Each morning before rising, I open my mind with a meditation of gratitude for the gifts of a new day. There are three gifts that we are each given: the gift of place, the gift of person and the gift of presence.
These gifts are not meant to be clung to, put on a mantle or stashed away. They are ephemeral and precious. They must be appreciated right now for they are not ours to keep. We are entrusted with them this day and perhaps this day alone.
The Gift of Place
This is where you are in life right now. You may be a child, a teen or an adult; at the beginning, middle or end of life. You may be pondering your choices for a vast, unknown future; beginning a course of study; starting a new job, considering a change or nearing retirement.
Wherever you may be in life, there’s no other time like it. In spite of the challenges facing you today, appreciate what you have right now. This may be the stuff that nostalgia is made of.
To embrace the gift of place is to see what is before you at this time and to appreciate what you have in your life this day. Look around you. Though all may not seem perfect, much of what you see today may be gone tomorrow.
In youth, we have energy, dreams and enthusiasm, but we lack experience, wisdom and money. As adults, we learn from life experience, make a living and may finally be able to do the things we’ve dreamed of, but we may lack the health and vigour to live those dreams. Parents are often too stressed and overworked to enjoy their children as much as they would wish; when they finally have the time, those children may have grown up and moved on to their own independent and busy lives.
The Gift of Person
These are the people in your life today. Just as a man can be adrift in the ocean and die of thirst, we can be surrounded by people yet feel alone. To live fully, we must feel connected; the deeper our connections, the greater the satisfaction.
It’s too easy to take others for granted especially those we see every day. Think of the people in your life today. Who would you miss if you were never to see one another again? Treat them accordingly – with respect, affection and joy.
There are special people in my life with whom I can’t help from smiling whenever we meet. I know I would miss them dearly when life separates us as it inevitably will. The most precious gifts in life are not flowers, metals or jewels; they are the special people who come into our lives, bring joy and enrich our experiences but must eventually say good-bye.
I no longer have my mother in this world, but I do have my father, sister and brother; my wife and children; my extended family and my friends. Whenever I feel a pang of irritation or start to take them for granted, I remember how precious each is to me.
The Gift of Presence
When our names were called during roll call in school, each of us would pipe up, “Present!” In both school and life, we may be physically present but without our hearts and minds fully engaged.
The gift of presence is the ability to master our conscious awareness of life’s experience; that is, being more fully awake, in touch and involved in the very experience of our lives today. As we explored in my previous article on meditation, we exist on many levels. To be fully present is to know our own thoughts and feelings, see our world with clarity and act with passion and deliberation. It is to be open to the experience of wonder.
So seize this day, and enjoy the ephemeral gifts of place, person and presence.
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a physician and writer. His Healthwise Column appears in the Vancouver Courier and Burnaby Now.
His internet radio show, Positive Potential Medicine can be found at positivepotentialmedicine.pwrnradio.com.
You can find his tweets at twitter.com/DrDavidicusWong and his posts at facebook.com/davidicus.wong