My alarm clock went off at 6am this morning. As always, it took me about 15 minutes of enjoying that cozy bed before I got up to go and exercise.
I noticed that slight discomfort in my lower back that I have had for the last 4 years. I stretched it out, it felt a little better, but it will always be there. I got up, put on some clothes and went outside to exercise.
I am not the greatest fan of exercise first thing in the morning, even when it is Tai Chi, but I know it is good for me and how amazing I feel once I am actually doing it.
After my own practice, I then took a Tai Chi class for some guests, went to the restaurant overlooking the Douro river and had an amazing breakfast.
This is quite a normal morning for me and probably doesn’t sound that exciting. But what does makes each and every day special for me is that I know this will all change one day.
One day, that minor pain in my lower back is going to be an ache that travels around most of my body. I may not even be able to get out of bed without the assistance of a walking frame or someone there to help me. I may have to burden someone with the task of helping me into the shower one day, maybe a complete stranger who is employed in a nursing home, who is impatient and just wishes I would hurry up so they could finish their night shift and go home.
I may only be able to walk a few metres, and as for exercise, FORGET IT! One day, I will probably sit on the end of my bed and dream about those days in the past when I could get up and gracefully perform Tai Chi as the sun rose over the Portuguese valley.
I will probably want to share my travelling stories with those who are close to me, but most of those people will probably have gone before me. My parents certainly won’t be alive and I am sure many of my close friends, brothers and sisters would also have passed over to the other side by then.
The interaction I have with the guests will one day be gone. I will probably struggle with my hearing, forget what I am saying half way through my sentences and repeat the same tales over and over again to some poor, patient soul who heard me tell the same story the day before, the day before that and every single time they came to visit me.
But there is no stopping the ageing process, for me, you or anyone. It sounds depressing doesn’t it? And you know what? It probably will be.
Of course, this is just one scenario.
Maybe I won’t get old. Maybe death will come quickly. Maybe the only warning I’ll get is, “Watch out for that bus!”
BUT…TODAY IS A GOOD DAY, BECAUSE TODAY I AM ALIVE, I can move, I can get myself out of bed, walk and take a shower on my own. I can talk to people and make new friends. I can exercise, my body works and I can choose to wake up early in the morning, step outside and feel the glorious sun shining down on my face and breathe in the fresh morning air. I have a roof over my head, water to drink, food to eat and money to support myself.
That is why I am happy today.
There are two reasons why I bring these things to your attention.
1) Be grateful for what you have today.
So much of the time we are comparing ourselves to others who have more than us and as a result, we feel as though we are lacking in life. If you have your health, a roof over your head, food to eat, water to drink, a social network, be grateful for that. If you focus on those who you believe have more than you, you will always feel unhappy.
If you reflect on all of those hundreds of millions who have less, you will always be happy and grateful. Your happiness completely depends on the way you see world. So do you choose to see the glass as being half full? Or half empty?
2) Everything in the universe is in a constant state of change.
Nothing ever remains the same. A lot of the time we feel we are lacking in something and believe we have to reach a specific destination to be happy, such as when we have a perfect body, we have met that dream partner, we have a family, we have a nice home, we are financially secure etc. We believe that when we get those things, everything will be perfect and we can live happily ever after.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING as happily ever after.
Everything that we have will eventually pass. Our friends, families and loved ones, our health, our independence and no matter how much wealth we have, we will not be able to buy any of these things back.
In life, everything is born from nothing, appears, reaches its peak, declines, decays and passes.
No man, woman, animal, plant, business, country, planet or star in the sky has ever or will ever be able to escape this cycle. The more we try to resist it the more we will fight against the inevitable, become frustrated and unhappy.
But by really contemplating, understanding and accepting this fundamental law of nature, we can be far more grateful for this short life we have and learn to enjoy it so much more.
Appreciate today. Don’t stress and strain. Everything passes. Good things, bad things, happy things, sad things. Nothing remains. Enjoy what you have – TODAY!