Monday, October 26, 2015

Avoid the Trap

I am often surprised by the number of people I know who, at the mere mention of the name "Steve Jobs," immediately have a negative comment to make. Whew! How much energy it must take to hold on to the psychic energetic of judgement.

What I find is that the man, the human we all knew and loved or hated as the case may be, was brilliant.

This quote struck me full in the face following on the heels of last weekend's Death:OK event. Like monkey-bread, it fell into three distinct yet related pieces. Unlike monkey-bread, it was by no means sugar-coated.

The first piece was the very start, "Remembering that you are going to die...." Who wants to remember that? Our culture is so intensely death-averse that the mention of remembering and my own personal death in the same phrasing shocks my system. Yet I certainly have more years behind me than before me. Friends and loved ones have died, some at ages younger than mine currently.

The final piece that struck me was "You are already naked." Huh? I'm sitting in a public coffee shop, drinking a cuppa ~~ so I know he's not talking about my physical being. Yet coupled with the first piece of remembering my own mortality, I must admit that I am already undone, exposed, uncomfortably visible. Like everyone around me, I am going to die one day. Is my pretense of physical immortality fooling anyone? I seriously doubt it.

It's the middle part, "avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose" that hit like a sucker punch to the solar plexus and left me breathless. Here's one of the most creative minds of our time, who'd already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and survived it once, giving a commencement speech at Stanford University and talking about death.

"Avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." I consider the number of times I stopped myself from doing something, going somewhere, facing a challenge, because I thought I might lose something ~ prestige or power or appearing knowledgeable or a person's caring. In the end, at some point, all those things washed out to sea anyway and returned different on the next tide.

I'm grateful for my life, my health, my family and friends as well as an entire host of other things. Right now, I'm grateful for the words of a creative genius who died too young yet left an incredible legacy to the world.

What strikes you most strongly in the quote? Why? Do you resist remembering that you are going to die? Why or why not? How does talking about death and mortality affect you? What might you consider doing if you avoided the trap and threw caution to the wind?

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