Life itself is terminal, at least in this physical plane. I don’t believe that life ever literally ends; rather, I understand our passing from this life to the next as a terminal point, a time of transition leading to transformation, a death from the old to a life anew. A continuation that goes on for all of time.

Having a sense of the limited time we have in this phase of life does, however, change one’s perspective. No doubt you have heard stories or know someone yourself — stories of the life-changing attitude people tend to embrace in the face of a terminal illness. “Live Like You’re Dying” isn’t only an inspiring song from Tim McGraw but a lifestyle that many a wise person whose eyes were opened in the face of terminal illness recommend we all hold close. Wise words, indeed.

I listened to an inspiring TEDx talk several months ago and the speaker, Ricardo Semler of Brazil, told of his own inspiration to live life this way. Twice a week he takes what he calls a terminal day — a day when the only thing that matters is living life as if he learned his days were numbered by a terminal illness. That very day I started doing the same: Every Wednesday and Saturday is a terminal day and my calendar says so. My schedule is open only for things that I would choose to do if I found out I were dying. The gym, writing, taking a class, visiting the hot springs, spending time with friends, learning a new recipe. Or simply doing nothing. Whatever I feel inspired to do. Anything else can wait. I am disconnected from work. There is nothing that cannot wait until the next day. Indeed, I don’t even know about it until the next day!

Taking terminal days has been life changing and I highly recommend it! Two days a week if you can; one is fine if that works best. You will quickly find that the only thing in your life that cannot wait is your life itself. It’s terminal. Try living it that way!

With Blessings and Gratitude,
from Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dr Mark Arcuri
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