget it or go to the doctor and look into it more seriously. Time will tell.

      That does sound like a powerful year and a reminder that we can all use in every moment. I’m glad we are in sync!

  13. You’re right about don’t wait for happiness. That’s what happen to me. Waiting for better days for money to come but feeling angry and frustrated all the time.

    You need to seek out the beauty of life and smell the roses. Life is full of suprises and the joy of achieving what you have set out?

    Once i stop waiting and start seeking out what I want, magical things happen to my life.

    This post reinforce that.

    Thank you.

    • Susanna,

      You’re story is so telling! There can be so much suffering in waiting for happiness, when we can tap into within. I’m so happy you were able to breakthrough and magical things happened in your life. Thanks for telling us.

  14. I’m sorry to hear you are not feeling well, but your ‘issues’ do not seem to have had any negative affect on your spirit. That is, in my opinion, a wonderful thing. You express your words so beautifully about ‘not losing precious moments’. Moments are really all we have.

    I deal with some chronic health issues ( fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis and herniated discs in my spine) and there are times when I forget to ‘let go, and just be in the moment’. My fibro has flared due to many losses I suffered last year.

    Each loss seemed to take a toll on me – the worst being the loss of beloved daughter, Dawn (37 yrs. old – sudden heart attack). I wonder, at times, how I am still able to go on and I realize — in the next split second — that I am ‘going on’ because of my older daughter – because of my beloved grandchildren – because of my old deaf dog (Joy) – because I enjoy seeing the snow fall – because I like to see the bright stars at night when I’m walking Joy — mostly because I couldn’t fathom leaving my loved ones at this point in time.

    It is difficult at times for me to not be ‘sad’ or ‘worried’ – or ‘frustrated’ because I can no longer do all the things I would like to do. Then I remind myself that ‘accepting what is’ is the only way I can truly find peace. I’ve discovered, since losing my daughter, that ‘accepting what is’ is key to me being able to go on. Not missing those special moments (watching a little bird sitting alone on a tree branch, feeling the sunshine on my face as I walk Joy, feeling Joy’s soft hair as I pet her, hugging my grandchildren, seeing a smile on a baby’s face – even watching a funny commercial, etc…) is very important and crucial to my ‘well-being’.

    Life, I feel, is just a journey we take moment by moment. There is no ‘destination’ to speak of, just the journey itself. It is easy to miss the moments in our journey when we are disappointed, or sad, or ill, or in pain. I keep forgetting that we also have some ‘negative karma’ accompanying us along our journey that needs to work itself out. Accepting that helps me — somewhat. 🙂

    We can either give up when we experience illness, pain and/or heartache — or we can go on and flow with ‘life’ on our journey. I choose to go on.

    Hoping you feel better real soon, Sandra. Thank you for always seeming to know exactly what I need to ‘read’ (to keep me focused on my journey).

    Sandy

    • Dear Sandy,

      I have my difficult moments too, Sandy! That’s normal and par for the course. I have chronic health challenges too so I know how they can indeed get your down. But as you say, it may just be karma working itself out. If we use our suffering in a positive way, there’s so much that can be transformed.

      There’s so much wisdom in your words. I appreciate how through all the sorrow and pain you have come to appreciate the tiny, special moments of life and choose to go on. You describe them so eloquently here as well as the sense of life as a journey rather than a destination.

      I learn so much for you as well!

  15. Hey Sandra.

    Great Post! Sorry to hear you have not been feeling well.

    Sadly, some people will spend their entire life waiting for the perfect time. To change. To choose. To say sorry. To begin. To stop. To do. To undo. To create that business. Write that book. Lose that weight. Break that habit. Face that fear. Have that conversation. Make that dream a reality.

    And while those waiting for the Perfect Brigade are growing old waiting for their fairy-tale timing, the Imperfect Brigade are rolling up their sleeves, facing their fears and getting the job done. And when the Perfect Brigade are finding another reason to procrastinate, the Imperfect Brigade are finding reasons to take action.

    Craig

  16. Dear Sandy,

    I am extremely sorry to hear about your health problems. Reading your post, I can tell how bravely you are going through this sickness. I will be thinking of you and send you supportive thoughts.

    I was close to dying when I was 18 and I remember the feeling of surrender I felt during my moments of pain. Back then, I concluded that when dying, two things matter: the love that we have felt in this life and the belief in God.

    I wish you to get well and inspire strangers like myself with your life and work!
    Oana

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