On September 11, Live Like Today Is Your Last

On this 12 year anniversary of 9/11, I can’t help thinking about the consciousness of the planet and how far we’ve come. It feels like there is so much more love in the world, like so many people are waking up to the divinity within them. And it gives me hope.

Earlier this month, I was flying on a plane en route to Fargo, North Dakota, where I gave my latest TEDx talk, and just as the plane’s wheels were about to touch down in Minneapolis, the pilot gunned the engine and the plane took off again, into the wild blue yonder.

Everyone on the plane exchanged worried looks that said, “Ruh roh, Shaggy. That wasn’t supposed to happen.” My first heart-stopping thought was “Terrorists have hijacked our plane and we’re about to crash into the new World Trade Center.”

I searched for a phone. There wasn’t one. Whatever happened to those satellite phones that sat above your fold-out tray table? I rehearsed what I would say if I could pick up the phone and call the people I love most on our flight to New York.

Various versions of “I love you so much I can’t even speak words about it, and I’m sorry I haven’t said that every day of my life because it’s been true every day since we’ve met.” I would call my mother and thank her for being the best mother a girl could ever have. I would apologize for being the worst version of myself whenever she is around and bow at her feet for loving me unconditionally in spite of my regularly bad behavior. I would remind her that the bad behavior is only because she has made me so secure in the certainty of her love that I can be a total brat and Mom will still be there.

I would call my husband and remind him that it has been an honor to be his wife, and that I have never felt as loved as I’ve felt since I met him eleven years ago. I would thank him for sticking with me, even after I quit my job and threw our lives into turmoil, even when I criticize and nag and get all “holier than thou” on him. I would ask him to remember the last hug we shared and to know that, even when I’m gone, I will be holding my arms around him.

I would call my daughter Siena and thank her profusely for choosing me as her mother. She tells me she used to be a fairy and then she fell in love with me, and because she was a fairy, I couldn’t see her, and it made her sad. So one day she flew into my vagina and deposited her fairy wings into my heart so I’d always have fairy magic in my heart, and then, wingless, she hobbled over to my belly and grew into a baby so she and I could kiss and hug in person. I’d thank her for giving up her wings so we could know each other better. And I’d remind her that she is here on a Divine assignment and that her only job is to be the most Siena she can possibly be. That’s all. Nothing else. I’d tell her I’ll love her forever, from heaven or wherever I’d end up after my plane hit the tower.

I’d call all my friends and family, one by one- (thank God it’s a long way from Minneapolis to New York, so I’d have time)- and thank them for being in my life, for helping me grow, for making me a better person, for challenging me, for celebrating with me, for shaping me, for loving me in spite of, even because of, all my imperfections. I’d cry over how much I love them and promise to come back and visit as an angel. My heart would burst open.

By the time I died in a plane crash, I’d know, without a doubt, that I would leave no love unexpressed. Nobody would ever doubt that they mattered to me. I would feel complete.

This is what went through my mind as the plane soared east for at least a half hour.

Then, slowly, the plane turned around…and a while later, we landed in Minneapolis and the whole plane breathed a collective sigh of relief. I remembered in that moment, as I did back on September 11, that we must ALL do this, we must ALL express our love, we must ALL open our hearts and say what we forget to say, not just on the day we might die or on September 11, but EVERY DAY.

So please, darling, say what you would say if you were one of those cherished beings we lost 12 years ago. Don’t hold back, ever. Love like you’ll die today- not just today, but every day. And join me in saying a prayer of gratitude for those we lost and a prayer of peace in this world of conflict. May our hearts be healed. May our hearts stay open. May we never, ever repeat the mistakes of our past.

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