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All or Nothing at All

All or nothing at all
If it’s love, there ain’t no in between
Why begin then cry for something that might have been?
No, I’d rather, rather have nothing at all
— Frank Sinatra, All or Nothing at All

We get busy, don’t we? We pour ourselves into our work, into our passions, and forget that there are other things that are important for us to do, to accomplish, to experience. Life is a series of tradeoffs and compromises, with a few things dominating our lives in the uncompromising way that identity shades the lenses through which we see the world.

A month ago I finished a fairly intense burst of high-mileage walking, and then simply stopped. I’ve done this before, with rowing a million meters, with rowing itself, and with other passions that mattered a great deal to complete in the season that they were essential and then became yesterday’s news. It’s either a symptom of being focused on accomplishing what the day at hand demands (generous), or a mind that prefers to stick with one big thing at a time (more likely). It’s an all or nothing at all way of walking through the world.

“You have feet, and if you don’t make use of them it’s a loss and a waste. Someone is telling you now so that in the future you cannot say: “No one told me that it was important to enjoy using my feet.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh, How to Walk (Mindfulness Essentials, )

The thing is, that walking was serving me quite well, but I just sort of got busy with other things. And suddenly a month flies by and as Thích Nhất Hạnh observed, it becomes a loss and a waste for having not continued to ride the momentum of the moment. And so it must begin again, instead of having simply continued. The lesson is to always lean into the positive momentum in your life.

We must live our lives as if this time was all we had, for soon it will be nothing at all. Distractions be damned, enjoy the things that fill our days with joy and our future with an abundance of health and energy. We must step to it already.

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