“There is no light without shadows, just as there is no happiness without pain.” Isabel Allende, Portrait in Sepia
“Allow the power to flow through you. Don’t try to capture it. You wish only to borrow it.” G.G. Collins
Tuesday March 20th is the first day of spring and the forecast is for 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow followed by 3-5 more inches on Wednesday (of course I expect them to be wrong as usual).
Ernest Hemingway once said: “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.” He’s probably not the best one to give that kind of advice but let’s go with that.
Sunday I read an article in The New York Times called Outing Death. It’s about an app called WeCroak that sends you reminders that we are only immortal for a limited time.
From the WeCroak website: “Find happiness by contemplating your mortality with the WeCroak app. Each day, we’ll send you five invitations at randomized times to stop and think about death. It’s based on a Bhutanese folk saying that to be a happy person one must contemplate death five times daily.
The WeCroak invitations come at random times and at any moment just like death. When they come, you can open the app for a quote about death from a poet, philosopher, or notable thinker.” Yes all this and more for only 99 cents.
I’m also rereading Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death, a happy little book that won the Pulitzer Prize two months after the author’s own death. As Becker says: “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else.”
I hope the WeCroak invitations are a little less depressing. The example in the Times article is by W. H. Auden: “Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic.”
Tip: if you hear the sound of distant thunder at your next picnic, ditch the potato salad and run for cover. Avoid plumbing including sinks, baths and faucets, stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. Or just hope for the best, if the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.
In The Art of Happiness the Dalai Lama said: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” In other words, take the dog for a ride.
The dictionary defines contentment as the state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.
Socrates said: “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” Yes, but I want more…
I was in a greenhouse yesterday looking at seeds and starter plants, it was really a beautiful place to be, and for almost three minutes I was content. A cat calmly strolled in and completely ignored me, or so I thought.
I remember Eckhart Tolle saying something about cats as Zen masters, so I asked this cat to teach me about contentment. Again he ignored me, but I watched him.
He walked carefully between the rows of flowers and herbs, and I wondered if he was telling me to take time to smell the flowers. Then he began eating them, and I wasn’t sure if this was a sign to eat healthier or to do whatever makes you happy.
After he finished destroying a basil plant he hopped off the table and headed to his favorite place, which was literally the best seat in the house. He lay down on some warm boards in front of a sunny window, and looked at me as if to say: take a picture it’ll last longer, and then went to sleep.
If he was trying to tell me something I missed it, and on the way home I thought about new motorcycles, mansions and yachts, just a few of the things I feel I need to be content.
But I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted, I had enough money for lunch, and I had a picture of a Zen cat.
Charles M. Schulz said: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.”
Maybe that was his message; maybe I simply needed a catnap. So I went home and took a nap in my warm bed in front of a sunny window, and it was good. Now all I need is to move into this greenhouse and start eating plants.
There’s a great shade tree to park my bike under, my yacht will be moored of course, and as Elmer J. Fudd taught us, nobody really needs a mansion.
I saw this car for sale in Cecil County, Maryland and had to take a look, and a photo. I think it’s a 1951 Chevrolet with a 3 speed 235 inline 6, but that’s just a wild guess.
Back in the 50’s a big car was a goal for most working men. It was a sign of success, and for many it was a very important thing to have.
After achieving that goal, other important things to have were a big house, a big pool, and a big bank account. If everything went well, one day they could retire in style and play golf, fish or do whatever they loved to do in their golden years.
If their bank account was big enough, they might eventually move into a luxury nursing home, with manicured lawns and comfortable chairs to sit on and think, think about what was important in their lives. Chances are it wasn’t any of the things that they thought would make them happy.
Freud said that successful living means functioning well in love and work. One of his quotes on this is; “Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is.”
You might want to figure out what is important to live a successful life now, rather than when you’re sitting in that chair, complaining that your soup is cold, and thinking about all the things that you could have done differently.