We have had some tragic events occur in my town this past week, and while still very loving, the atmosphere feels infused with sympathetic grief. Since the murder of the CHP officer, a drunk driver struck a family standing on the curb downtown waiting to cross the street killing the mother-in-law and putting the young newlywed wife in critical condition. The driver was intoxicated and has past DUI’s.
My heart aches deeply for the families who have lost loved ones, and I’m reminded (tenfold as today is 9/11 as well), of the fragility of life and how there truly are no moments to waste. Not a single one. A person is never guaranteed “tomorrow” or “next time.” It seems a terribly morbid way to live and yet it’s really just the truth of mortality.
Say how you feel, do what you want to do, and be who you want to be now because “now” is all that we’re guaranteed. It’s difficult not to extend anger towards the perpetrators of such violence (be it accidental or not) but one must remember that compassion, love, and hope are all that are worth feeling and spreading.
I realized today that there’s a fine line in the experience of acknowledging mortality. There are two ways, split by a hair, that one could go after having this realization. One way is towards fear; craving the ignorance of mortality, running from day to day trying to cover all the bases and prevent, protect, pray…all in hopes of controlling what is truly and cosmically uncontrollable. The other direction one can go is towards love, and that’s always the route I want to take. But it’s easier said than done.
How do we maneuver the present moment, filled with so many responsibilities and obligations and, let’s face it, the occasional “muck” that we just don’t want to be doing? How do we get through those days and still harbor a sense of present moment gratitude, of living our lives to the very fullest without succumbing to the urge to race through the “muck” and into the future where there’s a day off, family gathering, hot date, you name it? I don’t have an answer for you, but I suppose it’s life’s version of the “edge” that we strive to find in yoga. Finding that edge where you’re pushing yourself, challenging yourself, feeling the burn (of Warrior III or life!) and remaining ever present, with a soft smile. Breathing through anxiety. Reminding oneself that there are other ways to nourish the soul and the present moment without necessarily having a day off to dedicate to whatever one wants; of extending affection and appreciation to loved ones without necessarily having a gathering and the ability to physically give this love face-to-face (taking advantage of modern technology to text, email, phone, skype, IM, face time, voice message – seriously, need I go on? – your loved ones showering them in all the things that you want to say now…that you love them, that you appreciate them, that they mean the world to you, etc.). It’s our responsibility to put away excuses and take time for ourselves, our loved ones, and our wellbeing because this day is all we have at the moment. Trying to live my life fully, with abundant awareness, conscious of every single experience and trying to offer equal cognizance of (if not adoration for) every single moment. Every single day (even those filled with the “muck” we so wish to get over with!).
Making that mind of yours a blissful place to be is THE best tool you can have for pretty much everything. Fear is useless, just like guilt and jealousy. They’re emotions that siphon wellness from the human body at a rapid speed and offer nothing in return nor convey any positivity. Acceptance of truths, of experiences, mistakes, etc. is the first step. Next you get to decide how you’ll maneuver that particular truth. Mortality? It is a truth. It’s unavoidable. The first emotion that rises in my chest is fear, foreboding, and an urge to find a spell that will keep all of my loved ones alive, well, safe and healthy forever and ever and ever. Instead of succumbing to fear, though, I choose to move towards love. I email my Daddy a random Haiku telling him why he’s my hero; I text my Mom a picture of me grinning wide with the latest impromptu, “just because” surprise gift she’s sent me and a message of gratitude; I send my best friend a message telling her she’s awesome; I make a skype date with a faraway friend; I leave my roommates a whiteboard note that I have baked them yummy goods; I sit down with my journal and make a gratitude list, and have an introspective moment getting to know myself better…that’s my recipe. That and moving mindfully, gracefully and attentively through each and every day that I am blessed to wake up with a lungful of air and a heart beating eagerly in my chest.
What’s your recipe?