Everything Is Borrowed, Including Our Time Here

time is precious

This proverb landed in my inbox like a profound gift today.   It put lots of things into perspective.  As I thought about what meaning I could take from a friend who’s in critical condition, I realized that we have no guarantees, that it’s our job every single day to be clear about what’s important, to connect to our larger world, and to appreciate every precious second of our lives.

If we forget, we can remember at any time – and always.

“Everything on earth is borrowed… and belongs only to Mother Earth.”

We literally owe everything to Mother Earth.  Everything.  Whether you believe God/Spirit/Divine created her or not doesn’t even matter.  Mother Earth is still undeniably here, responsible for every single aspect of our existence.

How do we treat her?

Do we remember all the precious gifts she puts in our hands, our stomachs, our lungs, our surroundings?

I’m not asking about companies, countries, or governments.  I’m asking about you and me – here solely because of her good graces, for as long as we’re meant to be here.

I forget.  A lot.  Hell, I complained my way through The Worst Winter Ever – about the snow that will provide much-needed water for the soil to grow food to eat, trees to clean my air, and flowers and other plants to enjoy.

I’m sorry about that, Earth Mama.  You have every right to give us the cold shoulder, given how we’ve been treating you.  (Thanks for spring, by the way.  I’m really happy to see green – and what you’ve done with the crocuses, daffodils, and birds’ vibrant colors this season is really spectacular.)

Most of us are never going to be environmental crusaders.  It’s not our journey.

We can all be Keepers of the Earth.

We can be more conscious.  We can develop a more meaningful relationship with the planet and everything she gives us.  We can treat Mother Earth as a mother – not in that take-her-for-granted way but in the “Wow, you literally made me and care for me so I can survive – thank you!” way.

We can open all our senses to take in what’s around us, appreciating how her abundance and beauty sustain us every single second.

We can cultivate respect by reducing our footprint on her belly.

We can rejoice in her forgiveness (and hope, for our sake, that it continues, even when we don’t deserve it).

When I truly engage with Mother Earth, I feel more settled.  Peaceful.  Joyful.  Appreciative.  Calm.  Happy.  I feel a connection to something much larger than myself.  I understand what’s important.

Most of the time, however, I forget.  I’m working to change that.

“Even Time Is Borrowed”

My friend Paul was hit by a car on Wednesday and suffered severe brain trauma.

My beautiful sister-in-law Angie died a very painful death to stomach cancer one year ago last Saturday.

We are all on borrowed time.

Most of the time, I forget this, too.

Like many other precious things in my life, I routinely take time for granted – until someone I love is literally fighting for every second.

Maybe that’s one of the gifts these challenging experiences offer: they remind us to treasure time.

How would we live differently if we actively appreciated our time every day?  Every second?

How would our choices differ?

In the moments when I do remember how precious time is, I cut the crap and focus on what matters.  I take better care of myself.  I show up better for others.  I appreciate this amazing world that is Mother Earth.

My goal is to remember more often (kinda like my flossing), since the present moment is all we have.  Future moments are never guaranteed, even though we may live as if they are.

Paul and his loved ones know this all too well right now.

“All you have is what you came in with and what you leave with: your Spirit.”

Think about that for a second.  Our spirit is the only thing that endures.  Shouldn’t we nurture it?

While that sounds lofty, it’s really rather simple (at least to this simple mind).

We nurture our spirits every time we…

…act as Earth Keepers, cultivating deeper connection with and compassion for the land, water, plants, and animals (including humans)

…are fully present, truly living each moment.

Doing it is easy – it’s remembering that’s difficult.  We can help each other by fostering a culture where this becomes the norm.

Listening to the Messages

I believe that the Great Spirit / God gifts us with reminders of what’s important when we need it.

I choose to see Paul’s injury, the anniversary of Angie’s death, and this wise proverb as medicine, reminders of what truly matters.  (For those who don’t believe in a higher power, who view our time here on earth as all we have, such reminders are just as important, perhaps even more so.)

These experiences invite me to become more conscious of how very precious every single thing, person, moment, and experience is.

I hope I remember more often – and take good care of what I’ve borrowed.  After all, my spirit will remember forever…


Please keep Paul and his loved ones in your hearts, thoughts, and prayers.  Such collective energy creates a powerful healing force.  Thank you.

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18 Responses to “Everything Is Borrowed, Including Our Time Here”

  1. SCOTT April 27, 2014 at 2:44 am #

    As I was walking that ribbon of highway
    I saw above me that endless skyway
    I saw below me that golden valley
    This land was made for you and me.

    As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting…..

    Brilliant and inspiring post MB, thanks :)

    • Mary Beth Leisen April 27, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      Thanks, Scott! Yes, we did indeed get an amazing gift to be able to spend time in such a beautiful place…

  2. Kate April 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder. Especially now, when everything is so crazy on our planet. Our Earth is amazing, and when I am close to her, I feel nurtured. Sometimes I get so in my head about what I’m doing in life and working on and what I have, and it’s great to think really it’s me- my spirit- that’s what counts. Love to you and holding Paul in my heart.

    • Mary Beth Leisen May 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Thank you so much for that, Kate. I really appreciate it and know Paul can feel all of that. I’ve been spending more time in nature (committed to a 30-day program where I sit for at least 20 minutes a day in the same place), and in a little over a week, I’ve already noticed the difference. I feel her feeding and grounding me. The trick is to stay out of my head, as you say, and get to what matters.

  3. Kristy Moore May 1, 2014 at 4:30 am #

    My favourite proverb is from Africa, where communities have great respect for nature and nature’s cycles: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

    • Mary Beth Leisen May 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      I love that, Kristy – man, do we need other people. And we are all so interconnected, whether we want to see it or not. Doesn’t matter. I have been amazed by how many people have come together to support my friend, Paul. I think that when he regains consciousness, he will be amazed by the powerful love all around him…

  4. Melissa Maris May 1, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Wow. This line struck me the hardest: “Our spirit is the only thing that endures. Shouldn’t we nurture it?” Yes. A million times, yes. Wow.

    • Mary Beth Leisen May 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      Right? I had the same reaction, Melissa. It challenged me to really think long and hard about some of the things I do, that’s for sure…

  5. Jo May 2, 2014 at 5:34 am #

    Hi Mary,
    what a beautiful post and great inspiration. We all need a reminder of this every once in a while! how tragic if it comes in the form of loved ones suffering… how great if it comes in the form of an inspiring blog post! :-)

    • Mary Beth Leisen May 2, 2014 at 8:19 am #

      Thank you, Jo! Sometimes we (at least I) need a major event to shake me awake and really connect with what’s important. At least that’s some of the good that can come from something difficult…

  6. Justin May 2, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    A wonderful inspirational post Mary! Sorry about your friend Paul. This article is a great reminder for why we need to be more present and to take notice and care of what matters most to us. Thank you :)

    • Mary Beth Leisen May 3, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      Thanks, Justin – I think this will be one of those quotes that I have nearby or post at home so I don’t forget….

  7. Paula May 3, 2014 at 5:18 am #

    Yes Mary, we all do forget most of the time. This is such a poignant reminder that what we already have is what will make us happy. We have this time, right now to be grateful and then we will receive more things to be grateful for. As long as we live consciously, mindful of all that we do, say and act upon then we will be more caring, compassionate and loving to one another. We have forgotten to love, which is why we destroy ourselves and this planet. Thank you :)

    • Mary Beth Leisen May 3, 2014 at 7:41 am #

      Your comment gave me goosebumps, Paula. It’s so right on – we have now and gratitude, now and gratitude. I like that as a little mantra, actually – I’ll have to post that somewhere as well. I want to remember. I really want to remember….

  8. Michaela Cristallo May 7, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    What wise words and a beautiful reminder. We truly are given so much in this life, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget how lucky we really are. It hurts me to think of how little we appreciate our planet sometimes, all the destruction that is done to it and how selfish and self centred we as a human race can be. But making a change starts with each of us changing our perspective and doing our best. Thank you for a beautiful and important post :)

    • Mary Beth Leisen May 7, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Thank you, Michaela – I love what you’re saying about change starting with a change in perspective and doing our best. That is so true. I have a city park near me that I go sit in daily (or as close to that as I can) to get a little nature fix now that it’s warmer. I’ve started picking up the trash there as I’m leaving. It’s not a big thing, but it makes me feel better, and I know Mother Earth appreciates it. I also like to think that if people see me doing it, they might think more about where their trash ends up and be more likely to pick something up on their way out as well. It feels like an act in line with my values, however small it may be…

  9. Jesicka Labud July 8, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Even time is borrowed. What a profound concept you wrote about here Mary Beth. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I also believe in a higher being and that we do need to think of our time here as limited- and as much as I like to promote that there is enough time in the world to find your happiness and stay there long enough (as long as you decide to start), it is also important to be humble and know that we can never predict the future and we cannot control all outcomes and exterior circumstances. It’s important to balance these things out in our mind. I am very sad and sorry to hear about your friend and sister in law. But it helped you realize such an important lesson yet again. Cultivate our spirit because that is what we’re leaving here with- nothing else. Beautiful lesson.

    • Mary Beth Leisen August 5, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

      Thanks, Jesicka – somehow I missed this comment when you originally posted it. I’m sorry for the delay. You are so right about balancing these two forces – and about the value of learning these important lessons yet again. I’ve devoted a lot of time to cultivating my spirit, and I know none of that time was wasted. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts here – I really appreciate your perspective. :-)

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