Are You on Auto-Pilot? How Do You Even Know?

Seems like a silly question really? But it becomes like breathing, doesn’t it? We don’t even need to worry about that. We can take breathing for granted for the most part. Our bodies have taken over that function so we don’t even have to shed the tiniest thought about remembering to breathe. Our bodies have taken this mundane task out of the realm of our conscious. But should it?

I know that this may seem like another quite silly question, but hear me out.Is it time to stop?

I think this topic actually resonates throughout our entire being and existence. We get going. We chug along in our daily life doing the things on our calendar. We check off tasks and create new ones to take their place.

And then something happens that shocks us out of our regularly scheduled life. For me, it was the unfortunate and untimely death of Robin Williams.

I was going about my day and if I am truly honest a good portion of it on a kind of auto-pilot mode. And then something happened – something unexpected.

A person that I didn’t think about regularly was all of a sudden gone. And I felt a great loss. I am sad that the world is losing his talent. I am sad at the thought that the joy and laughter I enjoyed from his work is now finite and limited to the works he has completed. I am sad that there will be no more incredible projects from him.

I am also sad for his family. This loss is tough for those who really enjoyed his work and I can only imagine the magnification of loss for his family.

But what really makes me sad is that he seemingly was sad. So sad and we never saw it. Now I don’t want this to be a diatribe on depression or suicide. There are more appropriate venues for that and I am certainly not an authority on either of those subjects. But I do want to call attention to how quickly things can change.

This unfortunate time, when I will someday look back and probably mention to someone how I remember hearing about his passing, is a wake-up call. It is a message to knock me out of taking things for granted. It is an essential reminder that life is about NOW. I want to turn the volume to 150% and see all the sounds and colors and beauty around me… NOW. I want to cherish the people in my life NOW… today.

I guess the “industry term” is to live in the present. But how quickly we can forget to do this. And how quickly we take things for granted, how easily we slip into auto-pilot. Truly all we have is this moment.

I will process my own sense of sadness and loss and will remember fondly all the talent I did get to see. I know a smile wins out every time I think about one of his characters, or a topic from his stand up. That is a beautiful legacy he left the world.

And what I want to remember most is to stop… and breathe. Because things could change so quickly, so unexpectedly.

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20 Responses to Are You on Auto-Pilot? How Do You Even Know?

  1. Gina Binder says:

    Thank you for sharing this reflection, and for reminding us to consciously inhabit every moment we live. Our technology and modern advances so easily lure us away from joyful attention to the life we lead.

  2. rochefel says:

    Very sad but it really happens. I also have a couple of people helping me with my projects though I also have a couple more as a back up in case something happens to them. It already happened to me once, a graphic designer bailed on me a few hours before the deadline. Good thing I still have two others on stand by mode, willing to rush things in case I need their help. This is the power of networking with people and making friends with them. I’m sorry for your loss, A. Lynn. Hope you’ll feel the empty space filled again with joy and make new memories with another amazing person.

  3. runningm says:

    This is so true, live in the present…I find when there is so much to do I live almost a robotic life! I so will miss Robin Williams, he was a genius in life!

  4. Life is just so crazy busy now with the exact technology that was promised to make our lives easier – thrown at us for the last 2 decades. It must be a continual decision to STOP the madness and pay attention to the roses in our life we love. If we don`t do it intentionally, it will not happen… All new things thrown at us are NOT bad, we just have to balance them out…

  5. It is too bad that we lost one of the greats, I am sure many people are going to mourn for him.

  6. It is really sad when you have gotten to the point of your life where you seemingly have it all, but yet it is not enough. Depression is something that will ultimately win if you continue to feed it. Taking focus away from ourselves sometimes and focusing on others in selfless ways can begin the healing process. The world has lost a great talent for sure. Too bad we didn’t take the time to see his struggles.

  7. You are right, we all get so busy in our daily lives we often forget to slow down and enjoy the moments. Show more appreciation and care to those around us. Things are constantly changing and you just never know what each day holds.

    • I guess part of it is being proactive about the day – looking forward to what the day may bring. I think we get into reactive mode all to easily and then we are chasing tasks. I think a death is also the ultimate reminder cause it is so final.

  8. Lovely reflection for you and for us all A Lynn. I was stopped in my tracks as well, as my daughter and I had the honour of meeting Robin Williams very briefly after one of his incredibly funny performances here in Toronto. The fact that so many people walk around with sadness and depression seems to be on the increase and one wonders what this society is generating in the way of being disconnected from our inner knowing. Thanks for sharing this and hopefully all of us can take a lesson and be aware in the moment.

    • That is beautiful Beverly: Being disconnected from our inner knowing. I think a lot of it is that our inner knowing is dismissed from a young age. We are conditioned to ignore those signs in lieu of outward ‘signs’ usually designated as having value by others. Investment in those signs defined by others can often have people overlooked when they are sad – we may even overlook our own sadness at times. And what a treat to get to have met him!!

  9. Great post A. Lynn 🙂 I have always enjoyed your posts…..thanks for sharing 🙂 Shared for you as well…..

  10. rozbeads says:

    Appreciate your thoughts on his death and how it can relate to how we live.

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