Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Year to Live - 323 Days Left

Don't worry! I am not ill, and I hopefully have many, many more years to live.

But, what if I didn't?  What if this was my last November, my last Channukah, Christmas, New Years, Birthday. . . ?  I have started a practice with my spirituality group called "A Year To Live" inspired by Stephen Levine's book with the same name.  Of course we are doing it our Buddhist inspired way, but the essential questions remain the same. 

How can I live my life to the fullest? . . . What does that even mean? 

I started my year to live on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and I am now down to 323 days left.  It's been a while since I have posted to this blog because this first month has been a doosey as I have reorganized my thinking, my approach to life and in some ways the contents of my life. 

I started by calculating the total hours it would take for me to do everything I want to do in a week.  I turns out I would need some 121 hours a week (and that was without allotting time for meals or family).  Alas, I am only awake approximately 105 hours a week. So, therein was the first problem I identified in my quality of life. I wanted to do too many things and in result everything suffered and most of all I suffered.  I was losing integrity.  And, fast. 

So I made the difficult cuts to things I enjoyed in my life but just didn't have time for.  Sadly, my yoga membership and my participation in the Razor Babes was among them.  But, I simply couldn't live the rest of my "year to live" feeling overwhelmed and generally disappointed in myself for not being able to accomplish everything I wanted to in a week. I was doomed to failure, by the mere math of there not being enough waking hours! 

But, simplifying was just the first step.  The "year to live" perspective has permeated most of my daily decisions.  Now I find myself asking how I want to live my life starting with the here and now.

How do I want this moment to be? To feel?

How do I want this evening to be?

This day? This week?

The good news is that I believe I am on track with most of my life decisions. I love teaching, I love creating dances and I love learning.  I have loving relationships with my husband and family.  In general, I am living the way I want to live in the big scheme of things.  But, the little stuff is what gets me from time to time. Getting caught up in the illusions that cause anxiety. The demands of the moment that feel like life and death, but really are trivial, silly or simply not worth my time. 

This practice is, however, not as simple as it seems.  It is often hard to see the truth of the situation, to dig past the eye catching details of the moment and see the essentials of life as it is.  I still have bad days. I still have moments of insecurity and uncertainty. But, this practice has already changed my attitude toward myself, others and the world. 

I won't last forever; no one will.  This too shall pass. I shall pass. The joys, the suffering, the clarity, the confusion, the life, the death.  It is all transient.

So, what do we make of the here and now?  

The present.  The gift of being present. 


  1. The gift of being present. Wise words. It is difficult to find the right perspective for your life. If we lived forever, we would have no impetus or urgency to our quest for meaning, but limited, precious time propels us forward. Pondering the immensity of the universe helps me. I step out of my mental time and space into a broader, more encompassing perspective. Then, you're right. I can better sort through the trivia.

    Thoughtful comments, Beth. Thanks for sharing your journey.

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