In Yoga, we often talk about coming to your mat with a beginner's mind. Basically this means that we approach everything with openness, curiosity and a desire to learn. I think of it as having a child-like sense of wonder about everything you do. It is also a lot about humility - we might think we know the best or the only way to approach a situation (or an asana) but if we let ourselves be open to new possibilities, we can have an even deeper discovery.
So, I've been contemplating the beauty of living each experience like it's the first time... but lately I've also been thinking a lot about its opposite. How would you live if you thought that each time you practice yoga, or walk out your front door, or hug someone you love goodbye, could be the last time?
A couple of weeks ago I came across a link to Jennie's blog on Joy the Baker, and then again on Jenna's Blog. When I read about how Jennie lost her husband so suddenly it moved me deeply. I mean, you always know theoretically that anything can happen at any time - but somehow that never felt real until I saw Jennie's blog entries go suddenly from bubbly daily recaps, to devestating loss. I immediately texted Ben to tell him I loved him - what if one of us didn't make it home, and I never got the chance to tell him that again?
I don't mean to sound morbid about it, but for the last week I haven't been able to get that thought out of my head, and I really have been trying to see every moment like it's my last chance - and I don't think that is a bad thing, or a bad way to live. It certainly doesn't mean that I am stressed out or scared of death lurking around every corner - it just means that I try to live each moment as deeply as possible. It means that I hug my parents goodbye a little longer. It means that I take the time to observe and absorb every smell, sight and sound when I walk out the door in the morning, just taking in how beautiful the world is. It means that I savor every bite of food, lingering and reveling in the pleasure of eating. It means that I hold on to my husband a little tighter at night.
Basically, if I or someone I love was, for some reason, not around tomorrow, I want to have no regrets. I don't want to spend the rest of my life thinking "I wish I had said _____ or done ______"... and I don't want their last memory of me to be me blowing them off or being rude or angry.
Again, I do NOT mean this to be depressing...but I think it's something we need to think about more often. Anything can happen, to anyone at any time. How would you live this moment, if you knew it was your last chance?
On a related note, there is a fund set up for Jennie to help her family make it through this extremely difficut time - please visit the Bloggers Without Borders website if you wish to make a donation. I do not know Jennie personally and before last month I had never seen her blog - but I cannot even imagine what she must be going through, and sometimes even total strangers need to band together to lift each other up.