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Archive for October, 2007

This taught me a lesson,
but I’m not sure what it is
John McEnroe

We’re all trapped in a university with no walls, admission fees or desirable exits. We’re presented with exams every moment of every day. They’re all open book, nothing is forbidden, everything is allowed. You can collaborate or work alone. It’s both our private choice and our personal consequence. What could be easier?

For starters, there are no clues as to what the next test might cover. Each one is tailored to the individual, totally unique – every one a pop quiz. With no warning it suddenly matters what we know. Don’t cry foul. It’s not unfair. It is what it is. Ready for the next test?
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I was recently asked if I believed in an afterlife. Here’s my response.

There is no more anything after the door closes, than there was before it opened.

What we have is Now – a brief time between the cradle and the grave – we fill it how we choose. With friends and hugs, fine wine and apple pie, with Love and fear, with darkness and the crackling of a camp fire.

The time we have is precious. Carpe Diem isn’t a cliché, it’s the way to pack all the experience possible into the silences between the ticks of the clock and the drumbeats of our heart.

We make our connections to those around us by reaching out. We make judgments and decisions based upon the information at hand. We learn to trust until that trust is betrayed. We make mistakes. We make it up as we go along. We learn. We grow.

We’re both alone in our heads unable to share real intimacy with others, and we’re tied inextricably to everything around us – from the rocks at our feet to the stars above.

We mourn those who leave before us, and if we pay attention we learn we have many things in common with those who remain behind – from the salt of our tears to our desire for companionship.

Life Now is all we have. The journey from ‘here’, to the final ‘there’, exists for us to enjoy, to share or to squander. It’s our choice. Life is only what we make of it and everything we make of it. We are our own creators. We are our own Gods. We need no other.

What do I live for? Laughter, joy, love, companionship, hugs, the smell of a flower, the beauty of a sunset, the sound of a heart beating other than my own, the gentle snore of a loved one sleeping soundly in my arms – and all of this is possible for anyone who breathes. It’s here. Now. Not behind a door that closes all too soon for some. We can enjoy it now.

I stand in awe of devices that let me see and speak to the other side of this globe and wherever people, or our avatar devices, have gotten to. I’m amazed by the machines we build which will one day ask about their maker. I’m astounded by the ability of artists to create objects that speak directly to my personal sense of beauty and to that same sense, in thousands if not millions, of others – thereby proving how much we have in common.

And we create all these things from the clay beneath our feet. Where once we cowered in caves, we now erect towers that allow us see beyond the horizon. We watch birds in flight and fish in the deeps and find ways to share their private domains. We go where before we could not go. Each generation builds on the past, and this place we live in becomes the place we could once only dream of.

Each of us in passing chooses either to add or subtract from that dream. If we have a purpose it is self generated. Leaving this space in the void better than when we arrived is a goal sufficient and difficult enough to be worthy of the attempt. What do we need of the supernatural that is missing in what we can touch and affect?

We’re all wanderers on a one time wondrous path. There’s nothing before the entrance, or after the exit. For better or worse, everything that is good and bad on that well worn trail is what we bring to it. We build our experience between those two stone gates protecting us for a short time from the void.

Enjoy the day – it’s all we have.

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And scribbled lines like fallen hopes
On backs of tattered envelopes
Francis Hope

The pen flows effortlessly over paper, an idle thought, a line in time, a beat of life, a bird in flight, the awakening dream. Bang! Your attention’s caught again, the note’s discarded, back to work, no time for gathering wool, for dawdling, for doodling.

“I’m not creative, can’t draw, can’t paint, can’t write…” Yet blank paper is consumed when attention fades and pen’s in reach.
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