Making The Most Of Life

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photo by mandj98

What would you be doing today if you believed you were never going to die?

I know I would be doing exactly as I am doing today… finalising Frank’s tax records to send to our accountant, interspersed with writing this post, and I just went for a short walk, leaving Frank slaving at the kitchen table going through receipts. Because I do believe I’m never going to die, and this happens to be what I get the urge to do today.

When I first started seeing my lifespan this way, in 1986, at the age of 33, I realised that lots of the things I had been doing were motivated by thinking time was running out. In my twenties, when I was working full-time, I’d get up early on weekends to pack lots in—”we get back what we put in!” I thought. (I still think that, but would apply the idea differently, now.)

I thought I had to do lots to have an interesting life, and therefore feel satisfaction. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

Also, I remember thinking I wanted to create a lot of memories I could reflect upon when I was old—I thought that when I became frail and elderly, I would want to have lots of good memories to keep me company.

Intuition

Nowadays, I know about being in present time and following intuition, and I firmly believe these are what lead to satisfaction in life.

Many of us are finding ways to be right in the present moment, for example by meditating, getting into our creative flow, and being in moments of joy with loved ones.

Once our attention is in the present moment, we can tune in to our intuitive prompts and follow them, if we want. To get better at this skill, we can practise choosing intuitively which way to drive home, and work up to the big things, which can include making interesting plans and building something up (a business, a castle, a blog).

We can’t ever access intuition though, if our attention is not in the present, and it is not in the present if we are making decisions with regard to some imagined future restriction. There’s a big difference between building a business because it is exciting and creative for us, and because we feel we need to store nuts away for our inevitable decline.

Making the most of time

Doing things because of the age we are and will be, being busy because we might miss out on things, acting from consideration of future restrictions, and trying to create great memories, are not being in present time.

Therefore, doing them makes it impossible to follow intuition, and gain the satisfaction that comes from doing so, no matter how much they are dressed up to be “making the most of life”.

Also, using our imagined possible imminent demise for trying to enhance life is being WAY out of present time. It is manipulating how we feel and deciding what to do from the ego, not the intuition.

Anyway, why try to make the most of our time when time is not running out? There is only the present moment, and it is eternal—you can only slip into it when you forget about time.

Lazy boots!

What if our intuition is saying to stay in bed all day? If we are thinking “life is short” and that we need to make the best use of what time we have, we will force ourselves to get up and at it!

Maybe if we had stayed in bed all day, in this example, we might have had a fantastic idea, or got inspiration for solving a problem, or simply got some physical rest we needed.

(I’d suggest here that if we have responsibilities to dependents, intuition won’t lead us to desert them. It might lead us to change how we operate, if that’s what we need to do.)

But if we are in “making the best use of our limited time” mode, we won’t ever know what might have been. If we constantly do (or don’t do) things because we are concerned about time running out, we never find out how we can stop wasting it. Intuitive promptings simply don’t know about future limitations, which are invented by our busy minds.

An alternative

If we believe we are never going to die, or grow old, we are free to explore what satisfies us, without that edgy feeling of time running out. It brings us totally into the present moment in a magical way. We never feel we are missing out on anything, so can explore exactly where we are right now.

* * *

What do you think about this? How did you feel about the question at the start?

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Comments

  1. It made me remember something I heard from a monk something like “we are not in a hurry; we are doing just the same we will be doing in heaven.

    If I had all the time in the world, well I’d still need to build some finances first… it’s funny but that now that I think about it, even being immortal would not guarantee complete freedom, just one fear less.

    Miguel de Luiss last blog post..Thursday Haiku: When Friends need prayers

  2. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to live as if you’re running out of time. I think many people start feeling this way around their mid-life crisis (which most people go through, whether they realize it or not).

    To answer your question, I wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂

  3. OMG, it sounds familiar. Often I am in a rush because I think that it might be not enough time to do what I want to do in life, because of so many plans. And it gets me nervous and feel frustrated time to time.

    From another side of that I think it is good to have a sense of urgency to get things done, otherwise nothing will gets done.

    It is balance between sense of urgency and eternal way of looking at things can bring satisfaction and fulfillment.

    I think it is good to be in a rush, but at the same time not be missing life itself

    Great idea in this post to think about

  4. I think it’s not good to be in a rush. Always being in a rush and multitasking contributed to the unbearable stress in my life that led to illness. Now, I don’t have enough energy to always be in a rush. Unfortunately, most of my time is taken up with earning money, and the rest of the time, I do what I want to be doing. If I were going to live forever, I’d probably be doing the same thingis.

  5. Every day I get up and do exactly what I would like to do, recently. Until three years ago my intuition told me to take care of my family and how to do that best….it brought me great joy and I burst many bubbles of fear.

    I go for a walk every morning ( sometimes I swim) and ideas of how to spend my day pop up and actualize and fall away….

    I do not believe I will live forever in this body…and I think my intuition is suggesting I will loose this body form sooner rather than later – I bargain for what I would like to experience….I can’t ask my children to get married/ or produce a grandchild/ or interfere in any of those intuitions that they might be living out….
    so I am asking myself to be the healthiest I can be, to be kind, and to erase the medical debts in a responsible fashion.
    I choose to be positive and responsible – a good citizen
    This is what I ask myself to do today…I am looking forward to reading my book next.

    Patricias last blog post..Discoveries in the World of Cleft Palates

  6. Hi Robin: I agree that if we took the viewpoint that we have a longer timespan in which to get things done we could be more relaxed and stop frantically trying to do things before our time runs out. I watched a Star Trek episode once where there was a race that lived forever and everyone was bored to tears. They just lacked all motivation to do anything because life just went on and on and on . . . Just thought I’d share that 🙂

    Marelisas last blog post..Happiness Tips From the Dalai Lama

  7. @Miguel – what a great saying! I see it the way you describe – we would naturally want to build for the future, in heaven, from the joy of it. And life goes on (but more successfully).
    @Vered – nah – to me it just doesn’t work. I really think people are sick, fearful and empty because of it. I think many people use their mid-life crisis as a springboard for discovering how to make life more meaningful, too.
    @Peter – hi again Pater – I really think life itself pushes us where we need to go, once we consciously live intuitively, with our attention in the present moment. Many people live intuitively and are very busy. If it is coming from intuitive guidance, it is very satisfying for them, but we need to have our attention in the present to access the intuition, which we can’t do if we have artificially created urgency.
    @Dot – I think many of us got into the rush when we were younger. Glad to hear you do what you want when you have the opportunity!
    @Patricia – It’s great to go for a walk every morning and get ideas for the day, isn’t it! Just a thought about your intuition’s take on your physical form – in this post, by “intuition” I was referring to intuitive guidance, that is, knowing what to do in the present moment. This, by it’s nature, doesn’t ever know anything about the future – just what to do, or not do, right now (if we sit down and intuitively write a business plan we are doing the plan in the present moment). Just thought I’d clear that up.
    @Marelisa – The Star Trek mob certainly had fun with a whole lot of things yogis have been doing for years. Motivation by fear never works. Maybe people think like these characters because they fear their real selves, which they would find if they dropped into the present moment (which you can’t do if you are motivated by the urgency of thinking your time is running out).

  8. Robin,

    As a child I used to say my nightly prayer, “now I lay me down to sleep…” One night after completing the prayer I had the thought “never say that again.” I knew that I was to never say that prayer and utter the words “if I should die before I wake…” I began to see that death was just an idea passed on from one to another as the “way life is.” Now this “idea” is beginning to be questioned and even done away with by some.

    Physical immortality is available to all who can see.

    I appreciate your blog!

    Rebekah

  9. Hi Rebekah – thanks so much for this comment.

    That’s extraordinary insight you had! I remember saying that line, too – I had forgotten it. I remember the deadening feeling that came with it – I shudder to think what this was doing to us.

  10. Oh gosh….you sure made me think with your question!!

    I guess I will be in less of a hurry. I will take the time to do things more slowly. I will create fewer difficult-to-achieve goals by timeline. I will be less stressed out!! I’d still want to continue blogging though….I’d probably need more hosting space for my site!! There is so much that I hope to share but am not having enough time to put down all my thoughts.

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..My Personal Creed

  11. Hi Robin
    I guess that old saying of “live like there’s no tomorrow,” probably needs to read more like …. “live like tomorrow is always going to come!” That could possibly encourage people to live more of a Zen life.

    So far ageing has been kind to me and I figure that’s in part because I’ve been kind to me. .. far from a puritanical life, but a good one 🙂

    Thanks for the nourishing food for thought.
    best wishes Ribbon

    Ribbons last blog post..In the pursuit of desire…..

  12. Hi Robin,

    The whole idea of what is beyond 80 years, 100 years, 120 years, etc – is a difficult one for me to grasp. Is there life everlasting? Is it in the same form we are in today? Is there death and then new life? And if there is, where is that new life? Do we ever forget these moments we’re in? As you can tell, I have mostly questions and few answers. And I’m okay with that. The great mystery of life, to me – is really what truly is “life”.

    And it all fits well with your point – of living in the moment. Whatever that moment happens to be. Maybe the moment speaks to a day of R&R. Maybe it speaks to trying something new. Whatever it is, if we are really and truly listening to what’s within – then what we’re doing is the right thing.

    Are you and I off on how we view life? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. And I’m not sure this matters, either. I love coming here to learn more about what possibilities exist for life. I am continually uplifted by your thoughts Robin. Even if I may not be completely aware of them in my life. It’s an evolving process, one where I do see life everlasting…maybe in a different light than you do, or maybe very similar. Robin, thank you for this, for the reminder of the importance of our moments.

    Lances last blog post..Finding Balance In The Jungle

  13. Love Miquel’s monk quote! I’d have less fear about death but I’d still fear my body getting old and crippled.

    I also agree motivation by fear never works! Because of the anxiety, frustration, fear and urgency…do not good for dreams, love and life.

    No matter what happens or how long we live I think living in the present moment and listening to our intuition is exactly what we need to be doing.

    When I was young with 4 little girls I was always in a hurry, it was so much work being a mom and never enough time to do it all in. I lived on 4 hours of sleep so I could fit work and fun in as well. I have no regrets.

    However now I fill my days with silence, blogging coaching, running, hiking, golfing and traveling. Oops and listening to my intuition and staying in the moment.

    No matter how long I live my plan is enjoy each day with out hurry, worry or urgency. Most days I succeed at this. Great way to make us think!

    Tess The Bold Lifes last blog post..12 Tips To Be Bold & Set Your Heart On Fire

  14. This is a really thoughtful post – thank you! Spending our time working and thinking in (about) the future devalues the present. If I ever need a reminder about being present, I just watch my cat. She has it all figured out.

    Laurie | Express Yourself to Successs last blog post..Good Reads

  15. Robin,

    I like the twist you put on the usual ‘life is short’ approach to life. And you do challenge me to think about when life ends, or whether it ever ends. I think we do change form, and will not live in this physical body forever. So ‘death’ is merely transitioning to another form.

    What would I do differently? I guess I would go to bed now instead of staying up late on my computer! 🙂

    Daphnes last blog post..17 Inspiring Examples of Personal Creeds

  16. Hi Robin – Well not so long ago, I would have been one of those people rushing round like a crazy person too. I used to set myself ridiculous financial goals – then one day, I realized it was mad. I had no other goals – and earning X amount of money in a certain amount of time wouldn’t do me a lot of good, as I had no idea what I’d need that money for – it was just a number.

    Now I guess I would be trying to combine things I enjoy doing with things that are necessary (like tax returns etc). Today, it’s Saturday. I woke up quite early but I had a feeling that I shouldn’t get up yet. I felt tired, so I went back to sleep until almost 12am.

    Now I think – whether I thought I was going to live forever, or die tomorrow – I would hate to think I was spending my time working a ridiculous number of hours.

    I think the trouble with the fear of death thing is that many people panic about what time they have left and slave away as much as possible, to save for retirement.

    I have never wanted to retire and I hope it’s not something I would need to do because of health reasons. I think the thought of retirement encourages people to do work they don’t enjoy

  17. I probably would be doing the same thing I’m doing now. Not at this exact moment probably and I feel like you, that I won’t meet death. I haven’t planned my life on the notion that I will die.

    I hate rushing around, which is another reason why I rise early, so that I can take my time. I wish the world were more relaxed. There are only a few things that need to be governed by the clock. My regular life isn’t one of them.

    NaTuRaLs last blog post..Pet Peeve Friday

  18. When I was lying in bed this morning I caught myself thinking I want to lose weight by the time I am 60.

    Oh dear… sigh

    (note to self – listen to your own suggestions!)

  19. Wow you could have stopped this post with that opening question! That really has me considering what I do believe about having all the time in the world. I can’t say that I would be doing the same thing. Thanks for the challenge off to ponder it on my walk.

    Lance – Wait till you near 60 and then tell me what you think about living beyond 80!

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..How To Play a Bigger Business Game

  20. @Evelyn – ha ha – you might need a HUGE host! Very interesting to hear your reaction!
    @Ribbon – best wishes to you too, Ribbon – I think that saying needs a re-work, too.
    @Lance – I don’t think we are best off thinking about or future years too much – as you describe. And I don’t think it matters if we agree either! Thanks for your comment, Lance – I always love your visits.
    @Tess – yes – I think it’s all about being in present time with things – rather than “knowing” what is going to happen. Your days sound good to me!
    @Laurie – ha ha – cats certainly know all about being in the moment – it’s amazing how they attract attention for just “being”.
    @Daphne – thanks Daphne – you get enough rest now!
    @Cath – that’s interesting – we don’t ever see ourselves as retiring, either.
    @Natural – yeah – the clock is best off just being used for meet-ups and events and things like that, I think.
    @Me – oh well – at least you are observing yourself
    @Tom – interesting to hear your response, Tom! I thought of leaving it at just the question.

  21. Now this is something to think about!

    Mama Zens last blog post..Honor And Remember

  22. This is a perfect post for me to read this week as the weather is starting to get warmer. I love warm weather, but with it comes a frantic sense that I need to be outside as much as possible. Thank you for giving me permission to chill out and just be during this wonderful spring season.

    Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Shining Light On My Personal Creed

  23. @Mama Zen – hi there and welcome! I’m glad you think it is worth thinking about! Thanks.
    @Stacey – huh – your spring means our autumn – it seems we have gone straight from heatwaves to cold weather, here. Enjoy your spring!

  24. Hi Robin,

    Thank you for posting this, I really needed to “hear” it. I’m going through some major life transitions right now, and it’s all because I needed more balance in my life. I’ve been under too much stress for too long, and I just need to step back and…breathe. My intuition has been telling me for a while that I needed a change. Reading this post has helped to confirm that I am doing the right thing by listening to it.

    Jay Schryers last blog post..So I Quit My Job Today

  25. My answer is the exact same as yours. The exact same way I am living my life right now. It took me a year of letting a lot go … and I mean a lot … but now I can honestly say I live for the day. And quite often for the moment. The Lion has been a big influence on me this way. Actually, with something that seems quite silly. He made me get rid of my watch! It is amazing and scary how we get caught up in the seconds ticking away. Once I got rid of my watch I actually starting living my life much more fully and ended up being way more productive!

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Just do a good job already!

  26. @Jay – hi there Jay – thanks for your thoughts – that’s great you are making those changes!
    @Urban Panther – You are reminding me of the NOW watch – a wristwatch with the word NOW written large across it. Partners are great for giving a sense of perspective, aren’t they!

  27. If I were going to love forever I’d be sitting at this ‘puter with this wine, writing this comment.

    I’b be thinking about maybe getting Botox someday, and and “eye-job” when I’m 55. And a boob lift. And calf liposuction. And a nosejob. And a tummy tuck. And that new book called “How Not To Be So Vain.”

    xo

    (And by calf lipo I am indeed referring to my lower extremities, not a baby cow.) 🙂

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..After May 10th

  28. I love that question and you have got some great responses that might have come anyway if you stopped at that ?

    Would I be doing the same? Like you probably yes I will ponder that on a walk later today.
    Interesting i don’t think about dying, have had a near death experience as a teen, and experienced the death of both parents, being with them at the time, i think what is most important for me is to remember to play full out and live in the present, thanks for the reminder.

    Namaste
    Suzie
    PS with your alltop image- make the link go to http://life.alltop.com might help

    Suzie Cheels last blog post..Law of Attraction Inspiration #5: Responsibility

  29. @Jannie the Funstmistress – goodness me – you must need a lot of fixing up! I was actually a bit worried about the baby cows. Was “love forever” a typo? Interesting.
    @Suzie – I thought of stopping at that but decided to write a bit more. Yes – I think we need to live in the present – nice to see you, Suzie!

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