by Anastasia Strgar
If today were the last day that you ever had on this earth, who would you want to be with? What would you tell them? And would anything that may happen really matter?
As human beings with advanced technologies and complex brains that are both blessings and curses, it’s easy for us to take this life for granted. It starts with little things… We take our daily cleansing rituals for granted, we take the food we get to eat for granted… And culminates into big things- where we take the people in our lives most for granted. This inability to witness the goodness right in front of us leads us to even worse things- fear of the future and guilt from the past.
Always stuck in a never-ending cycle of fear, blame, guilt and anxiety, we find it difficult to have the moment in front of us. Often times, these feelings become larger than feelings– transforming into stories that we cannot control and that are easy to believe the bigger and bigger they get. Even on days when it seems like nothing’s really wrong, the low chattering of the Ego makes it seem like something out there is out to get us.
The only way we can really counter this is by asking ourselves: “If this were the last day what would I want to be feeling? Who would I want to be with? What would I say to them?” Naturally, the response to this question is one of gratitude. Anyone who finds out they only have a few hours, days, months to live doesn’t spend them wondering what they should’ve, could’ve, would’ve done. They don’t spend them worrying about three years from now; they take each moment as it comes and fills them up with the people they loved the most.
The truth is that we never actually know when the last day is. It could be tomorrow. It could be a week from now. It could be years from now. The point is to live as if each moment is a blessing. Whether we’re feeling bad in the moment, we’ll find that by imagining that “today is the last day” we’ll spend less time trying to create perfection in ourselves and those we love and more time into accepting the beauty of life right now.
Sometimes, this is harder to do than others. When we’re feeling particularly bad about ourselves or when someone, either purposefully or accidentally, pushes our buttons, it’s easy to go into the place of story and to allow our Ego mind to control all the decisions and thoughts that we’re having in that moment. These are the times that we must really cultivate gratitude and grateful thoughts- for the Ego can’t hold up against the pure goodness of gratitude and love.
So if today’s one of those days, even if you have to ask yourself this question 100 times, even a moment of gratitude will stop you from the downward slide caused by thoughts of fear, anxiety, shame or any other negative story. After all, it’s okay to feel sad or afraid, but when we turn it into a story, that’s when it gets dangerous.
Today, take a step back and look around at your life as an outsider would. And if all else fails: “If today were the last day, what would you want right now?”
Anastasia Strgar, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon with a B.A in journalism, has been writing about love and relationships for several years. She has written short stories and romance novels, penned the love and sex column in the school newspaper and wrote several blogs. As the eldest of founder Wendy Strgar’s four children, she has been inspired by watching her parents’ marriage and strives to put those lessons to use in her own relationship. She believes that teaching her peers early on about how to maintain healthy relationships is essential to creating a future generation of loving partnerships. She currently works as the Director of Public Relations and Magazine Editor at Good Clean Love.