Inspiration of the Self-Reliance 30-Day Writing Challenge

To celebrate Ralph Waldo Emerson's 208th birthday (May 25th, 1803), Self-Reliance urges us to trust our intuition rather than conforming to the will of the majority.

Beginning on May 31st, 2011, The Ralph Waldo Emerson Self-Reliance website*** will post a daily prompt. This will continue for 30 days.

This is my unique creation of personal reflection and responses, based on those prompts.

***See link below for the site.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Come Alive

"Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.
Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

Refer to “Fifteen Minutes to Live” (an earlier blog on Day 1).  If given one week (rather than 15 minutes) to live, the only difference I’d prefer would be to have my entire family with me to share my last week. 

At this stage of my life, at 63 years old, my priorities have changed.  Rather than a “Bucket List” or a “To Do List”, my goals are simple.  It’s taken me much of my life to realize that all we have is this one moment.  Therefore, my only goal is to enjoy each NOW present moment, as best as possible.  To LIVE in the NOW brings rewards – no worries about the future – and no regrets about the past. 

All that has already occurred is done and cannot be changed.  The only part of the past I try to reflect on, are the treasures of my life – those cherished memories that we never wish to forget.  Those are the ones that bring a smile to my face.

Worrying about the future will not create a better future.  We should not be worrying about something that has not yet happened.  Clouding up our thoughts with concern about what “might” happen, is simply detracting from our NOW moments.  Since the NOW is all we have at each given time, why allow it to escape with preoccupation about what’s “possibly” to come.

Instead of worrying, I’ve discovered ways to face what lies ahead, but not until it arrives.  Often, those things we fear, don’t even surface.  Many things are beyond our personal control.  Premature anxiety will not change those things.

What’s helped me, is to find gratitude in everything that crosses my life’s path, even if it’s not pleasant.  It’s amazing how this simple act has transformed my way of thinking and my life.

I no longer wish for what may be missing in my life.  Instead, I am grateful for whatever IS in my life.

In addition, finding unconditional acceptance in what crosses my path brings serenity and tranquility to my existence.

Being mindful is another valuable lesson I’ve learned.  Not always easy (but not everything is), I try to actually “BE” in each “NOW” present moment, and “BE” with whatever I’m doing.  If I’m washing my hands, that will be my focus.  At times, this can be especially challenging for me, as I’m a born multi-tasker. 

Acceptance, Mindfulness and Gratitude are miracles, when you welcome them into your daily life and embrace them.  They become automatic habits, which bring rewards of peace.

This brings me to the “bonus” part of today’s prompt –
Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?
As mentioned above, by BEING in the NOW present moment, the need to spiral into “always something better” disappears.

In conclusion, I’m not PREPARING to live, but rather I AM living.  This is my life!  There’s nothing I’d being DOING differently, as I’m content with my life as it is. 

The ONLY part I’d change, if it wasn't beyond my control, would involve having my family here with me. 

For those who know me well, also know that 19 has been my lucky number for almost 50 years, so when I was searching images to include in this blog, I knew this one was meant for me.

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