Whoever we are, and whatever what we have accomplished in our life, we all eventually face the same fears: fears of being old, ill, of being a burden to our families, fears of going insanity, of losing liberty, losing dignity, of being neglected in our old age, and last but not least, the fear of facing the biggest unknown in our lives, death. (Unless, of course, if scientists find a way to preserve our mind in artificial/cloned bodies… but let’s ignore this scenario for now.)
With age we meet the consequences of our youth – the consequences of the way we treated our body, the rewards of our study, our experiences, our toil, and of the memories of our years… and the haunts of the same. We enjoy any assets we have earned for ourselves, or live out the consequences of a lack of them. We suffer the balding and wrinkles of our worry, and the sicknesses of our stress. No matter how well we do in the game of life, as the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “we all share a common destiny”.
How can we transcend these fears? In a way we can’t. Unless we die young, we will all be old one day. Most of us will end up sick, with dementia or disease, fat, ugly, in a nursing home… and all of us will, one day, die.
So I have decided not to run from death. I may as well just accept it – build a bridge and get over it.
Instead I ask myself a new question: How can I make the most of TODAY? If there is something I want to do, then I will try to do it. If I want to go back to Latin America, and if I can save enough money this next six months to do so, then I will.
I ask myself: what is my life purpose? In which direction does fulfilling my physical, mental, and creative potential lie? I try to listen to my intuition, to imagine where my skills and talents could be of most value, and then I try to follow the signs and manifest my vision into my reality.
I have, at times, asked myself if this approach to life – focusing on yourself, seeking to fulfill your creative destiny – is a selfish way to live?
Farhad Azad, my Iranian friend from Nepal, explained the difference between selfishness and what he called “self-love”, with a powerful metaphor:
“Imagine you am a wine glass, full of wine, with empty glasses surrounding you,” he said. “You want to share the wine you have with those who have none, and there are a number of ways you can do it. One way is to pour what you have between the empty glasses. Everyone ends up with a little, but no one has enough. No one is really satisfied, and you am left with nothing.
Alternatively instead of sharing what you have in your glass, you can find ways to continue filling up your own glass with more wine. You can keep filling it so much that it starts to overflow and fill up the other glasses. Eventually all the glasses will be full and they too will overflow into more empty glasses.
That is the benefit of loving one’s self: like the wine, self-love overflows, and causes others to love themselves more, and eventually everyone has a full glass of wine.”
The more we care for ourselves, the more we can care for others. The more we open our minds, the more we will learn, and the more we will inspire others to do the same. The more of us that allow our intuition (instead of money) to take the lead in our daily life decisions, the more of us will enjoy the feeling of fulfillment that comes from working toward our creative potential.
The more others see us do this, the more they will seek their own potential, and like a virus the creativity will spread, causing humanity as a whole to move toward our ultimate peak of collective creativity.
So… I think it’s important to remember:
MOMENTO MORI (we are mortal and will die)… so CARPIDIUM (seize the day). The best thing we can do during our time in this world, is love ourselves, and let our love overflow into the world.
Maybe we can learn from the Mayfly?