“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver.
I have a slight fascination at present with the concept of time. I cannot remember what I did a year ago from this day. That is to say perhaps I have a general idea of where I may have been, and a diary check may offer some more clarity, but I can’t remember my thoughts on waking, what I felt inspired by that day or what went through my mind as I fell into slumber that night. Yet on the actual day there is no doubt I would have been totally aware of everything that I felt and experienced.
Time is an illusory concept that we become ever fixated on. When we are impatient for something, we will the time to fly by, longing for the minutes to race past us and arrange themselves into the numbers we want to see. Then when we are enjoying ourselves we wish for time to crawl slowly, so slowly, or perhaps even stop completely, allowing us to savour moments without fear of their disappearance.
Our days are marked by time. Alarms are set, schedules are planned. We live our lives by the clock, we chart our existence by the calendar.
But how do we actually measure time?
At some point in our lives most of us get caught in the trap in living day to day without ever giving much thought as to whether or not we actually feel alive. We neglect our dreams to feed our daily grind. We flatline. We put life on hold because we think we’ll have time later on, that a more opportune moment will present itself.
Living each day as though it’s our last may not be practical, but living each day to our authentic best is at the very core of what we need to do to feel energised and empowered.
Because what if we don’t actually have time?
Spirit and soul are all we have. From these places love is born. Hope is birthed. Dreams are sparked.
Staying still is not an option for me. This is in stark contrast to the years where I wished for nothing but to remain enveloped in my cocoon, fearing change and avoiding the future. I clung to a reality which I thought was all I knew. The truth is, it was all I knew. Because I wasn’t allowing myself to live outside of the cocoon, nothing new could be experienced. No new joy could come in. I thought I had time. I thought ‘now’ wasn’t my moment.
And then I ended up in hospital.
The evening before I was admitted I started experiencing severe upper abdominal pain. It got worse when I tried to lay down and I spent a sleepless night wondering what on earth was happening to me. The next morning I shuffled around to my doctors surgery. Thankfully it wasn’t far as I could only take pigeon steps. The doctor did some checks and ran some blood tests. I was told to return home and wait. Within an hour I had a message on my voicemail telling me to get to hospital. Immediately.
On my arrival I was told that I had experienced a severe attack of pancreatitis. For five days I laid in a bed, connected to a drip with a sign above my head that said ‘Nil by mouth’.
Because the hospital wards were full to bursting I was moved to a ward that was primarily for elderly people. Very, very ill elderly people. I remember shuffling to the bathroom one evening, pulling my drip stand with me, and looking at the faces that occupied the rows of beds.
I saw shrivelled, sallow skin.
I saw oxygen masks.
I saw eyes that held nothing but fading light.
I saw lone souls that probably weren’t going to make it out of that ward.
I suddenly had a blinding flash of perspective. If this was the end for me then would I be ok with that? Would I be proud of how I’d lived? Could I honestly say that I’d truly, fully lived and not just existed? The answer, sadly, was no.
I made a promise to myself there and then that from that moment forward I would live. And I would feel. I would really feel. I wouldn’t mask anymore, I wouldn’t supress and I wouldn’t wait for a better moment. There, on that ward, amongst the frail, tired shadows I decided to accept the gift of my life. I vowed to take the broken bits and the jaded parts and love them as much as the rest of me until they shone in their own right too. I’d tell fear it was time to move on and I’d tell hope that the door was open.
I realised that my original question of ‘Why is this happening to me?’ was much better re-phrased to ‘Why is this happening for me?’ There is always a message. There is always a lesson. Instead of feeling like a victim I chose to feel grateful. I’d been given an opportunity. I would choose to take it.
Birth and death are the only certainties. Even if re-incarnation is true for us, we still have to be born and die in order for that to happen. If we don’t actually live in between then what is the point? We can’t always defer our dreams. We may not always have that luxury.
The moments we are given are fleeting, each of them gone before we really register their existence. Yet, together they amount to who we are, the substance of what makes us matter. Quite literally.
It’s time to be who we are and to create the lives we want to have. There will not be a better moment than now. If what we want isn’t on the menu then maybe we need to place a tailor made order.
“I’ll have individuality with a side order of distinctiveness please”.
It’s time to let go of fear and say goodbye to doubt. It’s time to take off the chains and silence the skepticism. It’s time to ask ourselves what we really do plan to do with our one, wild and precious life. Because staying in the shadows isn’t going to be our favoured memory when we finally look back on our days and reflect on how we lived.
Ignore the preachings of the merits of being meek. Understated. Hidden. Step into the sunlight and walk your own walk. No need to wait for permission.
Own it. Walk with purpose. Stride with strength.
Yeah, that’s right, shake that ass baby.
It. Is. Time.