This season we celebrate the Celtic festival of Samhain, called a “cross quarter” day, landing halfway between the Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice.

I like to name and notice the seasons and their transition markers.  It helps me to sink into to feeling, the flavor, and take meaning from the moments as they flow by. We recently celebrated this marker as Hallowe’en, full of tricks and treats for some.  It is also widely honored as All Saints Day, an opportunity to remember the dead, and supposedly a time where the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is thinnest.

Apropos thin veils, the living and dead, there was a provocative article recently in the Huffington Post:  “Are You Living Your Eulogy or Your Resume?”  Good question, that!  The article is an invitation to explore our priorities, and how we spend our minutes, hours and days.  At some point we will no longer be living our lives… we’ll be gone.  That’s the one sure thing.  So now, while we’re still here, still alive, we still have the opportunity to reflect on the question.

Another way to frame it:  am I living my “to do list”, scrambling around hectically and electronically, forgetting to breathe, fitting in one more e-mail, or even signing one more petition for a good cause, before we (actually I, because I’m talking about myself here!), dash off to an activity, or move on to another item on the list.  Or am I truly living my life — being here, attending to what nourishes me, ‘taking in the good’ (as Rick Hanson recommends), tuning in to the larger context, the deeper holding, what’s beyond the body, the personal…

Not that lists don’t have their place, and not that action isn’t important. Yet, as the article states, “It’s easy to use work to let ourselves forget the things and the people that truly sustain us. It’s easy to let technology wrap us in a perpetually harried, stressed-out existence. It’s easy, in effect, to miss our lives even while we’re living them. Until we’re no longer living them.”

Recently I have made some progress in this area, I’m happy to say 🙂  I have certainly had resolutions and made vows in the past. but this time it’s sticking better, sinking in more deeply: slowing down, being more conscious moment to moment, really letting beauty, safety, love, kindness sink in and affect me at a cellular level.

An example: pausing and taking a conscious breath before hitting the Send button.  Sounds simple enough.  You wouldn’t think that would be a challenge.  Well, it has been for me!  It feels so good to do it.  A minor victory, a win for Presence!

I am regularly taking 20 to 30 seconds to really feel into some of the magical moments in a day: the color of the fall leaves, the sound of the burbling fountain near my  desk, a stranger’s smile, the good feeling after a big workout, a hug from lover or friend or grandchild.  Not just rush, or even move, on to the next moment, but savor this one, let it resonate, change the chemistry in my body.  Wow!

It feels like all kinds of veils thin when I do this, and I become more alive.

Finally, and before I turn it over to you, here’s a section from a rich interview with the historian, Tony Judt.  Judt takes it to a different level… not just the personal, even though that’s where is all starts.  But he’s looking at the implications our choices have on a societal scale.  What we focus on, how we live, has ripple-out implications.  What will be our Legacy?

I find Judt’s thoughts relevant no matter what your beliefs in G(g)od or an A(a)fterlife may be.  Check out the sentence I’ve bolded.  Poignant take, I think.

I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe in a single or multiple godhead. I respect people who do, but I don’t believe it myself. But there’s a big “but” which enters in here: I am much more conscious than I ever was, for obvious reasons, of what it will mean to people left behind once I’m dead. It won’t mean anything for me, but it will mean a lot to them, and it’s important for them, by which I mean my children or my wife or my close friends, that some spirit of me is, in a positive way, present in their lives, in their heads, in their imaginings and so on. So in one curious way I’ve come to believe in the afterlife as a place where I still have moral responsibilities, just as I do in this life except that I can only exercise them before I get there. Once I get there, it’ll be too late. So no god, no organized religion, but a developing sense that there’s something bigger than the world we live in, including after we die, and that we have responsibilities in that world.”

May these thoughts help you find your own ways to live your Eulogy, not your Resume 🙂  May your days be blessed, rich, full, aware.  May we see clearly, look far. Let us help each other find ways to live now as we would like to have done when we’re no longer here!

 Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)



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