-----------------------------------------------------
** BEGIN LIVING, ENJOY TODAY  by Graham White**
----------------------------------------------------

"While modern medicine has postponed death, few people today are truly living.  We graduate childhood, give up our dreams, ignore our sense of purpose and conform to the pursuit of consumerism and the appearance of success.  It's not a longer life we're experiencing, just a longer process of dying."

Harold Finkleman

=============================================

It's too easy to ignore what we have, or worse - to see only flaws: "She's too fat", "He doesn't pay enough attention to me", "Our house is too small", "The car needs work", "My kids won't listen", "My boss is too insensitive", "My butt is too big", and the biggest complaint of all, "I don't have enough stuff."

When will you achieve the level of success that leaves you satisfied?  Will it ever be enough?  "If only I had..." is the complaint we often make.  

Do you want to begin truly living?  Do you want a cure for, "If only..."?  

 

A number of years ago my wife and I were dealing with some difficult financial concerns.  We were overwhelmed by the weight of the situation, wondering how we could possibly recover from the combination of debt and poor choices that had left us with bills higher than our income.

I began to reflect on issues that had come up in the past and realized we had always made it through, we had always come out the other side and that life did go on, it even got better.

When I realized that the moment we were facing was not one that would last forever, I was able to look ahead - visualizing us at the time when things were going well again.  I was able to regain my sanity begin making the choices necessary to ensure that we didn't end up in the same situation again.

We did experience difficulties again (and I'm sure we'll have more), but now it's different.  We have accepted that we can't control everything in life and that we can't make "perfect" decisions to prevent disasters from ever happening.  

We have learned to focus on what was most important - the fact that we had our health, each other, our loving and supportive families, that we lived in a country so rich with opportunities and that we have the freedom to pursue anything we choose.  With that as the focus, we began doing the work necessary to build a life filled with things we enjoy every day.

 

 Begin Living, Enjoy Today:  

  • Volunteer:  Go to the homeless shelter.  Sign up at the hospital or seniors home.  Spend time with someone who has little time or little reason left in life and see how much you really have.  

    You don't live in a 3000 sq/ft home?  Find something that puts what you DO have into perspective.  See what you can do for the man who lost his wife and son in an accident and became so depressed that he couldn't work, lost his job, his home and is now living on the street in mental anguish we can only pray never occurs in our own lives.  

  • Travel:  Go see how the rest of the world lives.  I'm not talking about luxury vacations, I'm talking about taking a look at how the majority of the world lives - in poverty, sickness, fear and despair.  You feel like your decision about what school to attend, what job to take, who to marry and what to do about your children is a burden?  Go see first-hand what it looks like to only dream about those kinds of problems.

  • Make a list: Instead of focusing on what's less than perfect, take the time to list the people, things and places you have in your life that bring you joy.  Anytime you start feeling yourself beginning to think about what's wrong in your life, take a moment to review the list of what you have that you love.

We are here today and have not been promised tomorrow.  If we're not focused on enjoying the present and living in the moment, life will pass us by and we will miss the joy we could have had in search of the joy we think we might have had.  

"Aim for excellence, not perfection."

Graham White