I can't remember what I said or even how I said it. Whatever our exchange was Anthony started laughing in his usual unreserved and contagious manner. So much joy in his voice ...
All of a sudden though the other side of the phone line went silent. Way too abruptly. Way too quiet.
I, nor anyone else, were to ever enjoy his living presence again.
It took me years to not feel an instant sinking feeling whenever a phone call dropped or the person when silent for just a bit more than a few seconds.
On that chilly December evening in the late nineties I learned a valuable lesson that has stayed with me since.
Earlier that fateful day I had shared a concern with my girlfriend about something that I felt could stand in the way of my friendship with Anthony.
I felt quite uncomfortable about it and I was hesitant to bring it up for clarification.
However, when the phone rang that evening and I found Anthony on the line something compelled me to just get on with it and share my concerns with him straight away.
I feel so grateful I somehow found the courage to do so.
Not only did his answer to my question completely and instantly diffuse my concerns but my memory of him would have been coloured by what had been troubling me if I had not asked that question there and then.
Which brings me to the one question you are most likely not asking yourself --but should.
What if this is the last time I see or speak to this person?
To me this question is one of the most uplifting and positive questions I can ask myself.
It has enriched my life beyond measure because it forces me to be fully present, giving and curious when I am with people.
I believe that people are what is most precious and important in our lives. I also believe we are here to give and not take from the world.
Therefore be quick to thank and acknowledge people.
Be keen on expressing your love at the earliest opportunity and contribute to someone's life.
We mostly take it for granted that there will be another moment in which we will see or talk to someone again or even simply enjoy their company.
However, circumstances change, often unexpected. People die or disappear from our lives. We have all experienced it.
Since asking myself this question on a regular basis I have found that it directs me to make the most of almost every interaction I have with someone. Whether I am with a loved one, a client or a stranger. It doesn't matter.
What do I wish for this person? How do I want to direct our energy when I am with someone? Can I bring a sense of completion to each exchange.
Am I able to simply be and enjoy this moment and their presence?
Do I fully take in a hug? Do I appreciate and acknowledge them? Am I loving, caring and kind?
If you knew this would be the last time you are with someone what would you ask them? What would you share with them? What would you give them?
What would you ask your mentor, your business adviser, your teacher? What about a loved one?
It is this original question of 'what if this is the last time I see or speak to this person?' that triggers all the other questions and intentions.
Of course I don't always get it right and catch myself taking someone's presence for granted. When I am switched on though, magic happens.
Try it for yourself. Regularly start to ask yourself this question and find out how it improves your relationships and the quality of time you spend with people.