Jenny and I have been having a side discussion on the relationship between accepting our mortality and living intentionally. So we decided that it might be a discussion which our blog readers might like to join.
"How many of us," asks author and minister Wayne Muller "are secretly waiting for some magical permission--like a diagnosis of terminal illness--before we truly begin to listen to the quiet dreams, the desires of the heart?"
To live intentionally is to live authentically. To show up for each day ready to create something special that reflects of our unique blend of values, wisdom, passion and skill. It takes some courage to live this way. And I wonder if it is this fear of our own mortality that keeps some of us stuck and unable to live authentic lives.
Perhaps, if we had a terminal illness maybe we could more freely let go of tasks and responsibilities we have no other excuse to avoid. Would we feel less rushed in life and live more quietly, peacefully and purposefully?
Muller suggests that if we can accept our mortality we can be set free from the illusion that "one more phone call, one more meeting, another hundred dollars will buy us safety, happiness, and immortality." Does our presumed immortality permit us to be sloppy and imprecise in our lives? We can always clean up later, right? We give hardly any thought to what we hold sacred as a fully franchised adult member of the human species...let alone let that guide our lives.
And what's our culture telling us about the aging process? Is it affirming our mortality? From where I am, I don't see this! So each of us who really strive to live life intentionally will have to find this acceptance of our mortality and in so doing free ourselves to live each day with courage, clarity, purpose and love.