“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation…I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
– Henry David Thoreau
How would you live if time were precious?
These exercises are inspired by a book that sat at my Dad’s bedside as he was dying of bone marrow cancer: A Year to Live by Stephen Levine. He “teaches us how to live each moment, each hour, each day mindfully–as if it were all that was left. On his deathbed, Socrates exhorted his followers to practice dying as the highest form of wisdom. Levine decided to live this way himself for a whole year, and now he shares with us how such immediacy radically changes our view of the world and forces us to examine our priorities.”
Pretend- right now- you only have an hour to live. Go! What are you waiting for? Go! Take notes later! Okay, now, what did you do? Who did you call? What was precious? What no longer matter? What did you regret?
If you only had a week to live, how would you live it? Plan the week in as much detail as possible. Now put this week on your calendar in the coming year- for real. What obstacles come up? How insurmountable are they, really?
Your final year.
What if this were your last year on earth? Some people have made a practice out of this. How would you live this year differently? Details, please! Is there anything you’d be willing to implement? If not, what’s getting you stuck?