Monday, March 23, 2015

What Does Living Look Like?

Today I visited a friend who is in the final stages of a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Like the other dear friends I've had to say goodbye to too soon, she is much to young to die. It makes me wonder what sort of balance is out of skew in the Universe. How this could possibly be happening. Something feels so monumentally off when we lose people before their time.

It feels surreal and wrong.

And yet, it's the most powerful reminder for the rest of us how precious life is. 

It made me think hard about what it means to really live.

What does that look like?

On the surface, it might look like pushing boundaries and taking risks; traveling to the ends of the earth to pack your days with an endless supply of experiences.

But when I really think about what makes me feel alive, it's simply being connected to the moment. 

For me, living—really sopping up every last drip of life—is so much more about what I'm feeling than what I'm doing. I'm living when I connect with people, when I connect with nature, when I connect with a beautiful song or a blazing sunset. It's about presence and gratitude. Being grounded in an experience, rather than having a wild one.

I thought about what I would do if I knew I had only a short time to live, and that was the answer: focus on being connected to everything and every second.

I wouldn't have to race to see the countries I haven't seen. I wouldn't have to load every day with as many social interactions as possible. I would just have to plug in to the present. 

The good news is, I can do this now. I can work at this every day so that whenever my final day arrives, there will be no question that I lived.

Today, for me, living looked like blowing off work for half the day to drive to LA. It was about being present on the highway as the cloudless sky and teal spans of ocean passed by outside my window. It was about sitting at the bedside of my friend, touching her arm and telling her stories, as she winds down this life and starts the transition into the next.

It was about feeling everything that came with that situation. The overwhelming sadness mixed with the immeasurable appreciation of knowing my friend, even if it will be for far fewer days than I'd prefer. 

When you think about living your life to the fullest, what does it look like for you?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How's Your Personal Foundation Holding Up?

My husband and I are in the process of adding a bathroom and some extra square footage to our master bedroom, and just about every step of the construction process has me thinking about how building a house is just like building a life.

The foundation, of course, is one of the most important parts.

Ours required design drawings by an engineer and an inspection by a county expert. Everything that went into those key support walls had to be perfect. Or else the house could fall in on top of us.

If only construction of our own personal foundations followed the same protocols.

What would an engineer tell you that you had to have at your core to keep you feeling solid?

What would an inspector insist that you couldn't skimp on, lest you cause your own walls to come crashing in on you?

Without the right foundations, we're just not equipped to weather life's storms, stay strong when we're tired, or hold it together on those days when the weight of the roof feels so darn heavy.

Everything rests on the foundations we build.

If I had to sketch up a structural rendering of mine, it would include things like time in nature, laughter, affection, rest, education, and really delicious food. Those are just a snapshot of what I need to keep myself sturdy in the world.

What would you use to build your foundation? And is it intact right now or do you need to fill some cracks? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gratituesday: Simple Adventures

Aren't we lucky to have a gazillion activities in life that feel like adventures? 

I'm so grateful for the big ones—exploring new cities, climbing mountains, flying in helicopters.

But oh how I love the small ones, too. Like the first time I ate a raw oyster.

Adventure at its finest.

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Accept What Is and You'll Just Keep Swimming

What you resist persists. 
But when you accept what is, you gain the ability to swim in the deepest of waters.