Source: Sammy/Michelle Maidenberg
It is sadly the second anniversary of my nephew’s death. On this day I also treated trauma survivors in my practice and did evaluations for chronically medically ill individuals who want to create video legacies for their children and loved ones through my foundation. I can’t help but being caught in an abyss of thinking about how time passes so incredibly quickly and how what we have today can be taken from us so abruptly and instantaneously.
Life can seem so unfair at times, especially when we can’t make sense of why certain things happen. We often reflect on these unpredictable and unexpected circumstances and say that it can’t and won’t happen to me. It allows our mind to protect us from what we worry about and living in perpetual unease and fear. What if fear, discomfort, and an array of feelings need to be leaned into in order to ensure that we’re being in the present moment, being our best self, and living our best life?
The battle within our mind to rid ourselves of these uncomfortable feelings and stay with them to propel us toward personal growth is constant. It is a tussle we have with ourselves every day and profoundly impacts our decision making and how we choose to live our lives.
There is often no way to predict or prepare for what life has to offer us so it’s in our best interest to contemplate how we want to be living life each and every day no matter what may happen. To help with this, you may ask yourself these questions.
Are you taking the time to..
- Share how you feel toward those you care about and love?
- Put yourself out there and challenging your fears and worries?
- Improve on qualities and characteristics that you are frustrated or disappointed with?
- Preform behavioral experiments to expose yourself and work through challenges?
- Accept yourself, others, and circumstances that you cannot control and/or change?
- Approach your world as a victim or survivor/warrior?
- Assess what you appreciate about yourself, others, and your circumstances?
- Question what you see as your life’s purpose?
- Identify when you compare yourself to others as opposed to focusing on your needs and goals?
- Practice self-compassion and self-soothing when you are experiencing negative or uncomfortable emotions?
- Embrace a full array of emotions, inclusive of both positive and negative emotions?
- Exercise healthy coping skills and recognize when you’re not?
- Enhance your resilience and rebound after you experience adversity, challenging, or unexpected experiences?
- Acknowledge your achievements, irrespective of how small or large they are?
- Stipulate what your core values are, as they are like guides for your life and decision making?
- Understand what your triggers are to ensure that you are acting from your feelings rather than from your thoughts and/or feelings?
- Ask yourself how willing you are to change and put in the time and effort to implement that change?
- Evaluate how you’re spending your time and who you’re spending it with and whether it’s in line with how you want your life to be?
- Assess whether you are living your best life and if you’re not, what needs to shift for you?
- Observe how rigid or flexible you are being in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and whether “shoulds”, “ought tos”, and “musts” are driving you?
- Just be – and notice and connect with yourself and others in a meaningful way?
- Think about that if you died tomorrow, what would you want to be remembered for and what do you want your life to be about?
A sentiment that kept coming up at my nephew’s memorial service was to “Live like Sammy.” He exemplified living in the moment and deeply touching those he came in contact with. I found myself so proud of all he was able to offer the world in the limited time of almost sixteen years that he was here with us.
I wrote an article two years ago, A Homage to My Nephew: How Death Brings Us Closer to Truly Living Life, discussing how to compassionately be in the present moment in the midst of suffering.
We hear that the way to live life is to live as if it is our last day. We never want or expect that it will be the case, but we also never know what life has in store for us. The time is now to make each and every day count.
Here is a guided mediation Present Moment Guided Meditation with Animals led by me.