We seek fulfillment. Our bodies take it all in. We find nourishment In the foods we eat And in the information We consume. We seek fulfillment From the outside world, Which can nourish. It can hold. It can bind. We seek satiation And satisfaction. Taking from the earth We feel filled up And lifted up. We can be held in each other’s arms. Our own thoughts and prayers Guide us on the path. Our minds can bind us To the truth Or to one fixed view. We take in and seek fulfillment In a focused moment Or a broader view. It can feel hard if not impossible To let go What we’ve become accustomed to: The same familiar foods, Deeply held emotions and beliefs. It can feel that we ourselves are also being consumed If we can’t take care of each other And be mindful of what is acceptable And beneficial to consume. Does it nourish? It all becomes integrated and a part of our cells. So let’s choose wisely. Not just for a single fleeting moment But all precious moments. Fulfillment is possible.
Do the leaves hold on to the tree’s branches or is it the tree’s own doing when it comes to ultimately letting go? The leaves have completed their cycle. They were the first buds and sign of spring Opening into colorful blossoms. The blossoms became the green or dark hues Expressing the type of deciduous tree. All shapes and shades of green expanding toward the sky. Next there were the seeds. The future generation of trees were expelled down. Pinwheels of seeds helicoptered below The descent to bring forth descendants. Now that the seeds had done their work, The tree could finally show its true colors. The green transformed to bright oranges, reds and yellows. My oldest calls them the color of the setting sun. The strong autumn breezes help the trees Shed their leaves. And then they are bare, Ready to brace the cold of winter. No fragile blossoms to accidentally freeze. Just the tree and its roots Starkly standing in the white of snow. Forever patient. The cycle can’t be rushed or passed through Because it is nature’s own timing And the tree plays its part. The deciduous tree reminds me That all stages are important. One is not more special than the other. It is a seasonal reminder That life’s moments are brief. And there is beauty and a lesson to behold If I just take nature’s cue.
The great life lesson was unknown to me As it was happening in the moment. It took many years of trial and error and trying on another’s ideas or practices into my own life. Some practices resonated deeply with me. Others I tried in vain to make work Unwilling to feel like a failure As I set out to try it yet again. Setting high unrealistic expectations then wondering and strengthening my own perceived shortcomings. It is natural and normal To try things on for size To see if it is a fit. It’s also natural and normal To try to make things work, To try again and again. As I’ve matured I finally learned The greatest lesson: That it is natural and normal To let it go; To thank it For not fitting quite right And to be on the lookout For a better fit. For a practice to truly stick It has to be modified And incorporated into every day life. If it sits on a shelf Or stays tucked away neatly In a notebook, Never to be visited again For months or years, It is just wishful thinking. Of course, we can feel like a failure But it wasn’t the right fit. It’s okay to dabble, To take just one piece And add it to your toolbelt If it works and Adds value to daily life. The final lesson of all is that It’s up to me to find my own fulfillment. I can try things on for size But I am in the driver seat. I can pick and choose And let the rest go.
If I only had five years to live:
I would let the small things go: That argument with my husband; that misunderstanding that eats at me when I get quiet; that car that almost rear-ended me as they sped through the yield sign. It doesn’t matter. The annoying sound that usually puts me in a tailspin when I’m trying to focus. I will let it go. It won’t become an ingrained memory that I look back on. It’s not a part of my legacy.
My mind and energy deserve more than this. If this is all I got, then I’m making the most of it. I would cherish and savor all the moments. I would linger a little longer outdoors no matter the season to slow down and touch the ever-changing ground as it goes through its seasonal cycle. I wouldn’t hurry and live in my mind of to-dos and being driven by tasks and lists, which leads to a hurried, stressed out, overwhelmed, rushed, fatigued day that beads into weeks and a lifetime.
I will seek out to experience life to the fullest for each day is truly a gift. I will be grateful for my loves and my life lessons. My time will not be squandered. Do I want to travel while I still can? Do I want to get caught up on what matters most? Conversations with my friends. Walks with Jeff. Coffee dates. An easy morning to set me up for an easy life.
In the end I know it will feel brief. I will wish I had more time. But ultimately I will feel fulfilled and that I had a life worth living. That I sought out my own happiness and didn’t get caught up in dread, fear, worry, or future tripping.
The future is uncertain. We do not have a timeline or our lifeline set in stone or guarantees of when and how it will end. We just have today and our breath and our hearts to beat. I will be here taking stock, creating memories for my loved ones, feeling that my time and energy is focused on what truly matters to me. At least with this choice, I will feel whole and complete.
I want to thank my husband for challenging me to think and blog about this topic. His blog is here: https://amorereasonablemind.wordpress.com/ If you were told you only had five years to live, how would you choose to spend your days?
Life has a way of not going according to plan. Whose plan is it anyway? “Oh, those silly humans still think they can control their lives and circumstances.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean we should just lay back and let life happen to us and around us passively. We need to take action and be the director of our own life’s work. Choose what skills, experiences and relationships we want to pursue with our time, energy and money. And let go of what doesn’t fit or work any longer. Let go of our silly pride, clinging to unreal outcomes, lost dreams or wearing our failures like a badge of honor. Stuck and unwilling to see what else is around the corner. It is a symbiotic relationship with our nature and nature itself.
We suffer less when we’re not surprised when things go awry because that is what it means to be alive. It can be pleasant, heartbreaking, triumphant or a huge loss.
What do we do next? Pick up the fragments left behind, be our own excavator to learn from the experience, and continue down this journey that belongs to no one but ourselves.