This Isn’t A Dress Rehearsal

speakI used to work for a judge who was known for speaking his mind. He had a unique ability to reduce the meaning of life to one-liners.

One of his famous ones went like so:

“This isn’t a dress rehearsal.”

We don’t get a Take 2 on life. There’s no do-overs.

The days you sit and hope for better days, this is the better day. When the weeks seem to fly by, keep pace with them. The sunrise you think you’re guaranteed for the next 50 years might not rise for you tomorrow, so watch the sunset tonight.

This concept of living with urgency is often taken two ways: People either live IN the now or they live FOR the now.

One approach emphasizes living with abandon, seeking out all the external pleasure life has to offer, and leaving nothing unchecked on your bucket list. I call that living for the now.

Living in the now is different. You are in it instead of chasing it. You show up completely wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, whoever you’re with. You are doing your best to inhabit every moment fully and to see it clearly. There is an open-heartedness, an embracing, an allowing, an accepting of what is.

Shakespeare sums it up simply:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.

What act are you in on the stage of your life? Your lines won’t be perfect, but they can be honest and heartfelt. When you’re given a new role you’re unprepared for, can you let the old role go and step into the new one for as long as it lasts?

This is a challenge, letting go of our perceived or preferred roles. This is why we practice staying present.

Can we see ourselves from the perspective of the audience, even as we play out our part? This is the work of meditation and mindfulness.

When it is our time to exit, will we take our last bow knowing that we gave our best?

Rise to the occasion of your life. No one else can do it for you.


photo credit: dullhunk

2 thoughts on “This Isn’t A Dress Rehearsal

  1. The photo in your post really moved me. Oh, how my voice shakes… I think it’s important to find a healthy balance between speaking into our audience’s listening (which is how I describe the question you ask at the end of your post) and speaking from a place of full self expression. I struggle with this. And continue to work on that challenge.

  2. Hi Jen… yes, my voice shakes too. I know what you mean. Speaking our truth should always be tempered with love. I find that to be the balance that takes some practice for me. How to be honest and simultaneously loving and considerate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

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