Monday, December 8, 2014

Today is the Day!

He said, 
“There are only two days in the year 
that nothing can be done. 
One is called yesterday 
and the other is called tomorrow, 
so today is the right day 
to love, believe, do and mostly live.
~Dalai Lama

He saw me before I noticed him.  By then it was too late.  Shocking red and blue lights swirled in the dark of night as I steered my car to the side of the road.

The officer approached. “Good evening, ma’am.  Do you know the speed limit here in this part the canyon?” He quizzed.

“45?” I said.

“Yes.  And do you know how fast you were going?”  He asked.

“45?” I said.  

[Officer laughs.]  “Well, now I wouldn’t be standing here if you were going the speed limit, would I? Let me help you out. When I first saw you, you were doing 57… and then you sped up! [More laughter.]  Where are you off to in such a hurry?"  

I think I was more surprised than he; still, I had no real excuse.  I was tired.  It was late.  I had worked all day and was coming home from a board meeting at Children’s Hospital.  My husband and wonderful canine companion waited for me at home. But what was the hurry? What was so important that I would go 20 miles over the speed limit without any awareness of how fast I was driving?  For that matter, I didn’t even remember the last 7 miles or so. Apparently I had navigated the familiar curves of the dark canyon just fine, but I couldn’t will myself to remember. Had I been in a trance?  I pondered this while the officer checked my license, registration and insurance.

He lectured me on the dangers of going too fast in the canyon—wildlife and fatal accidents and such—and he made me promise to “slow it down,” which I did. Then he let me go with a warning.  

The rest of the way home I minded the limit, conscious of my surroundings and the beautiful starry-night sky.  I turned off the radio.  I thought about the way we tend to rush from one thing to the next, never truly enjoying the present moment, the silence and beauty, because we’re focused on some future event, like what we’re going to do when we get home, or we’re thinking about something that already happened, a phone call or conversation.  We're zoned out, missing the strange and wonderful once-in-a-lifetime moments before us;  moments that could be filled with awe and gratitude but which, once spent, we can never get back. 

I’m reminded of this as we move into the holiday season, where the tendency is to spend our time in a planning state: checking things off our to-do list and watching the days on the calendar bring us closer to “the day.”  When you find yourself in this state, STOP!  And remember:  TODAY IS THE DAY… To make it happen… To give up who you’ve been for who you can become… To make your dreams come true. . . to LIVE!  

Today is the day.  Be glad and rejoice!

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