The Time You Spend. Part 2
Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to meet people who have had a lasting impact on the way in which I view the world. People who, in their presence, have given me a complete paradigm shift and free’d me from the inside. After which, the world got bigger, or smaller, and never ever looked the same.
I’d like to share my experience of my encounters with a few of these people below. Please understand before you read, that these are stories and encounters that are filtered from my own experience- and my intention in sharing these very personal moments with you, is to hopefully share my new perspective with you, too. I hope this post will help you.
My new perspective being, there is a very unique paradox around time and the fragility of life, which, played well, gives us the sweet nectar of every moment, and still fuels a passionate, and long future. In other words, at the same time as we live in minutes, we must carry the knowledge in our being that we are here to live a long, and happy life.
The bliss is in experiencing the space in between these two paradoxical experiences. And owning it.
On the one hand, there is a great Fear of missing out, on the other, fear of running out…
There is no room for fear in this life.
So, how do we proceed?
The people I am about to tell stories about have single-handedly flipped my mindset from one extreme to the other, through their presence, long or short - in my life, and slowly but surely, have shaped my understanding of this paradox. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for them, and a massive urge to share my lessons with you. In the hope that you too can find this fragile balance of yourself, and enjoy such a sweet spot. So here goes.
For 6 years I was in a relationship with an incredible man who had terminal Cancer. They were the most shaping years of my life. Every single day, we were grateful for life. Even though his situation wasn’t always threatening, it was there. And because it was, every single day was lived to it’s max.
Through my time spent with this person, I truly learnt how to live. I learnt how important it is to take great care of your body and mind. To laugh every day. To speak up for yourself. To push your body beyond it’s limits, and not take no for an answer. I learned how to dig deep, and push through pain like never before. And to appreciate the beauty of the world around me. I also learned that the world is huge, and a giant playground once you look past the fences and do not enter signs… Rules were shattered. My adventurous spirit was given a kick up the backside.
This time shaped my ability to recognise my limits and understand that they are fake. They don't exist at all. I smashed records during this time. Its a period of time I began to fall curious to a humans ability to create the word around them through questioning your mindset, and being willing to see things a different way.
To this day, I can appreciate a subtle power that I feel within me to reject the status quo. And recognise opportunities to stretch.
We lived in a limbo state. A blissful, momentary ignorance of what may be to come, in order to soak out the most of what was present, and feel ok, Yet an uncomfortable, elephant-in-the-room-like state lingered - spent waiting for the next treatment… or something else.
There are certain plans that can’t be made in such a state. And I can honestly admit to myself now, that I never did fully live in the present in that time - for the fear of not having a future with this person was too great. I desperately craved the security of knowing that no matter what happened - we would be OK. And the world never gave me that guarantee.
It would often paralyse me into deep denial. I felt disconnected from being able to dream up a future, and only just able to make decisions that weren't too committed in the now. It didn't satiate.
I was yet to learn a way to be OK with not knowing.
Then, a few years ago, my friend Jeremy passed away very suddenly, in a snowboarding accident.
And I received a gift in that moment that helped me understand the power of time on a much, much deeper level.
It was at this time of my life that I truly realised we live in minutes. The next moment, although we can envision it, is not guaranteed. Ever. For Anyone. Even healthy, legendary friends who I thought would never die, ever.
Something I would never pray a single person should ever have to endure, is the sudden loss of an incredible human in their life far too early - However, in the years since, the lives of his closest friends have been completely transformed. In the most powerful, and positive fashion.
They changed their careers. They left relationships that weren’t a “hell yes”. They Started travelling. They loved ever so deeply, and forgave and moved on from the things which were no longer making them sing. They lived on, in his honour.
I enthusiastically embraced my paradigm of how life worked. Clutching the knowledge that we live in minutes, and minutes only, life blasted forward. I took off on a jet plane and have not since returned to the life I left behind. I dove deep into living today.
I finally understood the weight of waiting.
I respected it.
I became the type of girl who made things happen, and took it to the extreme if that’s what I needed to do. I showed up from across the world. I spent late nights and early mornings if it was required. When everyone else, sat down, I turned up the engines. I felt the importance of not taking a moment for granted. It was extreme.
I had never felt so free, and so energised, and so clear. I was truly living in the moment. My senses were heightened and it was euphoria. I was grateful to be experiencing this kind of freedom.
But euphoria is not built to last. And no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn’t.
Like a junkie, I kept needing to fuel the fire… another adventure here, another story there.
And I couldn't work out why those extreme euphoric feelings wouldn’t hold.
There was a very significant piece of this puzzle missing. This piece that could make living fully in the moment sustainable, and still allow me to be ambitious and adventurous - without burning out or neglecting the long-term dreams and the short-term gains.
I realised in this way I was still living from a place of great fear.
Fear that I was going to miss out.
Fear that I was going to die full of unfulfilled promises and dreams.
Fear that if I didn’t use what I had right now, I might die and it would sit there unused, and that would be a terrible waste of my potential.
I became confused. Because my fears were totally legit. That type of thing really happens to people, and they regret it!
But I was disappointed by life’s new extreme - It wasn’t holding. I thought I needed to keep travelling to get the high.
I was yet to learn that being in the moment is about fully loving and accepting it, exactly as it is. No matter where you are, or what you're doing.
And then I met Jess.
Jess Ainscough, The Wellness Warrior. The embodiment of the Balance of this unusual time paradox. What a legend she was!
I have no right to speak of Jess as a near and dear friend here, because I only ever me her in person twice, before she peacefully passed away earlier this year, however, I will never pretend not to have felt her impacting, beautifully unstoppable presence in both of those situations. The same presence I know everyone felt.
Jess, also a cancer thriver, had a deeply grateful, and joyous zest for life. She was a self-love, kindness, health and bravery advocate who spoke often about living in the moment. She carried herself with a carefree nature remarkably similar to the nature of my dear friend who is still thriving with his own cancer to this day. A nature I’m certain only possible for those who have been faced so confrontingly with death, and who are so potently reminded of their vulnerability on a daily basis.
But Jess was also fearless about her future. Despite her situation, despite the odds, despite anything - Jess made plans for the future as if she had never been hurt or sick a day in her life.
And beyond this - she did what she said she was going to do. She created so much magic. Did she have fears? I’m certain of it. But she slid through them with a grin and a cheeky laugh.
Over years of reading her blog, I recall the anxious curiosity I used to feel, desperate to know her secret for thriving under her circumstances. And weather she was aware of what she was teaching me, in my little corner of the world or not, it was an honour to learn from Jess, the layer of understanding that gives my experience of our time on Earth such a rich and balanced front now.
Your time yours to use and yours alone. Use it intentionally. And let your choice of how you use it be unshakeable.
Nurture the moment, and guard it like your life depends on it, because it does, but invest in the future like your time will never run out.
With every moment, thought, action, word… with our every single everything, we are making a statement about the value of our own time, and that which is remaining.
How you spend your time is your legacy.
Today I invite you to consider how much of your time is spent worrying. How much of your energy is spent playing scenarios in your head of things you hope don’t happen.
I invite you consider how much of your time is spent in situations you feel obligated to be in, and to recognise where there is opportunity and space for you to learn to say no more often, and yes to something a little sweeter.
I invite you to consider if where you spend your time away from your obligations is a place that nurtures the type of person you hope to become,
I invite you to plant a small seed and take a step towards that elusive dream you hold for a future vision of your life.
And I invite you to take a breath, and take in this very moment. This very moment is where everything starts and anything ends.
Have a great time here.
P.S - If this post touched a chord for you, please share it. Lets wake up a few more faces today.