09/10/2012 04:32 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2012

Embracing This Precious Life

A dear friend sent me his departure announcement recently, the subject line paraphrasing a Tibetan adage, "With every meeting there is a parting." He was moving to a new country, and due to a serious disease he's battling, was unsure if he might return.

His subject line really brought forward for me how all that we enjoy in this life is so temporal, most importantly our relationships. I thought about this saying as it applied to every relationship in my life, and couldn't find any scenario where it wasn't true. Whether through distance, disagreement or death, all of our relationships eventually change dramatically at some point. Parents, family members, loved ones, friends, even pets -- eventually there is a parting.

For me, I believe in life after death; so for every parting, I do believe that there is also a reunion at some point. That said, there isn't anything we can do to prevent a parting in this life, at least for a while. We cannot slow the passage of time, and there isn't any way to hold still the happy and precious times we share with those we love. All we can do is cherish our friends and loved ones when we're with them. And if we do it whole-heartedly, I find it is enough.

The continual passage of time and the temporal nature of our world remind us how precious and delicate life and relationships are. They are here today, but tomorrow is unknown.

Regardless of circumstance, I work deliberately these days to cherish the people who have been in my life, whether or not they continue in my life. For my loved ones, I take a few moments daily to cherish them with all the love and gratitude I have to give. It's quiet. They don't know I'm doing it. Although sometimes I get a spontaneous hug or an "I so appreciate you" soon thereafter. So, perhaps on some level they do recognize something.

For those who have been less than positive, I look at the learning I took away from those situations, and I find the path to express gratitude toward them and for them as well.

Today I practice remembering, "Today is all we have. Tomorrow could be vastly different." And I find this practice gives me more patience and perspective.

I wonder, if we could all practice this life truth, if so many of our problems wouldn't just autocorrect. And I wonder too, if perhaps we might not just make significant progress toward world peace as a result.

For more by Melissa Van Rossum, click here.

For more on conscious relationships, click here.