Henry Miller once said he didn’t approve of “memorials.” Memorials, he said, “defeated the purpose of a man’s life. Only by living your own life to the full can you honour the memory of someone.” [from Inspiration, or Perhaps we can start by saying what it is not]
Four years ago today, December 26, 2004, nearly 300,000 people in nine countries died in one of the biggest natural disasters in the last century. "Measured in lives lost, this is the single worst tsunami in history," says Wikipedia.
The aftershocks of that collective tragedy still ripple through my life. When I returned to the coastlines of Thailand and Sri Lanka one year later on a pilgrimage to revisit survivors and relief workers, I noted survivor's guilt -- a form of looping thoughts of stress, doubt and guilt that swing from "Maybe if I hadn't gone to the market that morning...There must have been something I could have done differently - but what?! - to save my mother, father, son, daughter, nephew, neighbor, child..." to the core "Why not me?"
Again, "Only by living your own life to the full can you honour the memory of someone.” - Henry Miller
I notice as I write this a constriction in my heart. This past year has been difficult for me. Worse yet, I've been guarded, which actually is the opposite of the one consequence of the tsunami's collective nature (compared to an individual near-death experience): how it broke open my heart.
"Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot." - D. H. Lawrence
I've silenced myself this past year from writing and speaking, both publicly and one-on-one. Can't say it hot when I myself have snuffed my fire out. Which is stupendously strange for someone that vowed to never settle in the aftermath of the tsunami, and reiterated, if not on the day I die, then not today.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
This quote is so often quoted that it's clichéd. Though it is not common sense. It's a childlike notion. I've been too wrapped up in trying to do good, that I've missed the fact that what's the highest good is what's joyous to me without thought - it precedes even a flicker of thought - without an evaluation of maximizing the number of other beings helped. There is no Other being. It's not a numbers game when we are One.
"What are the most innovative, wild things you've ever wanted to do? What was your greatest dream as a child?" - Eric Francis
What's the best journey you could choose for yourself -- a journey that will educate, challenge, and delight you? - Rob Brezsny, December 25, 2008
In last day or so, I've read: Cormac McCarthy wrote his first novel while working as an auto mechanic in Chicago. John Wray wrote his first novel "while living in a tent in the basement of a warehouse in Brooklyn with no heat and no shower." Jason Rohrer fights his town council to allow his meadow to grow free in his front lawn, owns four pairs of boxers, eats lentil soup everyday to do his video game experimental art on $14,500 a year (for a family of four). They'd all be considered crazy according to the standards I was raised in.
I desperately need more crazy people in my life. I desperately need to be this crazy person that guides myself.
p.s. I can tell you the answers I've come up to the above questions, but I'd like to give you the opportunity to answer them yourself. It's also a moment by moment thing. Think young child, they don't have a grand scheme, they flow with the Tao (...which is the grand scheme.) Now, the daffodil captures their attention, next the cardboard box morphing into a castle into a stargate into neverending story on the floor, next the .... It's Mystery unfolding.
Life is not a dress rehearsal, is a framed calligraphy quote I had hanging as a young adult. It was just a slogan then.
Bonus 1: "Your career astrology is so good that you risk it going right over your head. That is to say, your astrology is saying aim extremely high, but most people have no idea what that means, even a lot of smart ones. So let me say it another way.
What are the most innovative, wild things you've ever wanted to do? What was your greatest dream as a child? What is your greatest vision for your contribution to the world? That is the place to start. You need to judge your career by some standard other than the job you want to get out of. You need to judge by some standard other than your résumé." - Eric Francis
Bonus 2: "When it is time to make a change, (and in these times we are making changes every five minutes as we are "morphing" so fast!) we become discontented with where we are. Our work, our living situations or even perhaps our entire lives no longer feel good. This is the nudge that is guiding us to make a change. And the way to guide yourself through this change is to do what makes you feel good. It's that simple.
If something no longer feels good to you and is not working for you anymore, discontinue it as soon as you are comfortable doing so. It is no longer working because you are no longer in that space. Something new is waiting for you. If we were to stay in the old space out of mental rationalization, the new opportunities and manifestations could not find us. If there is something you always wanted to do but didn't think it made sense to do, do it anyway. If you do not know what to do, then fill as much of your day with things that make you feel great and the new will arrive on its' own. Always, always put yourself first. Follow your heart. Make time for you and the universe will get the picture.
...This is one of the reasons why the ascension process places us in a space where we can become disenchanted with life. We are only supposed to be in our passion and in the energies that light us up. Stay in these as much as possible. We are becoming the pure gold nugget of our true selves..." - Karen Bishop, The Ascension Primer