Everyone’s going home
To the source.
And you’re place in it.
Everyone’s going home
To the source.
And you’re place in it.
The change, based on the grouping of days spent in one trip around the sun. So we leave the time period called 2015 and enter the time period called 2016. And our ride of 2015 has been done. Forever. And we begin the 2016 part, but that will end, too. And each of these parts of our life end, the ticket for each ride extinguishes in our hands. It’s still in our memory, but we’re never getting it back.
So the “new year” is a good time to take stock, if only for a moment, even if it’s just for a couple weeks, until another revolution around the sun, to see what we’ve done, and not done, and decide what matters to us.
The mindfulness around this time period is valuable. I’ve made it my practice throughout the year, not just when the numbers flip forward, because I have reached a point in my life that I feel the need to pay attention, even if it is sometimes too much, to make up for not being responsible enough in my earlier life.
So what does the new year matter? Nothing, really. It’s just a reminder that we are all on borrowed time. And the sands of time relentlessly drain from our glass, until one day they won’t, and then we’ll be gone, and whatever wishes we had will be irrelevant because we won’t exist to even realise them.
Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.
If this is something you care about, then SHARE it. Let’s get out of the stands and into the game. Let’s interact.
“You will find no one willing to share out his money; but to how many does each of us divide up his life! People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.
The din of the cafes was growing with the setting sun as he walked the cobblestone streets of Auvers-sur-Oise. He came around the corner and saw the boys as he always did while returning home. The boys were always quarreling over something, distraught, and he always took time to engage them, and soon they’d be distracted by whatever joke he made. Today they were fidgeting over something which he could not see.
When the boys separated he was astonished to see that one was holding a small pistol. “Be careful there,” he stepped forward, hands outstretched, “that is a dangerous toy you have.” He grasped the gun, but the boy did not let go, so the man pulled at it. He did not expect the sound of the firearm exploding and felt confused at the sting in his chest. Still holding the gun at his side, he looked down blankly and realized that the bullet had gone into him. The boys’ stared in surprise, which quickly became fear and they disappeared down the stone street.
Instead of pain, the man felt a curious, focused energy. He walked slow and calm until he found the doctor’s residence. The doctor had returned from his day of house calls and immediately examined him. “I cannot get to it,” he said finally, after they sat in a quiet room with only a clock ticking in the corner. He put a bandage over the wound with expert care, sealing it and the man’s fate. “It will be fine,” he told the man.
“I’m not worried anymore,” the man answered and sighed.
“What happened?” the doctor asked .
The man looked at him warmly “A mistake. I didn’t know what was happening. But I’m feeling better already.”
“Did you do this yourself?” the doctor asked.
The man did not answer, but laid his head back, and gazed out the window. “We don’t know what we do sometimes. I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.”
The doctor glanced at him with narrowed eyes, eyes that knew how to judge the body, but not the mind. Yet even his professional judgment would not help the sepsis taking root in the man’s chest, the infection that would overtake the man’s health, and in a few hours his life.
Vincent Willem van Gogh.
Born: March 30, 1853, Zundert, Netherlands
Happy Birthday, Vincent.
I recall all the time I spent in the gym as a youngin. Two hours easily gone, almost every day. And the exercises weren’t even for fitness as much as appearances. We’re so busy today, time devoted to the gym is a super valuable commodity. Ron Burgundy was so pressed for time that he was forced to sculpt his guns at the office! I’m still trying to find that uvulus muscle of his…
Also, my title is a lie. I don’t have a single best exercise for the gym. What exercise you need depends on what you want. Big arms? Try a mix of testosterone-inducing squats and deadlifts mixed with bicep curls and tricep extensions and rows, all on the standard 3-sets per exercise with a minute or two rest between them. General fitness? Circuit-training: moving between exercises without rest, hitting all the major muscle groups, Men’s Health has some greats ones, see the Spartacus workout for a good example. Pure cardio, for a healthy heart? Interval sprints mixed with steady state running or ellipticalling or whatever interesting leg-gyrating machine your gym has these days (Except for the stationary bike, those are useless. A joke..but it would be my last choice of all the upright machines.)
But what if the gym is more than just exercise?
My time in the gym was back in the days before everyone had earbuds and their own personal radio station going in their head. When I was in the gym, we talked. There was a communion of sorts. Today, the gym is still a great source of connecting with like-minded individuals. You just have a slight barrier of rubber and plastic buffering you from hearing most everyone else. The trend though, is having a shared experience. We are shifting to Crossfit, and yoga, and even hot yoga (because yoga was just too easy, right?!)
But we’ve each got a life. Some of us want to get into the gym, do our business, and get back to our life. I’m definitely in that camp, now that I have so much more I want to accomplish than I did in my twenties. So what do I lose if I plug into my mobile and put a blinder to my surroundings?
We miss everything. Not only does sound get blocked, but what little residual attention we have goes to listening to our podcast, or music, or audio book. And for me, the gym is often the place I catch-up on that podcast or a few chapters of a book. The question is how much time am I actually spending in front of the screen or plugged into my earbuds?
To get this, we sacrifice that. And that could be something we didn’t even know we lost, because we just aren’t paying attention. An interesting conversation, a business opportunity, a romantic opportunity, or simply getting too distracted from what’s in your ear so that you can’t put 100% in your workout…whatever it is. It’s gone.
Can we take care of both body and mind? Surely.
Just stay aware..and leave an earbud out and let a little life in.
A representation of reality.. surrogate for living. The digital opium of friends mashed up into a little screen. A concentrated blasting of relentless emotions, passions and boredom, false truths and true facts, passive aggressive sarcasm, takers, givers, and inspiration.
You make us feel good.
Ironically, you make us feel connected.
I had two friends pass away recently, in such a short period of time. I’ve never lost anyone in my life who I’ve had much interactions or connection to. Even the family members I’ve lost have been disconnected from me. So it’s a strange feeling these past few weeks. A feeling of emptiness, the same that I saw in a friend’s family who lost one of their own, but this time the space missing is in me.
Time is a commodity, but our most precious one, because after we expire, we know of nothing that comes after, except for what our faith and hopes tell us. The end of our time is the end of the world. When I think about the rest of the time I have lost with my friends, I get a true sense of the emptiness.
Our expiration date is a permanent time stamp of the end. My friends’ deaths make me think about my time more carefully. I not only want to do more, to produce something positive for my world, but at the same time, to forget about changing or impacting anything, and instead just living day to day, being present in everything that I do. The pleasure of walking, feeling the ground sending my force back up through my torso, the simple sensation of water against my face, the feel of a steering wheel in my hands.
I stop to look at the sunrises now, more than ever. I enjoy holding someone in a hug, instead of waiting to pull away, I give a smile just because, and I go someplace without a rush. When I get agitated, I stop and am grateful that I can feel this way and let that feeling linger without becoming embroiled in it.
Because that’s the point of death. So that we can appreciate life. The paradox…to fully enjoy life, we must accept the fact that it is going to end. And all our petty anxieties are just that. It’s time to enjoy life…not postpone it for a later that never comes.
The time is now to be responsible for what we’re choosing. Nothing is permanent, so the important thing is to choose SOMETHING. You can change your mind later. But do not wait on circumstance or the bridge to death to make that decision for us.
There is not much to life, its purpose is not complicated, however much we complicate it with our drives and desires. Life is all about being happy, and accepting the sad parts, too. And at the end of the day, it’s about feeling valuable, and doing something of value. And my friends were valuable to me.
You will be missed, guys.
I hope that you lived a life without regret. I will remember your lives by living mine fully present, and trying to contribute to make others’ lives better.
The title quote is from Leo Buscaglia. He was an evangelical champion of love and observed many things about the human condition. From my first readings of his works, I was hooked. And I’ve related it to my experiences with death. Among my other readings, his has helped me solidify my opinion that it’s curiosity that will drive us to happiness. Curiosity means caring. Caring, first for yourself (after all, how can you truly care for others if you can’t care for yourself?), and then start getting curious about your environment, particularly the people in it.
Make yourself one of those who care. Because when you care, you become part of that minority that holds power. Someone valuable. We don’t have to change the world, but we can make a difference in everyone’s life that we interact in. Again from Leo:
“Don’t spend your precious time asking “Why isn’t the world a better place?” It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is “How can I make it better?” To that there is an answer.”
And when we do good things, we contribute to a positive environment, and this will come back and create a better place for us to live. Do good, and good things happen to us. But if we wait for good things, wait on others who care, then the environment we end up in isn’t good. It may not be bad, but it is a limp, stagnant environment. An environment in which you may be financially stable, but without love.
We create the environment we are in, intentionally or not.
So care…about everything you can. Don’t get lost in the troubles of the world. Your vicinity is the best place to do good, with your friends, family, workplace, and neighborhood. Do good things, and good things will happen to you.
There’s nothing spiritual about karma. It’s just the way life works when you live in a community.
I was out walking with Jesse the other day. The sun was setting and the western skies were aglow with shimmering orange and yellow and red. We passed a home with a back yard that was carefully landscaped with evergreen trees. They were clustered within neat rings of stone. A decorative stone bench sat at either end of the yard. There was small, neatly trimmed shrubbery flanking the area.
“That yard looks like a park,” I said.
I thought about the care of the owners to ensure that the branches were trimmed. The stones and benches clear of weeds. The grass surrounding them cut. I said, “I wonder what the yard is going to look like in a hundred years. Will the yard even be there? Will it be destroyed? Will the family have moved on, and will there be another family owning the place?”
The transience of life
I think about how much the yard was appreciated. I think of our constant struggle to keep order. Maintaining our hygiene, cleaning ourselves, walking about, working, exercising, cleaning again. Picking out the soap and shampoo that we like, maybe it’s the cheapest, or the one that has best scent, or the one used in all the salons, or the one that’s not tested on animals.
Finding the restaurant with the tastiest dishes, the ones we must have, and we’ll pay for it, because nothing else is good enough. Maybe getting fast food, because we just want to eat something, anything. Or going to places that get their ingredients locally. Or having a garden, or not eating animals because we do care, we care a lot about our actions…
Does it matter?
Eating, brushing our teeth, eating again, brushing again, stopping the rot, keeping the bacteria at bay. Our diligence! Cutting the grass, cursing the rain, cutting the grass again, trimming bushes.
Again and again and again.
Going shopping to replace worn clothes, or just because it feels good. Trying to make more money, searching for that job that will make us comfortable, that income that’s just out of our reach, if only we could get to it.
Until we don’t do it anymore
Until one day, we stand at the gates to be judged. The gates of truth. Our conscience. And we ask ourselves if we spent our time wisely. Did we make an effort to do the right thing, or did we follow the crowd? Did we work too much, too little? Did we care about our contribution, about the consequences of our actions? Did we care about people, about the future, or did we throw up our hands in helplessness? Did we worry too much, or did we enjoy our life?
I looked at the yard and thought all this, because this is what I do. I thought about the big clock. Tick-tock. And then I stopped thinking of that. And I started appreciating everything a little bit more.
The perfect backyard and the perfect person? Neither is possible. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try for them.