"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." ~ William James
"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." ~ Mark Twain
I watched Source Code this week and found myself getting emotional, which could very well likely be a combination of PMS and the right phase of my life, but either way, it got me. Sometimes something strikes you at the right time, multitudinous variables coalesce into a perfect moment, and we. feel. The suggestion from a friend that you hear, differently. The right words strung together in the proper sentence. Poetic nostalgia. The breaking open and letting go of beliefs you’ve convinced yourself are meaningful. A warm evening with a cool breeze on a black night, stars scattered across the heavens. The moving on. Forgiveness. The sands of time, smiling sweetly.
Sunsets in the middle of the still desert. Nothing to do but. Feel.
Tell me. Are you here with me?
As always, I won’t pretend to have the answers, or to know what it is that’s going on in the dance we call life. However, I’ve told you — time and time again — this will not stop me from asking the meaningful questions. I have a curiosity, an unending desire to know. Don’t you remember?
"Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love." ~ Rumi
By the time the film was ending I was crying my eyes out, not that sweet and soft cry, where the tears seem to fall gently and effortlessly. No, I’m talking ugly cry, violent, somehow effortful and yet, reminiscent of yielding. Simultaneous. Half sob half convulsion, mouth open, pained, lungs wide — gasping for breath. One of those snot-dripping, blowing my nose with rough recycled toilet paper, kind of cries (I know, you can say it, I’m THAT girl).
So here I am, feeling. I’m crying for a variety of reasons — so many, it’s hard to pinpoint which one is the actual impetus. There’s no indication that the tears will stop flowing anytime soon, and so, I allow. There’s something inexplicably healing about the release of emotion, the surrender of resistance. Letting go. I was filled with a mixture of melancholy and appreciation. The mysticism of contradiction. The tears kept falling, so, I began writing, and this is what came to mind. Maybe it’ll mean something to you, but then again, maybe it won’t. Maybe it doesn’t matter whether it does or it doesn’t, because writing it meant something to me, and maybe that’s the point — enjoying the process of touching words, with pen on paper.
"Live by the light of your own heart... but make sure this heart is silent and empty." ~ Mooji
Ink spills like blood down my fingertips. Words course through my veins. Ceaseless. Different and yet, familiar, every time. Comfortingly instinctual, as if I was born with the effervescence of their taste on the tip of my tongue. Endless arrangements, letters transformed to sound — collaboration. Even when there isn’t the clarity to pinpoint words rightly, the words remain. I am steeped in them. Even when jumbled, the words never leave me.
I accuse them of failing me, here, when I’m in a place where I haven’t the clarity to feel them, to hear them, to see them. They touch me in the fog, electricity, pins and needles — static just under the skin. The gentle grazing, the goosebumps — I feel them before the syllables move past my lips — before they have been thought or uttered, heard or written. It is here that I blame them. aimlessly. After all, it may appear that words are just words, that they offer me no more solid ground to stand on than my thoughts about these words — made up representations, mutually agreed upon symbols. Fleeting. But. Hear me out, what if they’re more than that? These words that never leave me.
"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Come with me. I want to take you to a place, a world where what you say and what you do matter. Somewhere faraway from here. A place where thoughts and words materialize into the very world you live in. Come with me to this world of make believe, do not be frightened now, you will not be lost. This world will be waiting for you, here. Take my hand, walk with me. Together we’ll pass through the forest of understanding, eyes gazing up towards the heavens, sights set upon the swaying of the wise trees, we’ll skip, and dance, and light warm fires beneath the midnight blue sky. Walk with me to the valleys of creation. Sunsets in the middle of the still desert. Nothing to do but. Feel.
Tell me. Are you here with me?
Come, take my hand, close your eyes, feel my words — play pretend.
What if the decisions you made now impacted someone else, somewhere else? immediately.
What if what you did in this universe mattered in an alternate one?
What if it mattered in this one? Here and now.
Would you think and act differently? Who would you be?
If you had 8 minutes left to live, and you knew at the start of those 8 minutes, how would you spend them?
Listen carefully. Close your eyes, feel my words. It does not interest me where you would spend them, but HOW?
No matter where you were, how would you choose to be? How would you spend your 8 minutes?
I think I would spend mine happy.
"Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things." ~ Frank A. Clark
If only this was the way we saw our lives, in a way where they felt like they mattered. I promise you, when you have 8 minutes left to live. Life matters.
We throw our lives away, chasing things we think are important, chasing things we think matter — more than we do.
This has been our conditioning, but what if — come, take my hand, close your eyes, feel my words — what if you were wherever you are now... reading this... and I told you that you had 8 minutes left to live. How would you spend them?
How would you treat those around you? How would you choose to interact with the finite life before you?
"A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life." ~ Charles Darwin
Come, take my hand, close your eyes, feel my words. It’s time to play pretend.
You see, we experience a finite existence, but it’s much longer than 8 minutes, and in that time we tend to forget. We forget that we aren’t promised tomorrows, we forget how good to it feels to love, and how right it feels to forgive. We forget how much it matters to take time for kindness, and that this, surely matters, much more than the minuscule and insignificant details of life that we get so riled up over.
What truly matters, to you?
Now listen, 8 minutes isn’t enough time to take that dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take to Paris, it isn’t enough time to quit your job and start a new one, it isn’t enough time to leave the life you’re scared you’ve settled for, but it is enough time to change the path you’re choosing. Close your eyes, feel my words — it’s enough time to change everything.
I don’t care where you are, driving in traffic, late to a meeting, annoyed at your partner, pissed off at the kids, wherever you are — whatever you’re feeling — how would you show up for those last 8 minutes?
Would you choose to be afraid? Would you choose to wallow in your pity? Would you choose to cause yourself to panic and beg “God why me?” Would you waste your last 8 minutes?
Do you think you could just accept it? Could you look at life spanned out in front of you, could you do so with longing in your gaze? Appreciation for each breath and passing moment. Would you have the clarity to look at things differently?
Do you think you’d choose to be happy?
Why is it that 8 minutes left to live could change so much? Is 50 years more really that much longer? Do we have to wait to be near the end of our life to appreciate it?
They say that time is relative, an illusion. No more solid ground to stand on than my thoughts — made up representations, mutually agreed upon symbols. Fleeting. But. Hear me out, what if this time was a blessing?
What is it you’re actually waiting on to be happy? I have a curiosity, an unending desire to know. Tell me. Is it worth it?
"You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Close your eyes, hear my words. They say that time is relative. If I didn’t have a tomorrow I’d do what feels good today, and I don’t mean superficially good, I mean truly good. Something of substance, flesh, bone, blood — real. I would choose to do something meaningful.
I would look at strangers with more compassion, I would take the time to pet the cats more, I would say thank you and I would be softer. I would be sweeter to myself and wouldn’t put myself down so much. I would have a heart filled with more love and less attachment. I would apologize more frequently, even when I thought I was right, I would think of the sweet parts of my life — the memories with people that I love(d) no matter how short the time was, spent together. I would forgive, easily and effortlessly... because the weight of self righteousness is a painful cross to bear. I would see life through new eyes, cleansed by the salt you only find in ocean and tears. I would forget the bad stuff, because it doesn’t really matter much anyhow — I would let go. I would free myself from the should haves and how comes. I would walk gently and take the time to feel the wind kiss me softly. I would make love to every moment with every breath and beat of my heart. I would fall in love, again and again, and then again just for good measure. I wouldn’t cry over those that didn’t want me, I wouldn’t argue with those that didn’t meet my standards and expectations — I would let it be just as it was, however it was. I would melt more and fight less, I would be along for the experience. Tasting the sweetness of life and forgetting all the rest. After all, what really matters more than sweetness?
I would tell more truth and believe less lies. I would appreciate when an early morning phone call, from someone I love, woke me after a long night of drinking. I would complain less and love a whole hell of a lot more. I would laugh more, I’d have more fun — no matter what it was I “had” to do, I would soak up every minute of it. I would feel compassion for those who had a lifetime to live — those that had longer than my 8 minutes — because living is hard, when we forget that it isn’t forever. Mmhhh. We’re so quick to forget.
"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." ~ Maya Angelou
I would feel the tightness in my low back and remember that it’s a sign of living. I would remember days at the park, the days I was there just because I wanted to be, and the peace of my feet upon the grass. I would stop comparing, because these 8 minutes and how I show up to them, are all that really matter anyhow, and comparing has never been scientifically shown to help anyone — contrary to what you’d think, considering our obsession with it. I would be grateful for my life, no matter what it looked like. I would appreciate the moments I had, the chances to experience it — the moments I lived.
I would hold more hands and give more hugs. I would care less about leaving conversations on things that didn’t matter to me. I would tell people “it’s going to be okay” more often, even when I wasn’t sure if it was, because we never really know what’s coming next, or what okay even means, but it feels good to hear, and it holds us in a pleasant comfort. Anyways, it always does somehow seem to be okay, doesn’t it?
I would remind people of their successes and forget all their failures, what does failure even mean anyhow? I would remember that none of us really know what we’re doing and we’re all just trying our best. I would take all the same risks I ever did for love, because the pain of it doesn’t matter, but the warmth of connection will never leave me — no matter where I go, I won’t forget that. I would compliment people more and be less critical of everything, I wish people did that more often. I would take a bath, just to feel the water and I would play “Higher Love,” but the James Vincent McMorrow version, and “Frozen Pines” by Lord Huron, and I would sing, and I wouldn’t care about the sound of my voice because to sing would just feel so good.
"The best way to prepare for death is to live life to its fullest." ~ John Bytheway
Why is it that we seem to care so much about life and the way we’re living it — at the finish line — when it’s being taken from us?
Surely we want to appreciate our lives more while we still get the opportunity and the pleasure of living.
What if we really looked at life like an adventure, and it wasn’t just something cool we say to sound like a spiritual hipster. What if we lived by the trending words we speak, and spoke as if what we had to say mattered.
Come, take my hand, close your eyes, feel my words. Tell me. Are you here with me?
Because at the end of your life, if none of it really matters — and nobody is keeping score — doesn’t all of it matter? You’re in the driver seat of your own life — I’m asking you, where do you want to go?
How do you want to experience it?
Do we really need to experience life being over, before we realize what it really means to be alive? Do we need to wait until we have 8 minutes left, to make it meaningful?
If I had 8 minutes left to live, I think I would choose to be happy.
Come, take my hand, hear my words, let me tell you... "it's going to be okay."