Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A life well lived

How quickly we forget.

I suspect it is part of our survival mechanism but I am once again conscious of how quickly we forget. I wrote a poem today called, How Short This Life.... no doubt the impetus came from inner thoughts or ponderings but, as is the way with creativity, it popped out.

And it reminded me of my time huddled in the wardrobe in Angola as bullets flew around the house and the realisation I had when the terror ended and I was safe, as to how important it was to 'do the work' and deal with things on a daily basis. I know that is hard but it is a worthy goal.

None of us know how long we have on this earth and few of us are prepared, or would choose, to leave it with regrets of things left undone. Not everyone has a choice of course but we have more choice than perhaps we realise or utilise. The saying, 'never go to sleep on an argument' is in the same vein and while not all arguments can be resolved, or perhaps the foundation of the argument, in an instant, there is no doubt that one can lay the groundwork for resolution sooner not later.

What stops us doing it is often ego, and sometimes fear. Ego demands one is right instead of being gracious. Fear demands the same thing, but more from a horror of looking foolish, or of feeling disempowered. In reality, at the point of death, they are both irrelevant.

I crawled out of that cupboard thinking, if I had died, what would I have regretted not doing... what wounded relationship lay unhealed? There was only one and I immediately set to say what I would have said if I had known my life would be over in an instant... as it might have been.

In reality, there can be no pain, no hate, no fear, no rage without love and at that moment of death there is no pain, no hate, no fear, no rage.... there is only love.

So it seems to me that saying sorry, even if you don't believe it is your fault; offering an olive branch even if you think it might not be accepted; acting with graciousness no matter the outcome and simply realising that most of the things which tie us up in knots are trivial in the face of what really matters: we are born, we share our lives with people we love and we die. The only bit over which we have any control is the middle bit and we get to choose how we share.

More laughter, more grace, more compassion, more understanding, more hope, more tolerance.... these are the ingredients which make for a life well lived and at the end of the day the only thing which matters is that a life is well lived. All the rest is dross and dregs.

If you believe there is nothing beyond this world and you happen to be right,  then a life well lived is all you have to experience and to offer and if  you believe and you happen to be right, that this world is merely one step on a long path of learning and becoming, then a life well lived is invaluable; both for the here and now and for the hereafter.

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