POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Want to Experience Profound Gratitude? Remember One Thing.
When I was 25, I was in a car accident that should have ended my life. Literally one tiny second separated me from being smashed to smithereens head-on by a Mac truck on a snowy Oklahoma highway. But rather than going out splat-on-a-windshield style, I barely squirted in between two rapidly oncoming 16-wheelers and crashed into an exit sign on the opposite side of the road … with nothing but a cute little scratch on my forehead to show for it (and a remarkably sore body two days later). I remember vividly my friend, a woman in the driver’s seat next to me, screaming in high-pitched horror as I watched with a curious deer-in-headlights serenity this massive, shiny steel truck grill barreling towards my face.
One simple thought flashed through my mind: “What is this going to feel like?”
I’m now 37. I’ve spent many a moment since that accident upset about some otherwise trivial thing – a girlfriend’s criticism, my dad’s disapproval, a traffic ticket, someone eating my last cookie. But when my attention somehow finds its way back to that day when my own death was vividly imminent, I realize I’m living on bonus time.
Suddenly, it’s like I’ve been slapped upside my crown chakra!! My stressful story of whatever I think is happening at the moment just completely, utterly, fantastically implodes as a much larger awareness rushes through my being, filling me with gratitude that I’m even alive to experience this improbable moment!
My perspective shifts completely … everything becomes a gift.
My girlfriend and I are breaking up … Wow. I got to experience having a girlfriend!
My car needs an expensive repair … Amazing. I get to experience driving a car and somehow having the means to pay for the ongoing experience.
My business isn’t making money yet … Incredible. I get to walk the journey of creating something from nothing, perhaps even watch it rise and fall and never turn a profit no matter how hard I try. What an experience!
My mom is sick … I emerged from that body; what a miracle that I now get to participate in taking care of it!
I know this may sound trite and exaggerated. But look, it’s one thing to know intellectually that life is a gift, that there’s only this present moment, that we should be grateful for everything … yada yada blah blah blah.
It’s another to reeeeeeeeeally marinate in the embodied awareness that by all calculations, I should be dead at this very moment. Think of the billions of people who were once alive that are no longer here. What about the improbable reality that you and I were even born at all? Do you know how many other wildly ambitious sperm you competed against for one lone prize? Something like … zabillions!! Do you understand the odds against your success?
Art by B-o-D-u-y
Why, you’ve already won the most statistically impossible-to-win and insanely-stupid-to-spend-any-money-on Powerball Lottery in the entire known Universe!!!
One roundtrip of uncertain duration to Planet Earth … which you’re presently experiencing. Congratulations on your impossible success!!
The question is, what are you doing with this bonus time? Let me repeat that, because the question is not “what are you GOING to do?” … the question is:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING … WHO ARE YOU BEING … NOW?
I encourage you to really let this really sink in, because this bonus time will end, probably before you’re ready.
Just remember this one thing: you never know what comes first, tomorrow … or your death.
Steve Jobs famously asked himself everyday when he woke up, “Do I feel good about what I’m going to do today? Do I like who I am?” He lived with constant awareness that death was always lurking and would someday knock on his door, which eventually it did … and it took him before even WE were ready to let him go.
When we relax into the awareness that each moment, painful or delightful, is just part of this improbable existence, beauty and gratitude blossom in our lives in ways we had never experienced either before. We get to see everything, every triumph, tragedy and traffic ticket, as a gift. We even start to oddly appreciate the … ummm, let’s say “sharp” fragrances of the shitty parts.
That doesn’t mean we make them last longer than they need to, but we no longer resist their presence in our lives as we used to. We no longer suffer as deeply as we would before, because we now walk with more awareness that this painful experience is just evidence that we’re still alive, that it has a gift for us, even if it’s difficult to see … and like everything else, our lives included, it will pass.
Consider this: what’s one challenging aspect of your life today that might be completely transformed by just noticing it’s a miracle you’re even alive to experience it at all?
Enjoy the journey!!
(Featured image: Wonderful Life)
Conscious Stardust. Former US Air Force Captain. Previously well-paid worldwide PR/Media Spokesperson for multi-million dollar human-energy science company. One-time Oprah Show Guest. Long-time swiss-army-knife manager for conscious-pop band HERE II HERE. Currently Leadership Council Member with Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment (GATEcommunity.org) and manager for emerging solo artist Ash Ruiz who’s music is here to remind the world of its own magnificence.
My life unfolds daily in the context of dancing with Magic!