Life is not a dress rehearsal. Even though as children we naturally allow ourselves to focus on joy and what fills our hearts, at some point we become serious and focused on getting a degree or climbing the corporate ladder. Even though we may have moments of reconnecting with inner joy and passion, these tend to be fleeting moments. Just look at the phrase used so often – Thank God It’s Friday! We long for the weekends when we get a taste of what we love to do.

It seems that many people convince themselves there will be time to get back to enjoying life once enough items are checked off the list. However, this is a dangerous assumption. None of us are guaranteed any number of days. I certainly faced this truth when I went through a breast cancer scare at the age of 39. During the month it took to have the follow-up tests and biopsy, I did not know whether I had cancer.

I spent a lot of time asking myself what I would do if it came back cancer. Assuming I would be able to receive treatment and get on with my life, I was very clear on how I would proceed. I would quit my draining and stressful job as a trial attorney, spend more time with my husband, travel and play more, and create a healthier and happier lifestyle. At those rare moments when we are forced to face the fact that we are not going to live forever, it brings valuable clarity about how to really live.

Redesigning a life

When the news came back that it was not cancer, I was initially very relieved. However, the next emotion was confusion. What should I do with this clarity? Should I wait until I am diagnosed with a serious illness before I wake up and take charge of my life?

I decided to use this wisdom to redesign my life. My goal was to focus on what, for me, is truly the essence of a life well-lived. I wanted to live in a place that fed my soul. On my first visit to Zion National Park in southern Utah, I knew I had found my new home. As I focused on my core gifts and talents and how to find work that allows me to tap into what I love to do, I discovered the profession of life coaching and knew it was a perfect fit for me.

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Committing to the essence of my life

The final piece fell into place when I committed to taking better care of my body. I found ways to joyously move my body and eliminated lots of sugar from my diet. This was a challenge because I do not believe in deprivation. Life is too short to eat or drink things we don’t like. Finding Crystal Geyser Sparkling Water with delicious fruit essence has been such a blessing. I get to take care of my body yet satisfy my desire for flavor and sparkle.

I am not the only one who understands life is not a dress rehearsal. The Dalai Lama was recently asked what surprised him most about humanity. His answer is very revealing. “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

I can honestly say when my final days draw near, I will know in my heart that I really lived. I will have no regrets about failing to seize the moment and follow my joy.  What about you? If you’d like to create your recipe for joyful intentional living, visit my website at www.cindyclemens.com. I have several free tools you can download and use to connect with your essence.

Cindy Clemens is a contributing blogger for the Crystal Geyser Sparkling Water’s Essence of Life campaign. All views are her own. If you’d like to learn more about Cindy, visit CindyClemens.com.

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