Every Day Another Opportunity

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.

Pericles (via Angie at Pick My Brains Art)

Wandering through my inbox, I found this quote from my good friend Angie. It was followed by a Google Reader feed that also addressed the question of what our purpose is here.  Things that keep popping up in my days I call my “theme” of the week/month/year. So my theme, it would seem, is what I’ve come to believe is what’s important to me and how I honor that principle.

Every moment in my day is an opportunity to try a different way of thinking. To truly SEE with the eyes of gratitude. Each moment offers me a choice – in how I  respond and act, words I choose, etc.  But also and just as important to this soul is choosing the myriad of little, seemingly trivial choices: which thoughts to listen to, choosing to make eye contact with a stranger and smile, choosing what’s more important in a situation, or choosing my motives.

Consciousness is a requirement. I find that when I’m not practicing gratitude, my actions all become rote. I sleepwalk through so many things, so many opportunities that would be lost without making a decision to pay attention to each of the individual moments I’m given.  And at the end of the day I take stock of what would be left behind in that day, should it have been my last.

  • Where was I Love?
  • When did I choose forgiveness?
  • When did I offer charity, even if I wasn’t really feeling like it?
  • Did I offer hope?
  • Did I uplift people in my world that day?

“Everybody knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently…

‘So we kid ourselves about death’

‘Yes, but there’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die and be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can be actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.

Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?‘ … The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live…

Most of us walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully because we’re half asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do…

Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.'” – Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

If we really had that little bird on our shoulder asking us throughout our day if we are ready to die today, we would find gratitude and so much opportunity in every moment. We would appreciate every sunset, every drive or walk,  every phone call from our parents or siblings, every chat with our friends, every taste we experienced through all of our senses, and so on. Urgency, significance, and passion would electrify every moment.

We would remember how significant each human experience is and pinch ourselves regularly as a reminder to appreciate these moments. Every day and every situation and every event would be meaningful and memorable down to the most routine of things.

I choose to imagine that little bird on my shoulder, though some days I’d just as soon he fly away and find some other shoulder to perch upon! But when I’m honest with myself, in my heart of hearts, I like to keep it there as a reminder to stay conscious and present. For its in learning how to die, that I learn how to live.

Namaste,
~me

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