Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Once in a Lifetime"

I've been reading a wonderful book lately called Less is More by Wanda Urbanski & Cecile Andrews (who I recently found out lives in my neighborhood!) The bi-line is "Embracing simplicity for a healthy planet, a caring economy and lasting happiness." You can see just from that bi-line why I've been enjoying it so much!

Yesterday I read an essay by Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author of The Wabi-Sabi House. She ends the essay with an explanation of the most important aspect of Japanese tea ceremonies:Ichigo, ichie, or "once in a lifetime." She says,

"This reminds us that every meeting is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion to enjoy good company, beautiful art and a cup of tea. We never know what might happen tomorrow, or even later today. But in the moment, we could stop to share conversation and a cup of tea."

How much richer could our lives be if we slowed down enough to live out this principle- appreciating each moment as one that only happens once in our lives? Taking the time to be present and notice the beauty I'm surrounded with; whether it's the curve of my coffee cup, the flowers in a jar on my kitchen table, the voice of a friend who truly knows me, even the sweet 2-year old voice that keeps interrupting (but, let's be honest, still warms my heart like no one else's).

Reading this essay reminded me of a slogan that I've since adopted as a personal motto for how I want to live my life. Four years ago, I attended a youth workers conference and received a t-shirt from World Vision that said "You have ONE life. Do something." Ironically this t-shirt has done more to alter my life than any other pithy slogan or proverb. I only live once and who knows how long that life will be. I don't want to put off living it until I have more time or more money or less distractions. I want to live every day as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, and not get so caught up in racing through life without a finish line in sight. It's so difficult for me to slow down (without feeling guilty about not being "productive"). But I'm trying. I want to "DO (appreciate beauty, serve others, love my friends and family, enjoy all God gives us in life, create things) SOMETHING."

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