What would you do if you only had one week to live...?
Yesterday, I watched footage of a 102 year old woman jump out of a plane, and excitedly descend to earth. She had never been skydiving, and wanted to do it before any more time had passed. The urgency of her desire struck jarring chords deep inside of me, like a hammer dropped on a dulcimer. Watching her release the doubt from her decision, step up to the plane’s open door, trust the magic of life’s unseen lift, and then revel on her way down, made me wonder if I had been wasting any of the unprecedentedly precious time of late.
What would happen if each of us only had a week left to live? What choices would we make? Which of our thoughts would win-out as our mortiferous moments counted down? Would our desire to make the most of every remaining millisecond be strong enough to penetrate the self-imposed imprisonments of our limiting beliefs?
It is not possible to soften the fact that we the people, the nation, the world, have seen an enormous amount of death this year. Our hearts have been inflamed, grieving. Our bodies have been frustrated, aggressive. Our minds have run the gamut from closed, combative to open beyond measure, more impressionable than ever before. Beyond the heart-wrenching physical death that has surrounded us during this persistent pandemic, we have witnessed nature as it has shed its mortal coil in the form of fiery pockets across the country, whipping winds along the coasts, tectonic plates of change toppling and tumbling, ripping and roaring, crumbling and destroying that which had been constructed upon once-solid ground.
We have seen past precedent, regulatory routine, and democratic decorum morph into maniacal polarity, diabolical and diametrically-opposed party masks donned like armor to fight one another just as fiercely, as gruesomely as grappling on the literal battlefield of war.
We have experienced old stories, out-dated schema and historical horrors surrounding race, inequality, and socio-economic segregation outgrow their arcane implementation.
We have felt the severity of discord and discontent as our transitioning personal, national and global discourses escalate, agitate their internal and external dissonance around the world.
In our noble attempt to better the future, we have rebelled against the acceptance of where we are now—and the feelings of loss over where we are NOT.
We, as humans, are wired for progress. We seek it, we chase it, we spend our lives at arms-length to it; holding it out front, as some arbitrary incentive, some unattainable idea outstretched, and perpetually out of reach like a carrot on a stick.
But, what if we truly took this time of life and death, hibernation and awakening, transition and transcendence to look at our human life through a term-limited, time-inhibited lens? Perhaps the power, the sanctity, the solemnity of the present moment would be enough to crack the hard candy shell that most of us have let accumulate around our hearts, our expectations, our conditional consciousness as a way to safely survive this world.
Perhaps even the illusion of a seemingly restricted shortened life sentence of one week would be force enough to break the arbitrary chains that bind us to our hamster-wheel of responsibility and bar us from our ability to just BE—not be ‘productive,’ or ‘achieving,’ or ‘rebellious,’ but, rather, JUST BE. Perhaps exploring life’s expiration date as an exercise would allow us to just be our worthy selves, our spectacular souls, our most effervescent spirits while simply sitting still, just as we are, just where we are, right now.
As has often been the case when faced with impending mortality, perhaps our personal priorities would change. Perhaps our relationships would take precedence, our love would emerge paramount and our fleeting seconds, once squandered by spending time thinking of the past or future, would start to be, instead, savored. Perhaps we would find our infinite nature in the temporal framework of our physicality. Perhaps, like the magnificently adventurous, skydiving grandmother, the urgency of our decision to live fully would be enough to let go of any shackle, any doubt, any blame, or fear of fallout; any skepticism, pessimism narcissism or dogmatism; any ill-will or the seizing of some hill or the hoarding of some till or wielding weapons that kill. Perhaps, the urgency of our desire to live fully, live facilely, live freely, would allow us to open and expand our hearts like a parachute, so that we may ride the whispering winds of life’s extraordinary free-fall.
Tomorrow doesn’t technically exist yet...let us all live in the love of this moment, right here, right now.