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, wrapped up our self-improvement project, or completed some mythical spiritual journey.
Inside these hearts there may be only one burning question: how well did I love?
There are soul-pieces and lost parts orbiting in and around us, the ghosts of our unlived lives; those aspects of ourselves that have not been allowed safe passage. To attend to that which remains unlived – to listen to its poetry and provide sanctuary for its emergence – is a radical act of compassion.
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 a fragrance or the 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 to weep as the light yields to the night sky.
One last moment to have a thought, 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 a sensitive, alive, connected human being.
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 will find, what new thing we will manifest or attract for ourselves, or what mythical awakening journey we will complete. Perhaps the purpose of our life is to fully live, finally, to touch each here and now moment with our presence and with the gift of our one, wild heart.
And to do whatever we can to help others, to hold them when they are hurting, to listen carefully to their stories and the ways they are attempting to make sense of a world that has gone a bit mad. To speak kind words and not forget the erupting miracle of the other as it appears in front of us. Perhaps this is the most radical gift we can give.
Falling in Love with Where You Are: Embracing the Joy and Heartbreak of Spiritual Awakening - our annual spring, five-day retreat - will take place April 22-27, 2020 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with myself and Jeff Foster. Tickets will go on sale on January 1. More information here.
My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020.