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The way that single days string together a lifetime is nothing short of amazing. Precious seconds, priceless minutes, and golden hours compose unique stories into mosaics of human experience. It’s enough to make our heads spin, all this beauty in elusive moments.

Stillness. That is what we need to fully appreciate the ephemerality of the here and now. Press pause and take a deep breath. The secret of a good life lies in the attention to detail. A ray of sunshine, birdsong, and a cup of good coffee make up the meaning of everything. Dancing in the moments between moments, every day becomes a gift if you treat it as such.

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.”

― Seneca

There is a Buddhist concept of a space between death and rebirth called bardo. The term refers to the perceived interval between two states. In Tibetan tradition, there are six bardos: three in life, and three in death and rebirth. They cover the entirety of our conscious experience of life. Today, we want to focus on the bardo of becoming.

According to Buddhists, this transitional bardo happens when we are being led toward our next birth. In this dreamlike state, we see both the consequences of our actions from our previous lives and the shape of our next plane of existence. In a way, every day is a bardo state in itself. You can evaluate what you have done today before you can picture what tomorrow brings.

When your eyes move from reading one paragraph to the next in this article, there is a split second of transition. That’s a bardo state between the end of one activity and the start of another. These bardo moments create breaks in structures and patterns, they open up cracks of freedom in the rigidity of our routines so we can see deeper into our various realities.

Everything is a matter of perspective. A typical lifespan may seem long to some and short to others but the fact remains―the clock is ticking and our time is finite. Knowing this, why would you want to let minutes slip through your fingers? This is your bardo state, a moment of deeper reflection, and maybe even a wake-up call of sorts.

Here and now is as good a time as any to recenter yourself, perhaps make different decisions, proceed in other directions. But it’s also ok to not know sometimes, to simply exist with no specific timeline for a while―everything tends to be in a constant state of flux anyway. So you can be too.

“If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward.”

― Oscar Wilde

Maybe you’ve been waiting for some kind of a sign, and maybe this is it. Perhaps you needed a nudge of encouragement, and perhaps this is it. One thing’s for sure, nobody else is going to live your life for you and that’s your freedom. If you reject the captivity of all the shoulds and musts of life, you will minimize the risk of potential regrets and resentments in the future.

In her bestselling book Untamed, American author and activist Glennon Doyle tells the story of how a simple visit to the zoo flipped her perspective on freedom. A cheetah was let out of her cage for the entertainment of the audience. The wild animal was made to chase a pink bunny toy for the reward of a delicious steak. After obediently performing what she was trained to do, the cheetah went back to roaming the space of her confinement.

That’s when the author observed a shift in the regal feline. The cheetah, bred in captivity all her life, was tracing the boundaries of the fence that enslaved her as if her instincts had been telling her that there was more to life than chasing fake pink bunnies. As if some ancient wisdom within her, some deeper knowing, had made her restless, longing for unrestricted wilderness.

On the flip side, there is a popular example of learned helplessness in the animal kingdom. An elephant was tied to a tree from a very early age. When he grew to be a mighty adult animal, he was set free. And yet, he did not move an inch, as if he had still been tied to that same tree even though there was no rope to bind him anymore.

So do you think you’re driven or you’re dragged? Do you feel more like the cheetah plotting her escape or the elephant who does not yet know his potential? It’s ok if you don’t know. That’s why we have these little bardo moments. Use them to ponder, meditate, and peel back the layers in the mind to uncover the longings of the heart. Seek, and you shall find yourself.

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Abraham Lincoln

We live in what seems to be a modern paradise. New technologies are popping up every day enabling us to work remotely, unrestricted, with more and more convenience and freedom in a typical day. The number of opportunities for growth seems limitless and there are more and more bardo moments at our disposal. Whenever you struggle with a decision of any kind, remember that simply having a choice is a privilege. And since we’ve reached the end of this article, another bardo moment is about to open up for you. Make it yours.

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