12/05/2012 04:19 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2013

You Don't Have to Face Death to Make a Choice

Watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

When I watched Ric Elias, I was struck by his calm sense of knowing that infused his talk. He presented as an ordinary guy who was extremely grateful to have been given an extraordinary opportunity: a do-over. Ric, like so many others, myself included, received what I call a Ph.D. in Fear, which forever changes how you experience the world. A transformation occurs that is impossible to ignore. It is a permanent shift in consciousness, which is different than change. When we change something, like diet for example, there is always the possibility of changing back. With transformation, you can't change back, even if you want. What you learn in a near death experience is impossible to unlearn.

The root message to all of Ric's "lessons" is to live in the present moment. His realization that not one moment of this life is guaranteed is a powerful truth. His conversation about being run by his ego instead of his heart and knowing if it had turned out differently he would have had regrets about the way he behaved in certain relationships could apply to most of us to some degree.

I want to challenge you to take some time to think about how much of your life is spent living anywhere but in the present. Are you stuck in the past, chronically reliving what was or analyzing what someone said or did? Do you play victim and ask, "why me?" Do you blame others for how your life is today? Are you so afraid of making a mistake that you don't even try? Do you find yourself contemplating and fearing your own death? Are you too afraid of what might happen to stop and revel in the joys of being a parent, a spouse, or a friend?

Ruminating about the past or fearfully projecting into the future both rob you of your ability to be mindfully present in this moment. The amazing gift in Ric's TED Talk is that you do not have to face a near-death experience to gain the benefit of his. He has taken one for the team (Thanks pal!) and is now challenging you to think about how you are living your life.

Give yourself some time to contemplate these questions:

  • If you were to unexpectedly die today, what would you regret?
  • Whom would you wish you had made peace?
  • Would you be happy with the last conversation you had with your spouse, your siblings, your children?
  • Would the grudge you are holding seem important?
  • Would you be happy with how you spent your time, energy, and attention?
  • What would you change?

Answer these questions honestly and then decide to Do Something. You have a choice right now to wake up in your life. You are in charge and completely responsible for what is happening now and for what you do next. (And you didn't even have to crash into the Hudson River to gain access to this opportunity!)

Let Ric's experience inspire you to:
  • Choose love over needing to be right.
  • Rid your life of negativity.
  • Rock your role as a parent.
  • And most importantly... Be. Here. Now.

Enjoy the rest of your day, and since this is An Idea That is Worth Spreading, share it with your friends and family.

Love Love Love,

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