Looking Out My Back Window #291

Originally posted on Facebook HERE

Every Sunday (along with a couple Saturdays) for going on six years now, I’ve sat down wherever I am and written a post about my thoughts on life, and love, and anything else that’s going on on that day. It’s part of my routine now. I don’t have to do it at all. I’m not exactly sure how or why it started and how or why it’s still going, I guess. But here we are. Even if nobody reads it, it helps me. These posts help me sort through my own thoughts and beliefs, and the feedback I get has been fantastic as well. Some posts get more attention than others. Some fall flat. But life is like that, right? We take our best shots, and it doesn’t always work out. As much as we strive for perfection, perfection is always an unattainable goal. And today, as I sit here writing, I have so many questions. Why does life on this planet entail so much suffering? You can’t live without suffering. Animals kill other animals to survive. Death by being eaten can’t be a pleasant experience. Accidents happen all the time. People break bones, cut things off, have things fall on them, smash their cars, etc… people die. Pets die. Every living thing dies. To live is to suffer. I believe it might have been Nietzsche who said “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering”. And this is where I often find myself. Trying to find meaning within the suffering. We are all living out a death sentence. We just don’t know when life will pull the plug, or how. And being mindful of that should determine, in part, how we live. I think for many people, myself included, we like to try to do things that will live on long after we’re gone. Create music, artwork, books, build things, have a family… I read a synopsis of a book called “The Denial of Death” recently by Ernest Becker. It was written on his deathbed as he was dying from colon cancer. In it he makes two points – #1 is that humans are the only animals that can conceptualize and think about ourselves abstractly. #2 is that we have two “selves”. The physical self, and the conceptual self. And, because we know the physical self will die, we try to construct a conceptual self that will live forever. He calls this our “immortality projects”. My own immortality project entails trying to find some meaning within the suffering and sharing my thoughts with you. But I also love to create things. Music, books… relationships. I know a lot of people. I have many, many people I call friends. And it is my hope that most people I know will find their life somehow improved for having a relationship with me, however that is. Nothing is ever 100%, of course. But I do the best I can, always. And when you live from that space, with love in your heart, your memory will linger on in the minds of the people you touched long after you’re gone. Some days you knock the ball out of the park, some days you strikeout, and every once in a while you take a swing and think you missed it by a mile but you hit a home run. Or vice versa. Every day is a learning experience, and I have a lot to learn yet.

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