I’m thrilled to have my colleague and friend, Connie Milligan share her thoughts about “Make Each Day Count” as she was faced with the sudden loss of a friend.
We’re scheduled to fly to Portugal in a few days to visit a friend. Yesterday we learn that she has died suddenly from a tick bite – totally random. We’re in shock, heartsick and bereft. My husband looks at me and says: “The lesson here is to make each day count.”
What does this mean? How do we do it? The first thing that came to mind is the adage you see on signs everywhere – Live, Laugh, Love. I’ve always thought those signs were tacky. Now, I realize it’s the truth. Because our friend is so much on my mind, I want to honor her. I’m willing to look at this closer. She’d appreciate it.
Don’t go through the motions – Live:
To say live each day as if it’s your last sounds saccharine. Yet, this is exactly what people who are dying say. It would mean that you pay attention to what has meaning to you. You don’t go through the motions of routinizing your life to the point that it has lost its sense of purpose and value. All the following things have been considered and chosen:
• You’re doing work that makes a difference to you and to others. It matches your interests and innate talents. It adds zest for living. You are on a path that is uniquely yours.
• You’ve planted yourself in a place that is right for you. You have loved ones and you love where you live. You love your friends and your community. Even if you “have to” live where you do, you’re glad.
• You make choices with well-defined values so you’re clearly living with purpose. Whether it’s who you love, what you eat, what you read, or where you go on vacation, it’s based on guiding principles that indicate you‘re awake and making conscious choices.
• You give thanks that you live with peace in your life with the freedom to make these choices. Gratitude…
One of the choices we’ve made is to see the world through the eyes of those who live there. That’s why this trip to Portugal was so meaningful. We’ve decided we’re going after all, to pay respect to our friend’s family if nothing else. It will be hard; we’ll certainly see the country differently without her. We only hope that we can provide some support to her daughters and tell them why we love their Mother.
Find your joy – Laugh:
Living with joy is a choice too. We forget this. It’s all a matter of perspective. What do you enjoy – what gives you a lift? What’s entertaining, funny, fun? It’s different for all of us. Here’re some thoughts:
• What gives you a lift is an inside job. It’s not based on what’s socially acceptable or trendy. It’s about what makes you bubble up on the inside.
• It’s a regular part of your life – right? Surely you’re not remembering some event from years ago.
• When you allow joy in your life, small things give you pleasure and the laughter comes easily.
• Being fully present in the moment allows you to delight in the spontaneous. (I love watching squirrels conquer anything squirrel proof, especially when someone has gone to great lengths to keep them out.)
• People who are extroverted will likely have a different list of joys than those who are introverted. Those differences are good.
We love hanging out with our friends. The ridiculous conversations we have, the teasing and joking with people we love is a constant source of laughter. That means no TV, no watching something, just being present for each other.
Do it from the heart – Love:
Many people are careful and cautious to not express their feelings for fear of getting hurt. It’s truly wasted energy. I can say that now, having been that way when I was younger. It was painful to be so concerned about what others thought. The freedom to be more open comes from knowing that the love you extend is always returned, sometimes in spades. It takes time to learn these things:
• Giving with love comes more easily when you love yourself and trust that’s there’s reciprocity. Give a little more each day and see what happens
• Most people are hungry to be acknowledged. When you say honest loving things to people, it’s memorable.
• You can change the tone and feeling of your environment by offering loving comments on a regular basis. People brighten and lighten up. The difference is palpable. Do it and see for yourself.
• Your connections become rich and deeper when you’re in a state of appreciation. Your loved ones, friends, pets, and environment all thrive when you actively show love.
• Being loving makes you feel more alive. It helps you laugh more.
When we entertained our friend from Portugal at our home last year, we loved her up, laughed a lot and lived large. We had a grand time. It helped her see herself differently. Her life changed significantly afterwards – she reported “I’ve never been happier”. This is the only perspective that gives me peace about her passing. She got to live, laugh and love before it was her time to go.
Can you say you make each day count? It’s an essential subject. If you’re interested, I’d be delighted to help you explore this for yourself in a class or individually. I’m incorporating it into a workshops.
Connie can be reached via email at email@example.com. Her website is forthcoming!