“The whole life of a man is but a point in time; let us enjoy it.” ~ Plutarch
Take a moment to think about the last time you stared up into a clear night sky, one that was gorged with stars and seemed to go on forever—one where the longer you stared, the more depth appeared.
How did you feel in that moment? Did you feel calm? Scared? Alone? Completely content? Did you wish you could stay in that moment forever?
Skies like that give me an incredible sense of peace and remind me to breathe deeply and contemplate how our lives are simultaneously overwhelmingly vast and incredibly finite.
Over the years, I have struggled with allowing people to get close to me for fear of losing them the way I had lost so many before.
After an adoption, the unexpected death of my adopted mother, my best friend, several family members, and the smattering of broken relationships, I built a solid wall against anyone who looked like they wanted to be near me.
I finally came to terms with the fact that in the end, most people who come into our lives will leave in some way or another—sometimes by choice and sometimes not, but their presence is what matters, not their absence.
What’s important is realizing that each moment we have with those we love is of infinite value, and we must enjoy the time we have with them while we have it instead of being so afraid we’ll lose them that we’re never really with them even when they are here.
If we’re so engulfed in the potential for loss, we’ll not only miss the lessons each experience can bring to our lives, but the joy it has to offer. Our happiness will sit in front of us waiting for us to recognize its face and we’ll look past it like a stranger.
People spend an exorbitant amount of time, energy, and resources on attempting to hold back aging as it is a reminder of our mortality. It reminds us that there is no permanence, so we frantically fight to find ways to extend the length of our lives, but how many focus on deepening the quality?
Why not slow down and realize we are immortal only in the moment we are in—this moment we inhabit contains our entire past and all of our potential and possibility for the future that may or may not arrive.
Let's fill this time we have now with all that we are instead of fighting for more and never actually doing anything with it. It's like collecting a bunch of empty jars but never putting anything in them.
I know it can be terrifying to let go and be present in the moment because we think we have to control everything; we have to be prepared for loss, for disappointment, for heartache. We don’t want it to creep up and take us by surprise, but here’s the thing: no matter what we do to prepare, we’ll never be ready for it when it comes.
The best we can do is fully embrace the only thing we know to be certain, and that is the current moment we inhabit. This very second as you’re reading these words, you know that you are alive.
And no matter what’s going on in your life, your life is a miracle. Right. This. Second. Your living is an amazing orchestration of a billion and one complex systems that enables you to breathe, to think, to have a heartbeat, to learn, to grow, and to love.
It’s hard to not fear losing others. It’s hard to not fear losing ourselves, but fear is what drives away our peace, joy, and love.
Learning to retrain our thoughts so we don't dwell on our fear of the unknown future and grounding into the present will help us shift our focus from loss to abundance.
When we focus on loss, it feels as though we’re always lacking and we worry we’ll lose what we have. When we focus on abundance, we recognize that our lives are full and we cultivate the faith that each moment we’re alive, we will have what we need.
Additionally, when we focus on abundance, a sense of gratitude seems to naturally follow. How could we recognize how full our lives are and not be grateful?
When we are grateful for the moment we are in, we will find our lives are long enough—no matter how many years they contain.
Photo by pdam2