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  • Dr. Marie Dezelic

An Existential Crisis is a Call for Life! Facing our Mortality Offers Us an Opportunity to Fully Eng

There often comes a crucial point in one's existence where we have an "existential crisis" (a crisis of being, who we are, what we are doing, the meaning of our entire existence) or an "awakening" to the fact of our own mortality, and transience of human life. It often comes with the death of a parent, when there is no longer any generation standing between us and death; death of a partner, child, friend; or a traumatic event, a life-altering change in our lives, a critical illness of a loved one or ourselves, or recognition of our changing, aging, and failing bodies. There can also be other situations and scenarios that bring us to this moment of deep, intrinsic awareness that we only have so much time left on this planet. It can cause us great despair and dread, often known as death anxiety, but it can also be a powerful opportunity to capture the "meaning in life" from this very vantage point. It can allow us to cause a dramatic shift in our approach to living, to fully embrace life, each high and low, and everything in between, to be mindfully present in each special moment. And they are all special, even if we do not notice this or give them this label. When they have passed, and we look back on them, even the simplest moments can feel the most special because we no longer have them.

This awareness opportunity is calling us, IM-ing (instant messaging) us, and can allow us to truly live each day.

To assist in this daily meaningful living, we can ask ourselves these questions:

• What was meaningful and special in my day today?

• How did I contribute to others today?

• What left a lasting impression on me today?

• Who or what did I touch or touched me today that left me inspired and grateful?

• How did my creativity shine today, whether tangible, in task, in word, in effort?

• Who do I value in my life today as my support system and connective fabric to humanity, and have I told them that I am grateful and thankful for their presence?

• What was my attitude about life, work, love, my joys and my suffering today?

• What do I want to do different or more of tomorrow?

These are 8 simple yet profound questions we can ask ourselves at the end of each day, in order to help us discover meaning- meaning in the moment, and meaning in life. In spite of facing our own mortality and recognizing the transience of human existence, we can find fulfillment, purpose, and meaning in each day, in each moment, up until our very last breaths.

An existential crisis is a call for life!

How is life calling you, and what will your answer be?

© Dr. Marie Dezelic

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