How Will I Live My Life?
If this turns out to be my last day on this planet... what will I do and how will I do it?
I taught a class on Memento Mori (Remember We Must Die) recently in Santa Monica for the Masculine Master series of workshops hosted by Metaphysical Fitness. This class I offered was born out of my own practice. In order to live a rich, full life, so the theory goes, one must embrace one’s impending death. Anything less is to live in fear… and hence to clog your ability to life a rich, full, life.
I’ve discovered this ‘teaching’ to be fully true.
And so I daily enter the portal of death willingly to see what this life has to offer… and I come back to this question:
If this turns out to be my last day on this planet… what will I do and how will I do it?
Og Mandino, in his seminal book The Greatest Salesman in the World makes this proactive affirmation: I Will Live This Day As If It Is My Last.
But how do you do that?
If this was my last day I would want to say goodbye to my children, my woman, my friends. I would enjoy a few moments of beauty, refresh my mind on good memories, and tie off any loose ends I might have to the best of my ability. I would break my heart open and let the sadness and the appreciation overwhelm me fully and just sink into a beautiful goodbye.
But what do I do the next day? Presuming I don’t actually die… how do I live the next day as if it’s my last?
Most of us would probably quit work and come home to our family, yes?
Nobody on their deathbed has ever said "I wish I had spent more time at the office".
-- Rabbi Harold Kushner
So how do you translate this into a daily practice?
First of all, it requires an immediate reorganization of what you are doing with your life. Consider this: If this was you last day, would you still be at your job? If you answer no… then you are in the wrong job.
Are your loose ends tied off? Have you filled your life with beauty, appreciation, and service? Have you given your gifts fully? Have you offered love to everyone?
I had a friend growing up whose family had a rule: You never leave the house without saying I Love You to everyone. Never leave in anger. You never know what might happen out there…
You might die.
Which brings me back to this sentence: If this turns out to be my last day on this planet… what will I do and how will I do it?
The first part is to reorganize your life so that what you are doing each day is full: full of service, full of receiving, fully of gratitude, full of depth. Such reorganization however is often, (at least it was for me) a massive undertaking.
So what do you do, daily, as you are restructuring your life?
The answer, I’ve discovered, is in the word ‘how’. How will I do it?
If this is my last day… how will I type these words? How will I breathe? How will I walk? How will I speak? How will I eat?
From this perspective, while dismantling my old life and rebuilding my new life from scratch… I discovered that life took on a totally different texture. My movement slowed, my smile deepened, my heart opened. By asking HOW I will live this life… I added depth to even the seemingly mundane pieces.
When I first heard of the idea of living this fully, it felt very esoteric, and unreachable. But I can report to you that after sustaining a practice of fullness the results have been profound and beautiful. There is a permeating sense of gratitude, contentment, and flow.
Try it. See what it does for you. Report back. I would love to hear your experiences.