How do you want to live your life?

17 July 2017 - Mindful Living

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

When thinking about what kind of life you want to live, the question “What matters most to you?” is a good place to start. We often know the answers, but life has a way of blurring the lines between what’s important and what isn’t.

Experiencing death and loss has a way of giving us greater clarity. In a Modern Love article that called for readers to share personal stories of love and loss, a sentiment that permeated through the stories was to appreciate what we have before it’s too late. One particularly poignant anecdote came from a reader whose wife of 31 years has breast cancer: “My advice to all is to live for the moment, show love for your significant other every day, and recognise that life is too short to be angry for more than 10 minutes.”

Life is short, but appreciating the small things is the surest way to live it well. We share one of our favourite poems, The Dash by Linda Ellis, which reminds us to think about what we’d like our eulogy to say:

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning...to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

If you’re finding hard to be grateful for anything, here are some words of encouragement from the poet Mary Oliver.

The Mindful Company Team