One Year To Live

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“It doesn’t matter how long you have forgotten, only how soon you remember.” Buddha

Matt died August 1st. That is coming up again. Each year I promise to learn to live my life a little more, and this year I decided all or nothing. This year I want to live like it is the last year of my life. I am going to pay attention to my own needs, immediate needs, and respond accordingly.  I will change the question “why do I feel”….to “how do I feel?”  I will respond to the needs around me. I am not going to do things I should do this year or that I am supposed to do…I am only going to do things I WANT to do. I am so tired of teeter tottering between ideologies. I have noticed while volunteering at Hospice that many say if they had another year to live they would change their work situation, some say they would quit, most concede that at the very least they would reduce the number of hours they work. Many say they wish they would have adopted a gentler place in life, changed their surroundings, been less preoccupied with social and material ambition.  Some say they would have moved to the country, some would have moved to the city, some would have built a new home some would have torn down old ones, but almost all of them say they would have stopped to smell the roses. What we call salvation belongs to the time before death. If I don’t break these bonds while I am still alive do I think ghosts will do it for me afterwards? What is found now is found then.

So I have committed to living this year as though it were my last. To practice dying to be fully alive. To investigate the dread of and resistance to life itself. To complete my birth before it is over. To investigate myself….that part of myself that refuses to take birth fully. To explore this ground….the ground of being which is impermanent…the body of my soul, and my ever changing mind to cut through a lifetime of confusion, and forgetfulness. To undertake a life review with gratitude and forgiveness. To explore that which holds onto suffering inside of me and cultivate a heart that cannot be distracted even by death. It has become clear to me that through my exploration of death it was the fear of life that needed to be investigated first.  I commit to live this year like it is the last year of my life, “here today, gone tomorrow.”  What would you change if you realized you only had one year to live?

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