If you’re the type of person who pushes the ‘soft’ side of life and emotional reflections to the background so you can just get on with things, you probably won’t enjoy this post… and that’s probably why you might like to push through anyway and read it through to the end.

For the past twenty years plus now I have had the privilege of sharing the conference speaking stage with some amazing speakers. Some are educators, some philosophers, some professionals, some sporting greats, some adventurers. And then there are those who have had a moment in their life where some tragedy has affected them in such a way, that their main message for us all is to treat our life as the privilege it is.

Having completed a number of marathons over the past decade, as I watched this week, the Boston marathon bombing footage on television, the thing that caught my attention at first, just before the bomb went off, was the time clock above the finish line. It registered that the marathon runners who were about to finish as the bomb exploded had been on the road for 4 hours and 10 minutes. That’s a pace-time for a marathon runner of just under 6 minutes per kilometre.

I know it might seem odd that I focused on the clock, and of course, I was horrified by the bombing and the death and injuries, and my thoughts and prayers go out to those injured, to their families and to the families of those who were so tragically killed.

But that clock was just so fixed in my mind, and I’ve thought deeply about why.

That marathon clock, registering the time of 4 hours and 10 minutes with the seconds ticking by, was sending the same clear message to me, just like those speakers who I’ve been privileged to share the stage with, who through tragedy and adversity tell their stories to remind us to treasure our lives more mindfully and more often… because it can all change in the flash of a second.

My visit to my gratitude journal this week was a time of reflection. I didn’t write anything on purpose – instead, I flicked through the pages, stopped every now and then, reading, reflecting and just being thankful.

I gave more hugs and held on a little longer this week. I was mindfully aware of being more mindfully aware of the people I was meeting with this week and how blessed we all are to be living our lives.

So if you’ve got to the end of this post, and despite the emotional context, it has caused you to at least think for this moment about the privilege you have of living the life you live, then you and I both have just made the world a little bit better than it was before I wrote the post, and before you read it.

Moments like the Boston bombing are repeated daily in some instances in some countries around the world that we will never hear about. Moments that create unexpected injuries and death of loved ones happen every day – they occur in car crashes, and other accidents of life… and we may never hear about them.

Unless they happen to someone we know, at which time our own humanity becomes more than just a reflection caused by an image and news story on the television.

Be grateful, be thankful, hug your loved ones, and be mindfully aware of the blessing it is to have the relationships we have (even the tough ones that teach us as well).