We Are All Terminal

Old-lady-we-are-all-terminalWe are all dying.

I rant and grow impatient, succumb to moments of frustration or fear and sometimes let my tongue flow a little too readily with sarcasm or criticism. And if I am hungry and tired at the same time – well, I am not always the nicest person.

But my desire is to slow down, to breathe, to notice and receive with gratitude the gifts of today. To smile at the stranger and make eye contact with the grocery clerk, to listen and learn, to laugh heartily and appreciate each and every person in my life. To freely forgive and love even when it is hard.

To live in such a way that if this were my last day, or my last hour, I would have no regrets.

Because the truth is, I am dying. And so are you.

Despite the headlines and the funerals, it is so very easy to forget. To lose sight of what is most important. We need to pay the bills but we do we really need to cut in front of that idiot driver and give him the finger on our way to work? Our kids need to get out the door to soccer and school and yet another birthday party but if we scream at them to make it happen would it be ok to arrive, instead, a few minutes late or just say no to one more activity? We must feed our family and make snacks for the potluck but maybe they don’t need to be Instagrammable if preparing them makes us hate the world and stay up way past bedtime to get all the work done.

In the end, are these the things that truly matter?

It hurts me to think of all the times I yelled at my kids to hurry, had no time for (yet another) hug, or rolled my eyes at my husband. The times I judged you too quickly. Or even the hours, if we added them all up, that I spent ruminating about how I hated my body. But I was doing the best I knew in the moment. And now I know and choose better.

I want to recognize that life is finite and fragile and live each breath fully. Sip the wine, savor the chocolate, hug long and hard. Live fully conscious and aware. Purposeful.

Because life is but a vapor – a gift to be used up. Not to be abused but to be delighted in.

I was thinking how my dad never returned to his home from the hospital. I don’t think he knew that day that he was saying goodbye to the home he had crafted, the rock walls he painstakingly constructed with many little helper hands. The memories infused in the walls of the home where he grew and grieved and built friendships and family. And maybe in the end, when you are fighting for your life, none of that matters. And maybe when you live your life fully aligned with your core values, your stuff is simply an appendage. But the point is, life can change in a heartbeat or the time it takes to pull a weapon from a holster.

One day you are going about your business and the next a fire rips through your town, the plane crashes, your son never returns home.

In this world we don’t have the promise of tomorrow.

Instead of living weighed down by sorrow, heavy burdened, I want to be propelled to action. To choose carefully how and with whom I spend my time. To choose my words a little more carefully sometimes and to release inhibition and speak up boldly at others. To be sure that the life I am living is the one I want. To think for myself instead of allowing media and big business to dictate my behavior, desires or spending habits.

Because this is my one and only precious life. And I am dying. And we are all heading the same direction.

Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.  ~ Parker Palmer

Who are you and how do you want to live?

Are you carrying around a load of guilt or sorrow or unforgiveness that it is time to lay down? Are you spending your days aimlessly, lacking in purpose or clear direction? Perhaps you need to take a risk, go on a date, stop living in debt so that you can sleep at night. Pour out in some way.

Do you need to make amends with your sister, downsize your stuff, or start writing music again? Turn off the TV, buckle down on that pet project of yours, or cross ten things off that never-ending, anxiety-producing to-do list?

Because you are dying –  so I urge you to figure out what makes you truly come alive.

Would it help to spend an hour or two Life Visioning because you aren’t even sure what it is that you want? If you need guidance or support in this area, contact me to learn how we can work together. Maybe you could start by identifying all the things you know you don’t want; sometimes that is the easier starting place.

And it is altogether possible that you actually have everything you want and need right now but you have been so distracted by what other people are doing that you forgot.

Please do the work to remember. Because you have gifts to bring the world and a purpose for being here. You are a gift to the world.

And we are all dying. So let’s make sure we really live.

Krista xo

45 Things I’ve Learned in my 45 Years

20160710_173912007_iOSI turned 45 today. Feels weird writing that. I actually like getting older, though; I am a far more contented person now than even five years ago. Through a lovely turn of events I was offered the opportunity to housesit for a friend in Montréal this week which feels like an amazing way to mark the transition from the first half of my life to the next. Or at least that is how I think of it… the midway mark. Neither of my parents made it even close to 90 but I guess I’m planning for it.

Leading up to my 40th birthday I composed a “40-in-40” list; basically a list of 40 things I wanted to experience or accomplish in my 40th year. Have you ever done something similar?

This morning it occurred to me to mark my birthday by writing a list of 45 lessons or truths about myself I have uncovered in the past 45 years. Perhaps you will relate to some of these and I’d love for you to share some of your own hard-fought nuggets of truth in the comments. Off we go…

  1. I am a kinder and far happier human being when well-rested. Sleep is important.
  2. Say sorry when I mess up. I need to own my own ‘crap’.
  3. Conflict can be healthy for relationships. A fight does not mean divorce.
  4. Joy and pain can coexist.
  5. Life is not always black & white and that is ok.
  6. I don’t have to see the full picture before taking that next step.
  7. I don’t believe I would be alive today if not for a belief in God’s compassionate, gentle love for me.
  8. My body is beautiful. As is.
  9. Life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful; same goes for people.
  10. I have a thing for brown babies. Fuzzy-haired brown babies get me every time.
  11. Joy is a choice.
  12. Travel brings me joy – new languages, cultures, foods, experiences.
  13. I am possibly one of the chattiest introverts you will meet & love to chat with strangers.
  14. Solitude & calm & ample time to think are as essential to my well-being as dark chocolate.
  15. Marriage is hard work but worth it.
  16. Learning vulnerability is essential & painful & scary & beautiful. All at the same time.
  17. Mostly don’t judge a person by his cover. Except also listen to your gut.
  18. Fear of rejection & judgement are my kryptonite. I’m still working on this.
  19. My weaknesses are the flip-side of my greatest strengths.
  20. Perfectionism is an ugly, nasty slave-driver.
  21. We don’t have to agree to be kind or even to be friends.
  22. Everyone needs a four year old in their life.
  23. Self-awareness helps grow confidence.
  24. My kids are not mini-me’s and can teach me loads about life if I allow them to.
  25. There is incredible artistry in diversity.
  26. Compassion for other begins with compassion for self.
  27. Laughter really is one of life’s best medicines. I need more medicine.
  28. There is no one perfect way to eat or care for oneself and being open to change is healthy.
  29. Nourishing myself well is an act of self-care. Plus food is delicious.
  30. Words have power to heal and change lives.
  31. My body speaks to me all the time; it is important to get good at listening.
  32. Done is better than perfect.
  33. I don’t really care for music but NEED words in my life.
  34. I can face my fears and not drown in them.
  35. Sisters are important. If you don’t have any biological ones (I do!) you can adopt some.
  36. It is healthiest for me to ignore the mess in my kids’ rooms & simply shut the door.
  37. I want to spend time with people who are kind, smart, authentic and interested in discussing ideas.
  38. I fail sometimes but I am not a failure.
  39. Sex gets better, if less frequent, with age;)
  40. I desire a small, slow, simple life. What that looks like is up for interpretation I suppose.
  41. I hate being told what to do but function best with many self-imposed rules or limits.
  42. I am not a gardener, don’t want to be, and love supporting local farmers.
  43. I am a person of faith who wrestles hard, questions, and yet feels anchored in love.
  44. My primary love language is quality time. I crave connection. But then also time apart.
  45. I am a teacher.

This post may be a little self-indulgent but, again, I welcome your input in the comments. Here’s to another 45 years of purpose, health & JOY.

Krista xo