January 1, 2010
Your Last Breath
Redefining Your Priorities
Procrastination is an almost universal human habit and one that infiltrates nearly every aspect of our lives. Modern existence is so complex, and much of what we long to do is left to wait by the side. We know what is important but tend to let the weight of worldly pressures lead us astray. To get back on track, however, we need only take a moment to consider where our thoughts will be as we take our last breath on this earth. More likely than not, at that instant, disagreements, bills, petty annoyances, and other frustrating elements of our lives will no longer seem as significant as they once did. Thoughts of loved ones and the positive impact we had on the world would no doubt occupy our remaining thoughts. Whatever we imagine ourselves musing upon during our last breath will almost always be representative of what truly matters to us.
This simple exercise introduces us to a new way of thinking. While our attention is drawn momentarily to the end of life, our contemplations serve to point out that we are masters of our own perspective and, consequently, our own existence. There is nothing preventing us from shifting our focus right now as we imagine we will in our final moments. We can choose to spend more of our time and energy on what gives our lives meaning. We can spend more time with loved ones and do more of what we enjoy. Doing so may not always prove easy, and there will inevitably be times when circumstances interfere with our resolution, yet we do not have to regard this as an indication that our priorities are not in alignment with who we really are.
Sometimes the only way we can see the beauty of life is to remind ourselves that it is finite. Gandhi said, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow." His words are a potent reminder that living life more fully is not about pushing ourselves harder or shouldering more burdens, but about experiencing all the wonderful richness life has to offer.