12.10.12 Live It Up

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the age of reason
There really is something about this time of year that invites a heightened emotional state. As much as I want to resist the cliché, I find myself steeped in memories, haunted by the ghosts of Christmases past. The minute I've digested my last bite of Thanksgiving turkey, I begin playing our family's traditional holiday music: Handel's Messiah, Noel by Joan Baez and Misa Criolla. It fills me with joy and sorrow in equal measure, and I wallow in both. I don't want to seem maudlin, nor to keep forcing you into unwanted introspection, but there are some more things I want to share with you and this just seems to be the right moment. Bear with me; inspiring cookbook recommendations and cheery holiday recipes are coming soon. Some of what I want to tell you is tied to this post, inspired by my time in the hospital with G—who is doing great, by the way...
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a wrinkle in time
Earlier this year, there was a piece on Huffington Post that listed the top 5 regrets of the dying as compiled by a hospice worker. They read like a cautionary tale:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Again, I ask you, can you let go without regrets? Now is the time to be fearless, to pursue what you want and whom you want to be. Being a glutton for life means reaching out for experience, connection, adventure—stuffing yourself full of what this life has to offer. Know what your priorities are and stop putting them off until tomorrow. Today, this moment, is what counts. Live for yourself. Be love.
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give yourself a hand
I came across another article recently that I found to be hugely affecting. It was in Yoga Journal, a publication that can sometimes make me feel woefully inadequate. All those disciplined practices! All those selfless intentions! All those vegetarian meals! And yet it's also a reminder that every day holds the possibility of redemption, if we will only give in to our higher selves. Anyway, this article talks about asmita or the "false-identification" that occurs when we confuse the mind, body or senses for the true self. It's a mistake to become attached to any of these things for they are all changeable; the only constant is the part of you known as purusa, the "seer," which experiences the world through the lens of the mind. This is your core—and it is neither young nor old, slim nor fat, rich nor poor, good nor bad. It is the you of you. The more connected you are to this unchanging inner self, the less you suffer from the inevitable outer changes life brings.

This notion touched me profoundly as I come to a time of life when the physical "me" I have known for so long is transforming into something else. And yet who I am is utterly the same. I am a wife, a friend, a writer, a cook, a traveler...so many things, but none of these truly defines me. I am simply me, just as you are simply you. Let's celebrate that, right here, right now. 


A beautiful reminder, thank you.
Elina on December 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm —
oh Laura, #5 is so sad .... I understand the other regrets - I finally feel as though I am catching up to that wise child - she knew what she was rebelling against but *I* didn't listen ---( I love who I am uncovering as I age)
Karen on December 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm —
I know what you mean, Karen...
laura on December 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm —
No lo he entendido todo, pero algunas partes me han gustado mucho.
JOSE M on December 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm —
¡Pues, ponte a estudiar, tío! (En serio, me encanta que hayas visitado, Jose)
laura on December 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm —
I teach a class " Writing Family Stories" at our local library. One of our objectives is to create our own obituaries. What discussion about dying! What wonderment about "bragging" about oneself! The assignment is still unfinished by many who don't want to face the inevitiblilty of our demise. No one felt really comfortable about talking about himself; others were surprised how enlightening it was to recognize the need to "toot one's own horn." I want to use part of your writing today in my next class to give the adults the need to enjoy life to its fullest.
Vivian on December 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm —
I'm flattered, and I love the idea of writing my own obituary - I just don't feel quite ready yet!! ;-)
laura on December 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm —
Just lovely...and so true. I truly look forward to your posts each day. I'm somewhat of a blog snob. I cannot waste my free reading time on bad blog posts...probably because I edit enough of those all day. Your writing fills me with joy. Thank you.
Ronnie on December 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm —
Thanks so much, Ronnie, that means a lot to me.
laura on December 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm —
We RULE #4 ! xo Mily
Mily on December 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm —
Yea, only 4 to work on!! xo
laura on December 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm —
I'm happy to have been guided towards introspection. Thank you. The 5 point cautionary tale and the encouragement following are words to return to time and again.
Prairie on December 11, 2012 at 11:02 pm —