Live Like There is Only Today

It has been more than 3 months since I wrote on this blog. I have been slammed by things and had to work my way through a bunch of events.

My friend Deforest had several chronic illnesses and he chose daily to stay in the moment and to not let any of his illnesses rob him of his life as he was choosing to live it. He was amazingly supportive of other people, magnificently creative, and an absolute inspiration. In July he went to the hospital with appendicitis. He was recovering and due to be released from the hospital. He passed away. Since his death I have been examining my way of being in the world and how I relate to other people. The legacy that we leave are the kindnesses we extend to others. Be quietly inspiring. Live like there is only today.

My mother died on November 5, 2012. She had been very ill with cancer that started in her lungs and progressed to her bones and lymph nodes. My aunt and I sat with her during her last days. She was weak and had difficulty breathing. She was in a tremendous amount of pain. If there are people you love, tell them. Tell them everyday. Do kind things for them. Make sure they know that you love them. Accept them for who they are and recognise the way they express their love for you. None of us lives forever and it is too easy to think that there will be time enough. Live like there is only today.

Another person I know thought he had a chest infection. It was not responding to antibiotics and a scan revealed he had an enlarged spleen. He has since been diagnosed with a rare and far more serious illness. Don’t take anything for granted, reality is what it is and has little to do with what we might imagine. I may think I will live to be 90 years old, but reality may be different. I might have a heart attack tomorrow.  Live like there is only today.

I moved from Colorado to Michigan. Moving gives you a different perspective on material goods and what you really need. It is effort to move the stuff we take for granted and it is definitely a first world problem if you have too much stuff. It is too easy to get caught in the stuff that we accumulate and to not live. I am purging and getting rid of things. My mother got rid of most of her possessions before she became seriously ill. Books to be read, projects to be done are psychic and physical burdens. Live like there is only today.

I started a new job in August working as a Kindergarten teacher in a former Detroit Public School that had been taken over by the Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan. Yesterday was my last day. After everything, I realised walking with my class in the halls that while I care very deeply for the children for me all of these events have taken a toll and changed my perspective on things. There are some exceptional people such as Latoya Webb-Harris, Mollie Carney, and Ryan Molnar working in the school and I applaud their efforts. They are heroes. Anyone who says that teachers don’t work hard enough has not worked in a public school. For me I realised that I needed to pause and care for myself. I needed to find my joy and health again. Rather than putting off until tomorrow what I could do today to be kind to myself, I resigned. It has felt the last two days like I am falling off a cliff and Thursday afternoon I physically shook off and on all afternoon. I am trying to live like there is only today.

This business of really living is frightening when you think about it. Each of us is dying, each of us makes choices that we may regret, each of us may miss love. We can move like sleepers through existence or live like there is only today.