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Never Again

Updated: Jul 24

Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, July 17, 2020! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. No really, today will never come again – Ever!

I mean it. Today, this day that we have right now, it will never ever come again. This moment will never come again. And this moment too! Done. Gone. Oh, and, no one is promised a tomorrow. Let this sink in a moment.

This truth that each day will never come again and that no one is promised a tomorrow has been the most influential motivator that I’ve come across – so far – to live mindfully, meaningfully, with attention and intention.

Ok, in all honesty, when I first heard this, when it first sunk in, I mean really sunk in, I felt sickened. I thought to myself: “I have wasted so much of my life. Ugh!” I can’t recall how long I beat myself up over this, but I clearly remember lamenting how much of my life I let slip by, not respecting those in front of me with my full attention, grieving missed opportunities, wishing I had a second chance. Nope, we only get one chance at whatever we are doing in any given moment.

I remember thinking about a couple friends who died at a young age and was profoundly saddened that I couldn’t remember the conditions of our last time together – was it meaningful, was it pleasant? I don’t know. Like many of my interactions with others for a significant part of my life, there was no conscious thought as to whether I would see them again. Regrettably, those moments, and many others, were taken for granted. One of my most painful memories is one in which my last interaction with an acquaintance was contentious. Now that she has passed, I’ll never get to apologize and make amends to her for my behavior. I don’t ever want to experience that cutting feeling again. Fortunately, thus far in my lapses of living in alignment with an aspiration to treat each moment as the last, I’ve been spared that painful despair of wishing I had one more chance.

Nowadays, each morning when I wake, I have my little morning ritual. This routine includes coffee, a few inspirational and spiritual readings, usually a cat on my lap, a formal Shamatha (mindfulness of breath) meditation, some dedicated time to count my blessings (in writing) and reflect on the truth that this day will never come again and I may not get a tomorrow. Here, I consider a thought: “How do I want to show up to this rare and precious day that will never come again if I were denied a tomorrow?” I then set an intention for the day. [My intention today is to “start anew” in each moment. To not let the previous moment dictate my present moment.] Then, as I go through the day, I check in (again, in writing) and objectively review how I’m doing with my intention and reflect on whether I’m honoring each moment as if it won’t come again. I’m getting better.

However…

Last night I received text messages from my two sisters about many topics. One of the topics was COVID-19. Believe it not, one of my sisters for sure has a different opinion about the authority’s response to it. In a knee-jerk reaction, I shared my view. Immediately after I hit send, I felt yucky. It was one of those moments when I wished for a second chance. Or, a “delete last text” button. It was late. I went to bed. Throughout the night, I had a mix of contrasting thoughts, “I’m right damnit” or “her opinion is as valid as mine.” Did I lose sleep? Some. My biggest concern: I didn’t want that to be the last interaction I had with my sister. It was a great reminder! I am (re)inspired.

The first thing on my list this morning, following my ritual, was to call my sister, offer an amends and make sure that she knows I love her. She does. We had a great conversation. Despite out political dissimilarities, we have more in common that we have differences. We all do!

Obviously, I don’t always live this truth of “one chance only” in a way that sincerely honors it. But I am finding that as I continue in my Mindfulness practice, considering and meditating on these truths each and every day, I am becoming more and more successful. And when I do falter, I am quicker than ever before to start anew.

Today, I love you and there isn’t anything that you can do about it!

Honoring this moment,

Dan

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