It is so easy to take for granted that tomorrow will come, that another opportunity will be given to bear witness to a sunset, take a walk in the forest, listen to the birds, or share a moment of connection with the one in front of us. But another part knows how fragile it truly is here, how tenuous, and the reality that this opening into life will not be here for much longer.
Before we realize it, we can so easily fall into the trance of postponement. The spell of tomorrow looms large in the personal and collective psyche.
At the end of this life – which is sure to come much sooner than we think – it is unlikely we'll be caught up in whether we accomplished all the tasks on our to-do lists, played it safe, healed all the wounds from our past, or wrapped up our self-improvement project.
Inside these hearts there may be only one burning question: how well did I love?
One day we will no longer be able to look at, touch, or share a simple moment with those we love. When we turn to them, they will be gone. One moment will be our last to encounter the immensity of one more breath, experience awe at a color or fragrance or blooming of a violet, or to enter into union with the vastness of the sea.
It will be our last chance to see a universe in a drop of rain, to have a moment of communion with a friend, or weep as the light yields to the night sky.
One last moment to imagine, to feel an emotion, fall in love, or listen to a piece of music. To know heartbreak, joy, sorrow, and peace – to behold the outrageous mystery of what it truly means to be an open, sensitive human being. To know firsthand the preciousness and rare, unique opportunity to have a human body and nervous system.
What if today is that last day? Or tomorrow? Or later this week?
Knowing that death will come, how will we respond to the sacred and brief appearance of life?
Perhaps our “life's purpose” has nothing to do with what job we find, what new thing we will manifest or attract for ourselves, or what new belief system we take on. But to fully live, to touch each here and now moment with our presence and with the gift of our one, wild heart.
And do whatever we can to help others: to hold them when they are hurting, to attune carefully to the ways they are making sense of a world that has gone a bit mad; to meet them with empathy and kindness, and listen to what keeps them up at night and what brings them alive.
To speak kind words and not forget the erupting miracle of the other as it appears in front of us. To companion them and be an open, warm, spacious vessel through which love can come into this world.
Perhaps this is the most radical gift we can give.
Learn more about my new book - A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times - and read Editorial Reviews here. For a full list of online retailers, see the book's page at my website here.