The fabric of existence weaves itself whole.
You exist, every second of every day.
What does that mean to you?
What is the nature of your existence? What is the impact of your presence in the world?
We are an inherent part of whatever situation we find ourselves in and are responsible for how interesting (or uninteresting) it is. We can make life exciting, inspiring, and fun—we just have to remember to exist, in a meaningful way, wherever we are.
Existence. Mindfulness. Awareness. Grace. Serenity.
Part of existing is the state in which we exist, and although that can be described in a variety of ways, I like to think about it in very basic terms. One of the things I do to help me be intentional about my existence is to remind myself of it regularly. Every morning, before I get out of bed, I say to myself, “Existence. Mindfulness. Awareness. Grace. Serenity.” That helps me to remember that I am not a spectator in my life—I’m a participant.
Existence. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, it’s me that’s doing it. If I start to get irritated or impatient with someone I’m with or something I’m doing, I remind myself that I’m part of this scene. I have influence over where it goes. I have the ability to make it worth my while (or to leave it). Before we think about any situation as something to endure, we can try to think about ways to make it more interesting, to inject our perspective into it, or simply to pay more attention to it. Most importantly, we have to remember that our existence is ours. We can always choose to move on.
Mindfulness. I also remind myself to be mindful. We can greatly enhance our existence if we pay attention to it. If we live in the moment, we can see and experience significantly more of our world than if we’re on cruise control and simply going through the motions of everyday life. It’s important to fully experience our existence if we are to make the most of it.
Awareness. Awareness means to incorporate the context of our lives into our mindfulness. Being mindful of our emotions includes an awareness of where they come from. Part of living mindfully necessarily involves an awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, our challenges and triumphs. Whatever we feel or experience, we should be aware of the backstory—what brought us here and why it moves us.
Grace. As our lives progress, we can stumble through—emotionally, physically, and socially—or we can exist intentionally. Grace means paying attention to our bodies and our emotions, to the signs we are receiving from other people, and to the world around us, and acting on all these signals. An obvious outcome of this attention is improved physical coordination. If we are fully aware and in control of what our bodies are doing, we will move more gracefully, that grace will go deeper than our physical selves. By existing intentionally, our grace will extend to our emotional and spiritual lives (see Grace).
Serenity. When we think of serenity, we might think of being calm and peaceful, but those feelings must come from an acceptance of our reality—being comfortable in our own skin and at peace with our words and actions. Trust yourself. Have enough confidence in what you do that you don’t doubt or second-guess yourself. When things are awkward, embarrassing, or tense, accept that reality and allow it to unfold.
Existence is about being present in our own lives and being active participants in the world around us. It’s about accepting our realities, even if we’re working to change them. It’s about taking advantage of whatever situation we find ourselves in and making the most of it.
Don’t be an observer of your own life—exist.