When I was 25, I was in a car accident that should have ended my life. Literally one tiny second separated me from being smashed to smithereens head-on by a Mac truck on a snowy Oklahoma highway. But rather than going out splat-on-a-windshield style, I barely squirted in between two rapidly oncoming 16-wheelers and crashed into an exit sign on the opposite side of the road ... with nothing but a cute little scratch on my forehead to show for it (and a remarkably stiff body two days later). I remember vividly the woman in the driver's seat next to me screaming in high-pitched horror as I watched with an odd deer-in-headlights serenity that massive, shiny steel grill barreling directly towards my face. My only thought: "What is this going to feel like?"
I'm now 37. I've spent many a moment since that remarkable experience upset about some seemingly important happening - a girlfriend's criticism, my dad's disapproval, a traffic ticket, missing my exit, someone eating my last french fry. But when life recalls my attention back to that day when my own death was vividly imminent, I remember I'm living in bonus time.
It’s like a knock upside my crown chakra!! My story of whatever I think is happening at that moment just completely, utterly, fantastically implodes as a much larger awareness explodes through my being of how lucky I am to even be living this unfathomably juicy life!
It hits me ... It's all a gift.
My lover is breaking up with me ... Wow! I got to experience having a lover!
My car needs an expensive repair ... Wow! I get to experience owning a car!
My mom is sick ... Incredible! I emerged from her body; how remarkable that I now get to participate in its well-being.
Look, it's one thing to know from an intellectual perspective that life is a gift, that there's only this present moment, that we should be grateful for all we have, yada yada yada.
It's another to really marinate in the living awareness that by all calculations, you should be dead at this very moment ... as if you should have ever been born at all. Do you know how many other squiggling sperm you competed against for one lone prize? Something like ... zabillions!! Do you understand the odds against your success? Why, you've already won the most statistically impossible-to-win and insanely-stupid-to-spend-your-money-on Powerball Lottery in the entire known Universe!!!
One roundtrip of uncertain duration to Planet Earth. Which you're presently experiencing. Congratulations on your impossible success!!
My beloved wisdom school, Tai Sophia Healing Arts Institute in Maryland, has a wonderful saying that calls attention to our wild fragility: "You never know what comes first, tomorrow or your death."
I adore what Steve Jobs asked himself everyday when he woke up, "Do I feel good about what I'm going to do today? Do I like who I am?" As he shared in his famous Stanford Graduation Speech, Steve lived with the constant awareness that death was always knocking and would inevitably someday come through his door, whether or not he was ready for it.
So with full awareness that your being alive right now is wildly improbable, here are two simple questions for you:
(1) What are you doing with the bonus time you've been granted? You're completely free. To do whatever you want. You owe nothing to anyone (anyway, they’re just as lucky as you to be here). So how are YOU going to enjoy YOUR bonus time today?
(2) Why are you complaining about whatever you’re complaining about? Just smile (at least internally) and know that this moment is simply part of your Grand Prize package trip to Planet Earth.
... which will be over soon enough, and perhaps just when you start getting the hang of things around here.
About Bryan Reeves
Bryan Reeves manages transformational music artists and blogs about his experience at www.ManagingTheMagic.com. Bryan was once a Captain in the US Air Force before becoming the worldwide PR Spokesperson for an Oprah-endorsed human energy research company. He currently manages pop-spiritual-fusion music band HERE II HERE (www.hereiihere.com) and electro-pop artist Ash Ruiz whose hot, lyrical music raises the volume of Your True Nature (www.ashruiz.com).