Animals alone are given the privilege of lifting the veil of Isis; men dare not. The animal, awake, has no fictional escape from the Real because he has no imagination. Man, awake, is compelled to seek a perpetual escape into Hope, Belief, Fable, Art, God, Socialism, Immortality, Alcohol, Love. From Medusa-Truth he makes an appeal to Maya-Lie." —Jack London
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
That last line, “Health brings a freedom very little realize, until they no longer have it.” really hit me. You are always told live this day like it could be your last, but this bit of description and this line of text made me really feel it’s weight. That could be me sitting there looking back on it all. It really could.
It seems significant that we don’t want things to be quiet, ever, anymore.” Stores and restaurants have their ubiquitous Muzak or satellite radio; bars have anywhere between 1 and 17 TVs blaring Fox and soccer; ads and 30-second news cycles play on screens in cabs, elevators and restrooms. Even some libraries, whose professional shushers were once celebrated in cartoon and sitcom, now have music and special segregated areas designated for “quiet study,” which is what a library used to be.
From the NYT article:
People are louder, too. They complain at length and in detail about their divorces or gallbladders a foot away from you in restaurants. A dreaded Amtrak type is the passenger who commences prattling on her cellphone the instant she sits down and doesn’t hang up until she gets to her stop, unable to bear an undistracted instant in her own company. People practice rap lyrics on the bus or the subway, barking doggerel along with their iPods as though they were alone in the shower. Respecting shared public space is becoming as quaintly archaic as tipping your hat to a lady, now that the concept of public space is as nearly extinct as hats, and ladies.
Alan Watts was a great man. A truly brilliant teacher. This is really inspirational, but it always leads me to think of the next logical step, which is that if we all only did what we wanted to do, who would be there to take haul away the trash and bury the bodies of the dead? I do like this speech, though, on the level of making you think: What is REALLY the point of making sure we earn enough money? I mean, you need a roof over your head and food, but isn’t that kind of all I need? Do people really need to commute for 2 hours a day and do heartless and soulless work for some green pieces of paper with a pyramid on them? Seems stupid and a waste of valuable time that’s slipping away.
Imagine another life form. That’s 1% different from us. In the direction that we are different from the chimp. Think about that. We have 1% difference and we are building the Hubble telescope. Go another 1%. What are we to they? We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence. That’s what we would be.
They would take Stephen Hawking and roll him in front of their primate researchers and say well this one is like the most brilliant among them ’cause he can sorta do astrophysics in his head. Aw. Isn’t that cute. Little Johnny can do that too. Well that’s so cute. In fact, Johnny just did that… let me just get it… it’s on the refrigerator door. Here it is. He did it in his elementary school class. Think about how smart they would be. Quantum mechanics would be intuitive to their toddlers. Whole symphonies would be written by their children. And like I said, just put up on the refrigerator door- the way our pasta collages are on our refrigerator doors.
– Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson
via tiainkorea transcript of Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson
To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
“I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.”
What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone. What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it.
But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
– Sterling Hayden
Since its publication in 1963, Sterling Hayden’s autobiography, Wanderer, has been surrounded by controversy. The author was at the peak of his earning power as a movie star when he suddenly quit. He walked out on Hollywood, walked out of a shattered marriage, defied the courts, broke as an outlaw, set sail with his four children in the schooner Wanderer-bound for the South Seas. His attempt to escape launched his autobiography.
we need to realize that we don’t have to impress anyone but ourselves and the things we decide to do and the people we decide to be around don’t have to be accepted by anyone but us because what matters is how we feel about our lives, not what other people think because those are just thoughts and opinions and you must be happy with your life in order to be okay in this world so give ‘em the finger and keep on doing what feels right to you and you’ll attract the people you want around
I like Foxy Shazam as a band a LITTLE, I like their name A LOT, but I love their lead singer Eric’s lesson videos a WHOLE LOT. This one is my favorite. Gets me charged up. Also, there’s a bird on his finger.
<Warning: Don’t watch this video if you are offended by the word m*therf*cker.>
You should live your life like it’s a movie, and you’re the hero of the movie. When you make decisions in your life, think to yourself, “What would the good guy do in the movie?” – and then do that in your own life.
– Joe Rogan
Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value. Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point – that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you. There is only one alternative – self-value. If you cannot love yourself, you will not believe that you are loved. You will always think it’s a mistake or luck. Take your eyes off others and turn the scanner within. Find the seeds of your jealousy, clear the old voices and experiences. Put all the energy into building your personal and emotional security. Then you will be the one others envy, and you can remember the pain and reach out to them.
Stuff your eyes with wonder,” he said, “live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,” he said, “shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
– Ray Bradbury