In times of C…..
Being Colombian doesn’t make me Garcia Marquez and I will not attempt to steal the title of his great book, I just didn’t want to mention the word in everyone’s minds for the last 18+ months. For me the biggest impact of these crazy times is how many lives have been lost, and the fact that it has been so prevalent all around. This is not necessarily because it hasn’t been around before, but because we have all, in one way or another, either directly or indirectly been affected by the loss of someone.
These past two weeks I have thought about the fragility and how short life can be, and the very little appreciation we humans have for all it encompasses. How do we find meaning to life? Let’s say it is some kind of wisdom we acquire along the way, but then wisdom can be shown by some very young people. Is wisdom what helps us appreciate life?
“Wisdom outweighs any wealth” Sophocles
In the book written by John Izzo PhD, “The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die”, he says “We do not have to wait to become old to become wise, we can discover life’s secrets at any age, and the sooner we discover them, the more fulfilling our life will be”
So why is it so difficult sometimes to discover that wisdom? I had a couple of experiences these past couple of weeks, one was when watching a TV programme that featured a 15 year old boy dying of cancer, he had been given months to live. At one point he was saying to someone during the conversation, he said “If we learned to live life as if we were going to die at the end of that day, we would appreciate and enjoy that day much more”.
Then having a conversation with a dear friend on the phone, I mentioned how impressed I was by the words of that young boy and how remarkable and wise he was for his age. My friend then told me a story about the time he used to work for a pharmaceutical which was developing a cancer drug, he had the privilege of meeting a patient which said to him that in the last few months since his diagnosis, his life had changed enormously, and he was enjoying every single second of what he had left.
My question would be, why do we have to wait to be told we are dying, or to lose a friend, relative or loved one, to realise that life is so precious? The secrets are within us. Nothing outside of us will provide us with the happiness, joy, contentment that we are looking for.
We can acquire material possessions, a successful career, a beautiful family or relationship, etc. and still be unhappy, not fulfilled whatsoever. So, what is it we need to do? Famous psychologist CG Jung said “He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside awakes”.
Wisdom is simply the art of recognising the difference between the things that matter and the things that don’t. All the things that matter start within us. Appreciation, compassion, empathy, respect, love and most of all – gratitude.
Our experience of life is not determined by the circumstances we are in, it is determined by the way we think about those circumstances. If we can live our lives in gratitude and appreciation, no matter what, we will be able to find joy and live our lives as if every day would be our last day. If we can connect with our essence, with our source, we will be able to find abundance of those resources.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
I wonder if instead of concentrating our energies in dwelling on the things we used to have, we could perhaps focus on the amazing life we still have, the precious moments we can still enjoy, cherish and start creating new memories, stretching our mind, creating new experiences. The Japanese have a saying which I love(Ichigo Ichie), it can be translated as “Once, a moment” or “In this moment, an opportunity”. If you go and swim in a river every day of your life, you will never swim in the same water, as it is constantly flowing. This is life, one moment, one opportunity, every moment is unique and it will never come back exactly the same.
I invite you my dear friend to grab the chance, savour, feel, see, hear, smell that moment and commit to your memory, because it is never coming back.
Live life as if today is your last day on earth. Simply learn to appreciate what really matters and let go of those that don’t