In this busy world we live in, it's all too easy to overlook the beauty that surrounds us. Susan Meier talks about the important lessons she learned from her son about taking the time to simply breathe and embrace life.
Most of you know my son, Michael, had epilepsy. Epilepsy is one of those hidden diseases. People could look at him and think he was perfectly fine. He wasn’t. Because he could have a seizure at any time, he couldn’t drive. He couldn’t hold a job. He couldn’t live on his own. Technically, he got none of the things most of us live for. Yet, he was one of the happiest people I know.
He looked at life very differently than I did, and in the last ten years he taught me – through example – to be just like him. To look at clouds just for the sake of finding something pretty or extraordinary. He taught me to realize how lucky I am because I do have all the things he couldn’t have. He taught me not to put so much importance on “things” or to care about what other people thought of me, but to be myself…and here’s the biggie…to be happy with myself. Just as I am.
And that’s why I want to ask you to look at your life. Not your career. Not your roles as mom, wife, daughter, grandmother, friend, employee…But your life.
Now close your eyes, breathe in and breathe out, slowly, several times, and realize that though it sometimes seems you are the sum and total of your roles and goals, there’s a whole world beyond that. The sky changes every day. Trees that are dark and barren in the winter fill with life when spring returns. Kids laugh. Good books entertain, but great books change you. If you don’t notice the rhythm of all that, the ebb and flow of life and nature, art and people, you’re missing something wonderful.
In fact, if you’re on the treadmill of life, rushing to work, rushing through your tasks, rushing your kids through dinner and homework, rushing to get to bed…so you can wake up and start all over…never thinking about who you are, what life means, what your place is, then you’re missing it all.
A few friends have told me they are practicing being present…and that’s cool. But I think I’d rather practice being a person. A real person.And so should you. Take a breath. Look around. Really see. Really hear. Really taste and smell and touch. Don’t just go through the motions.
And hug your kids. We lost Mikie in January. If I could change one thing about losing him, it would be that I would have known the last time we played Yahtzee really was the last time we played Yahtzee. I wish I’d told him I loved him one more time. I wish I could have heard him say he loved me.
But I have no regrets because – thanks to him – I do breathe in and breathe out. I do look at the sky, searching for rainbows or just pretty clouds. I know what’s real. I know what’s right. I own who I am. What I do. Why I do it. I know I’ve always done the best I can with what I have. He taught me that.
And knowing that is freedom…that’s true balance.
Susan's most recent book is The Spanish Millionaire's Runaway Bride. For more information, you can visit her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you take the time to breathe and embrace life? Is there someone in your life who left a lasting impression on how you view things? Is achieving balance in your life something you're still working on? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on our Social Media.