Much of life is spent rushing around getting things done. We have routines that include our work schedules, that of children and partners, family, extracurricular activities, and menial tasks that some feel are mundane. During these moments of 'living', however, do we think about why we are doing these things on a deeper level? What purpose does it serve? Will it mean anything at the end of my days when I'm lying on my death bed? Will I have regrets? Did I leave anything out? Did I do something I regret? Did I not do something that I regret even more?
Living life to the fullest is an art. It requires an on-going level of mindfulness that our busy lives often don't make room for. Fostering and establishing a discipline of mindfulness within our life-choices takes practice and some courage. There is no easy path in adopting a new way of thinking. It will feel awkward and unnatural at first, but I believe that if we could all just become more skilled at this, life would be easier for all.
So where does one look at gaining new mindfulness skills in order to apply them to life, and what the heck does this have to do with dying?
Let's start with death. Death is an ending of something that once was. It marks the end point of that specific event, but also the beginning point of something new to begin. It is infinite and universal. When we possess an organic form, such as a human body, this means we cease to exist on this plane in the visible form. Some people believe we continue to exist as energy in another form, others believe that once you are dead, there is nothing else. I'm not here to negate your beliefs, but rather, have you think about how you live to prepare for dying.
From the moment of conception, in essence, we are dying. The very phases of creation propels us towards the inevitable demise at the end of this all: death. So as we age, as we continue along this path we call life, we are actually passengers on the road trip to death. Giving that some thought, I'm sure we can all think of a thing or two that we don't want to be burdened with when we reach the end of the line: guilt, remorse, feeling incomplete or unfulfilled, filled with doubts, or worse, riddled with fear.
So how does one live a life filled with happiness and love, feeling fulfilled and complete, having no regrets carried through to the end, if you are having to think about death? Simple. You aren't going to worry your life away thinking about your ultimate demise, instead, you are going to think about your life as if this is the only one you have. Think of it as one big art class: you have been given an unknown amount of time to create something spectacular, the catch is you never know when the class bell is going to ring, and your time will be up. So what will your strategy be? Will you waste precious time wallowing in self-doubt, or will you just go with the first thoughts that pop into your head, driven by your desires to create something beautiful, and then make the most of your time to work towards completing as much as you can, in the most efficient, effective manner possible? Remember, every little moment in life is either adding to your project, or taking you away from it. That is the lens we must adopt in order to reach self actualization at the end of our journey. This is the first of two steps: Developing a Legacy. . What will you be remembered for? Will you be the one that always made the best use of your time, serving your higher good (your art project) at all times?
The second step is Enacting the Plan. This is the phase in which mindfulness needs to be on-point. We develop this by listening more than we speak, and when we do listen, we listen to understand, not react. We learn this by spending time with Self and exploring that inner being that is driven by either craving or aversion . What makes you make the decisions you do? Is it fear based, or driven by craving? When we seek to understand what emotions drive us forward, we can quickly learn to be selective in which ones we allow ourselves to be our stepping stone forward: this is mindfulness. We also achieve our enacting when we purposefully work our plan or legacy. Keep your eye on the prize and don't allow yourself to get distracted. This will quickly become your adopted personality trait: perseverance, tenacity, fortitude, resilience.. nothing will be able to sway you for long from staying your course.
Some daily practices that help foster mindfulness are the commonly known biggies: meditation and exercises that allow you to be fully present in your body, mindful of only the body in that movement or moment; such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, weight lifting (where you are paying attention to every movement and proper form). Making these forms of exercise is not only physically healthy, but mentally so. Make these part of your regular, daily routine and you will soon realize you need them as much as you need your coffee in the morning :)
Another daily practice which may not seem so easy, is 'the pause'. This is where you learn to pause before answering, before acting or reacting, or before making a decision. Let a situation, question or event sit with you for a while before responding. This pause allows us to ask "How is this making me feel? Why do I feel this way? What is the best way to respond/decide/answer/act in this moment that will benefit my Legacy?" This act alone can keep you in the flow of good Karma and allow you to blissfully and gracefully advance through life with no regrets. Keep a diary or journal on your progress. Start this process with the very first page outlining what your goals are.
Remember: "A dream becomes a goal, the moment you write it down. A goal becomes a plan the moment you break it down into doable steps. A plan becomes a reality only when you take action".~Marshall Sylver
Live your best life. Set your legacy and strive to achieve that day by day. If your words and actions were wearable on your skin, would you be proud or ashamed when you reach the finish line?
Registered Psychiatric Nurse, Supportive Energy Therapy Practitioner, Yoga Instructor, Chartered Herbalist, AcuDetox Specialist, Personal Trainer, Entrepreneur, mom of three..
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