Choices and Moments

Love is action. Self-love is not how you feel about yourself. It’s what you do for yourself. You can only love yourself by doing, not thinking. Execute feats of love, feats of respect, for your own benefit.

Respect other people. Respect their skills and their virtues. Their flaws too. Respect their thoughts. Let them finish what they are saying, don’t interrupt, don’t be dismissive. Try to understand what they’re getting at. Let them be who they are. I am convinced that people are exactly as judgmental about themselves as they are about others. Find the value in others, or you will never see it in yourself. Forget the ways in which you would like other people to be different. Forgive them, and forgive yourself. Forgive yourself every time you wake up, and every time you go to bed. Forgive yourself every time you screw up.

There is a choice in every moment, between acting out of love, or out of fear. At any instant, you can stop and look at the moment, and it is clear which action is which. You will make a habit out of choosing one or the other. You won’t be able to have respect if you do not make a habit of recognizing value. There is value in every person, object, place and moment, but you may miss it if you hold faults to be more important. Find the endless value in the world around you, and it will be easy to find the endless value in yourself. Eventually you will no longer see a difference between the two.

Nothing is permanent. That’s not really news, but it may mean more than you think, on a day-to-day level. In each moment, everything around you is constantly changing, and it never changes back. It’s always new. Some changes are subtle, some dramatic, but all of it is changing. Life is uncertain by its very nature. Except for this: No matter what is happening right now, it will never happen again. Not quite like this anyway.

Think about where you are, and who you are, today. Whatever your situation is as a whole, it belongs entirely to today. You will never have exactly these same problems again. Some will disappear, some will get worse, and some were never problems at all. You’ll never have exactly these same advantages again. You could lose any of your capabilities at any time: your possessions, your sight, your mobility, your freedom, your mind…. all of it.

You can be certain you will lose all of them, you just don’t know when, and which will disappear first. It’s easy to spot similarities and patterns in your life. But true repetition can only be imagined. Tedium and boredom are both patterns of thought, not circumstance. Your situation is an extremely delicate and unstable structure, it just can’t stay the way it is. Too many moving parts. Things give out, break, and float away. And in their wake is something— or someone— new and unforeseeable. Your to-do list and your inbox will never again contain today’s unique assortment of hopes and worries. By next month you will have moved on from most of it. By next year you’ll be someone else anyway.

Your kids will never be exactly this age again. This group of friends you hang around with, they’ll never be the same group of friends as they are today. Next time they’ll be slightly different people, in slightly different places in their lives, and in yours. Maybe you’ve already seen one of them for the last time. The way you feel right now will never be felt again, at least not quite. Your mood right now, and all its nuances and complexities, is as unique as a fingerprint. When you go to bed tonight, whatever palette of worries or dreams your mind is featuring… that particular show is one night only. No repeat performances… no do-overs.

The way the light is playing off the table, as you drink your morning coffee, will never appear again. To anyone.

Think about everyone in the world around you: your family, the faces in the media, the passers-by on the street, the seven-figure big shots downtown, factory workers, convicts, Members of Parliament, poets, ex-girlfriends, child prodigies, football jocks, internet marketing gurus, bishops, gamblers, authors, publicists, actors, class clowns and cable guys.

Every one of them, in a good hundred years, will be dead. Their stories will be over, and the whole planet will be inherited by all new people. This is a certainty, if there is such a thing. This is it. There are no rehearsals, and no reruns. Happy, sad, problems or no problems, ready or not… the camera’s rolling, and it’s on you.

However you felt yesterday, recognize today that we are now officially on the air. We are live.

We will never be this young again.

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~ by upbeatmag on February 12, 2011.

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