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Lighting Our Own Torch

“Work is only a part of life. But work is life only when done in mindfulness. Otherwise, one becomes like the person “who lives as though dead.” We need to light our own torch in order to carry on. But the life of each one of us is connected with the life of those around us. If we know how to live in mindfulness, if we know how to preserve and care for our own mind and heart, then thanks to that, our brothers and sisters will also know how to live in mindfulness.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

Monday’s seem to sneak up a bit more quickly lately. The weekends fly by in a swirl of activity, then suddenly it’s Monday morning again. How we react to that depends on what our relationship is with our work. Then again, how we react to getting up any morning is directly related to how we feel about our life anyway. Rising to meet the day is more attractive when we live a life of joyfulness and awareness. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to reach that place?

I lingered with the sunrise this morning, not to delay writing but to meet the day properly. A bit of frisbee with the pup, a cuppa to clear the cobwebs free, and full awareness of the light show happening above me as the world turned to meet the sun. The point of living is to be fully alive in these brief moments stacked like dominoes along our timeline. Those dominoes behind us have fallen away, all that’s left is the stack standing in front of us. Just how long that stack is is anyone’s guess. The pup and I felt satisfied with the one just fallen behind us.

What is work but a series of dominoes stacked in our timeline? Each of those dominoes will fall behind us eventually, but what direction are they carrying us in? We either work out of a sense of obligation to others or we follow the call to contribute something more. The latter is often harder to hear—more a whisper than a scream (that screaming sound you hear is a thousand souls commuting to jobs they deeply resent). Whispers of work to be done are meaningful clues to the life we ought to be living.

When those dominoes fall behind us, do they land with a hollow thud or do they resonate as time well spent? We each have our share of hollow moments, but we ought to work towards a life that reverberates. To light our own torch is to choose a life of resonance and meaning. That’s something to work towards.

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