This Life…Truly Worth Living

As a way to welcome in 2015, I have decided to begin a blog about life and what it means to be truly living. To be alive in a way that feels exciting, overwhelming, heart thumping, and adrenalin pumping, or even just to feel content in your being. What it means to be so present in your life that you accept each piece of your life as if there is no other choice. This new blog is not due to a sudden resolution I have. As a matter of fact, I don’t typically ‘do’ resolutions. Not because I don’t believe in them, but because I make resolutions all the time, all year round, any time I feel I need to reset and start over.

Instead, I am driven to this blog due to my complete admiration of a woman I have known all my life who is the epitome of ‘truly living’. She is an amazing, beautiful woman, physically, emotionally and spiritually. She is a rare sample of a woman that barely complains, even when it seems there is plenty to complain about and does not wade in the drama that life seems to offer. She is a woman who didn’t lie down to rest when her chips were down, but stood up even straighter. She has endured a challenging life, like most of us, not missing out on divorce, single parenting, food stamps, and blended families. She is a woman who knows what it means to live.

From my first memories of her, I can recall her beautiful, long curly brown hair that was never out of place and her perfect face that appeared the moment she woke in the morning. She was a goddess of sorts, at least to me. Imperfectly perfect, I suppose, but that was not the way I saw her. In my eyes, she was just perfect. Simply perfect.

In retrospect, I see that she did not have an easy life, as she manhandled a job as a hostess with 2 years community college in her resume, 2 small children by her side and a life that was going to need some governmental support. But not for long. No, this beautiful woman was not raised to sit on the sidelines squeezing out some bitter lemons. No. This was a woman who would learn to put on her shoes filled with fear, dress herself just so and work her way up the ladder. The ladder, you know, that ladder of success? Yep, she was the one. At a time when cell phones didn’t exist, disappearing fathers did and no one had ever heard of full time working moms, she did it. Not only that, but she began at the bottom rung tediously selling hospital supplies by phone. As tough as it was, she waded through the muck and moved herself to the next rung. At the time, I did not realize what a superstar she was, I just knew I loved her and she could do no wrong.

Eventually she married her prince, teetered on a very high rung on the ladder and was known for many years as top national sales rep. From there, with the big beautiful house, handsome prince and 3 beautiful girls…it seemed her life was perfectly easy and blissful. But…things are not always as they seem. Or are they?

Actually, things were pretty perfect, married to a man who would quickly take on raising her children like his own and skip down the steps each morning, without fail, repeating the same mantra “Just another great day in paradise!” More signs of truly living…

Her life was never woe-is-me. Not out loud at least. Not that I ever heard anyway, but she sure had plenty of reason to wallow in how hard her life was and it wasn’t until more recently that I wondered why she didn’t. I mean, I have plenty of friends who have it much easier than she ever did and they wallow all the time. And I do mean, ALL of the time. Blaming their surroundings, their ex-spouses, their children, their parents, their bosses…but not this lady. She took on her life in a way that made everyone’s life around her, better. I don’t know exactly how or why, but she did it. Perhaps because she knew, even way back then that life was for the living and that if you were alive, then you should give your life some of the best living you could. That was what she did.

That is what she still does to this day, almost 50 years later. Not that she has only lived 50 years, but has only lived that long as my mom.

 mom and I

Some 14 months ago, my superhero mom was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer. Some may say it’s a death sentence of sorts, giving you different ranges of life somewhere between 3 months to a year, but not promising more. For our family, it was the shock of our lives. Literally. She didn’t smoke or drink, ate organic food, fruits, veggies, passed over sugars and processed foods and worked out daily. My mom having cancer was like finding out that it was snowing in California. I mean, yes, anything IS possible, but that didn’t mean it was going to happen. Or so we thought.

But this lady, this beautiful lady, now had a real challenge that trumped all others. Cancer. And while we rallied around, doing everything we could to not crumble, to find the glass half full, she got into action. What other choice did she have? After all, life was for the living and with each second that she could still think, know, feel and love, she was surely alive and was only a reminder that she was going test out this ‘living’ thing in a way that we had not seen before. She needed to. And we didn’t tell her, but much like the old days…we needed her to…

Worry is Like a Rocking Chair…

If I asked you to write a list of the things you worry about, what would you write? You may worry about your children, your parents, or perhaps you have worries about your job or health. Most likely you could rattle off your worries without batting an eye. You could explain the why part so easily that you might even convince me you have reason to worry. Yet I wouldn’t join you in the worry game because I know that worrying only causes more worrying.

Do you know how I know that worry lives in tomorrow? Simple. Look at the list you wrote down about your worries. Are any of those things occurring right this minute? Or are they events from your past that you worry will occur again? If not, then they are simply projections of events you fear will happen. Now to be fair, they might actually occur. Or they might not. But the point is that while you spend much of your time worrying about them, none of them are actually occurring.

“Control is an illusion.”

That’s true, as much as I would like to believe I can control events and people in my life, I can’t. I may be able to alter certain events or relationships due to how I behave, but I cannot control the outcome. So if we can accept that as truth, as much as we would like to deny it, what’s the point of worrying?

As human beings, we tend to worry about the future. When we use up our mindfulness on a future that we can’t control, we no longer are present in the moment we have now. Perhaps the only moment that matters. After all, what we do in this moment may not be able to control the outcome, but it can have the ability to alter our future.

To be consumed in a future that is not here, thoughts of events that have not occurred, is to completely miss today. “Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do, but won’t get you anywhere.” Think about it…it is the truth! Worrying will fill your head with plenty to think about, but your mind will be so cluttered with what is next, that you won’t have the strength, energy, nor desire to be with what is here and now.

You’re neglecting yourself and the people around you as you continue to live each day in a space that doesn’t exist. Tomorrow.

How can you be present in this life, when you’re consumed with a day that doesn’t exist?

The answer is quite simple. Every time your mind begins to wander, fantasizing about what might come, what might be next, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Do a quick scan of your body and visualize what is actually occurring in this moment. Remember that the sound you hear, the peacefulness that actually stirs in you when you are still and silent, is really what is going on and is surely nothing to worry about.

Want the controls back in your life? Relax and enjoy this moment. Today is all we really have and will never be quite the same again. As for tomorrow, we can think about that…once it gets here.