Live Your Dash

Have you ever walked through a cemetery or read an obituary and pondered that small, seemingly insignificant dash between the day someone was born and the date he or she departed? This oftenoverlooked little line ultimately represents every breath and step we take in life.

Until an epiphany awakens us to the brevity of this dash with which we have been blessed, true appreciation of our life cannot begin.

So think about this long and hard;
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

When, as newborns, we take that first independent, deliberate breath, we sign an invisible contract with life that we will do everything we can to preserve, cherish and live it. By seizing and inhabiting our moments and living our dash, instead of simply existing, we are abiding by that first unspoken oath.

Because success should not be measured
in what you will buy, or own,
but in the pride you feel
in the person you’re with
… when you are all alone.

When we spend our time focused on problems, we subconsciously disregard all that is not a problem. In mulling over yesterday and worrying about tomorrow, we fail to recognize the presence of today. When we postpone living until everything is running smoothly, we forfeit the minutes of our now.

Instead of focusing on the next achievement or acquisition, we need to practice focusing on all the blessings around us—our loved ones and the sheer pleasure found in simply being. The poet in me writes: So live in your now; be conscious, sincere. Let your mind allow you to be in your here!

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars… the house… the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

Linda Ellis’  global touchstone poem, The Dash, was followed by the Live Your Dash poem, and her new book, Live Your Dash. Join the conversation at and

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