Five ways to make the most of your life right now

Today is the last day of our two week Thai retreat, and I’m writing this in our treehouse in the wildly beautiful Koh Phangan jungle as it pours with rain. It’s been tropical-storming all morning, and the sounds of the wind and rain and thunder, the ocean waves below us, the birds and insects, are a symphony – it’s certainly never quiet in a rainforest! I’ll miss it, but I’m so grateful to have this experience, and I’m loving every moment of our last day here. Holidays are such a reminder of impermanence, as we look forward to them and plan them, and then don’t want them to end… but end all things must, as I was sadly reminded this week by the too-early passing of a kind and talented friend. As a result I’ve been reflecting on the nature of impermanence and how to squeeze the juice from every moment of our short lives. So in memory of Colin, and with thanks to the wild nature all around me, here are five easy ways to make the most of your life, right now.

Your senses.

Five things which (if we are fortunate) we always have with us. We’re always using them to navigate the world, although usually quite unconsciously. But at any time we can choose to pay attention to them, and so fully experience life rather than sleepwalking through it. So I invite you, each time you check your phone or your watch today, to take a moment and ask yourself:

What can I see?

What can I hear?

What sensations do I feel?

What can I smell?

What can I taste?

The object here is not to judge what you’re experiencing. Let’s face it, if you do this in rush hour on the tube the results are probably quite unsavoury! But that’s exactly the point. Don’t run away. Don’t hide. Don’t try to escape. Just be where you are, and have the direct experience. Because this is it. In the words of Stevie Nicks, ‘sometimes it’s a bitch, sometimes it’s a breeze’.

But it’s yours. So live it.

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