Heed This. This is it. This moment, this situation, and you, is all you are to work with. Now is the time to be you.
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The point of living is to live!
More from “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” by Garth Stein.
I’d highly recommend that you read it—however, you might just prepare yourself for a good cry, especially if you’ve loved a dog. I know. Odd, eh?
Anyway, the story is told from the perspective of an old, and incredibly wise dog. I thought, over the next few weeks, that I might segue off of some quotes from the book. I picked ones that were profound, yet needed little of the “back story.
Last one, from the book:
To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. … To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. That is something to aspire to.
p 177 large print version
The opening photo is of a little poster than hangs on the wall of our bedroom. A little reminder that each of us has a “dead date,” and that each day we live ticks one more day off of the total. We tend to ignore this at our peril.
Last week’s article generated several interesting comments, which fit today’s theme in a weird way. First:
I have a by-marriage relative who likes to gossip and make outlandish requests of people in such a way that they can’t say No. One time I happened to see her coming at me from a distance, so it gave me time to figure out what to do. I simply…hugged her. Seriously. I could hear her brain “short out”, and that’s the 1 time I got out of being put on the spot by her words. (I’ve actually used that one on a couple of people with astounding success.)
I’m willing to own that I helped create this situation with these old emotions–and I’m sick of doing it, but I struggle to find something different to do other than what I’m doing: trying to move from the old place of disconnection/distrust/defensiveness and into the place of peace, joy, and wholeness.
So, the question I would pose is, “If you knew that you had 24 hours to live, how would you handle these situations?”
Because, of course, that might actually be the case.
Now, I can do what I usually do here, and point out the ways the quotes above miss what’s actually going on. I endlessly write about how no one “makes” us do anything… how people do what they do, and unless they are holding a gun to our heads, we have 100% choice about what we do in response.
And I do love the line about “I could hear her brain “short out”…”
Of course. When we do the unexpected, that’s what happens. The tides shift. And it shifts for us, too, as we notice what’s happening to the situation, to the energy, to our “insides.”
This was the point of last week’s article—that we are where we are because of what we are doing. If you don’t like where you are, do something different. Shift yourself—your location, your approach, your way of talking, emoting, being. Just shift the behaviour, and watch.
So, let’s shift to today’s idea, and take the quotes from last week’s blog with us.
In both cases, living as if there is little time left changes things. The drama, the defensiveness, the sense of being acted upon, forced… the wind goes out of those sails. It’s not that the situation itself changes… it’s that all of the dancing and drama seems less and less important.
Now, I’d like to add a thought to the “24 hours to live” thingy. Stay put. In other words, it’s easy to fantasize hopping a jet to wherever, and spending the remaining time on a beach.
Rather, think about staying right where you are, doing exactly what you are doing, with the people you have chosen to surround yourself with.
In my case, that would mean hanging with clients, then with Darbella, and likely then also with a couple of friends. I can imagine it being profitable to think about what I would say, and how I would be, with each of them, if I knew it was “the last time, ever.”
Enzo the dog suggests: “To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am.”
There is actually nothing to be done about the existential state of the world. As we watch the unfolding drama in the Middle East, we cannot help but wonder at the fortitude and courage of the protesters, the power of banding together to shift their political reality. And yet… despite the success or failure of the uprisings, there will be other dramas tomorrow, there, or someplace else.
To “separate oneself” does not mean to be in denial, or to run away. It means to stop immersing ourselves in the stories about what it all means, stop pretending that “this time” utopia is at hand. In a sense, it’s stopping joining the “isn’t it awful” pity party.
Again, without running away. It’s standing right here, right now, fully present, accepting, and clear. Here I am , here I stand, and it’s all as it is.
To be, in short, alive and in attendance for the game, without story, drama, or fear.
Big challenge, this.
We start by accepting ourselves, fully and completely, just as we are, warts and all. No running away, no “If only,” no “It isn’t fair.” Just me, here, now, as I am. It’s landing on the ground, refusing to be swayed, refusing to bite on the drama.
I think it really is a “simple” as remembering that this IS it. All you are and all you can be is present, right now. You’re not going to be wonderful and alive, and real someday. You have no someday. You have right here, right now. The world is never going to cut you slack, give you a break. Nor is it out to get you. It just is what it is.
Given this, who am I, right now? What do I choose?
I am alive.
Yes, you are. I can guarantee that, if you are reading this, you are. You have this moment, you have you, and you have this world. Right now. Drop the fantasies, the stories, and the plans, and engage, right here, right now, with all your passion, strength and verve.
I am wonderful.
Interesting word. Full of wonder. Amazing. No bullshit here. No, New Age claptrap about how special you are. What you are, however, is unique. You’re the only version of you that will ever exist. When you are gone, that’s it. Game over. What you have to offer is you… your ears to listen, your arms to offer a hug, your mind to think, your lips to speak. Wonderful.
And, if you let yourself, you are full of wonder. What an amazing ride. Look around you. The depth, the beauty, the sights and sounds… the rush of emotions, the hormonal flood of being human, of feeling and being. Wonder at at all.
Yes you are, until you are not. And the “when” of that is out of your control. You have no time, really. The stuff you are, the potential you have, is only present in the here/now. Here, you are.
Embrace the wonder that is you, right here, right now. Make contact, and speak your truth, share your love, and laughter, and tears. Because…
This, my dear fiends, is all there ever is.