Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dave Matthews - Some Devil

The big D word....

Why do people fear death?  It's frightening for a person to think of complete nonexistence, of just stopping to live, of.... nothing.  Even as I write this, I can feel that weird pressure associated with anxiety welling up in my chest.  But why be afraid?  We know that death is inevitable -- so why worry about it?

I remember the first real experience I ever had with death.  One of my dear friends committed suicide when I was 17.  I walked up to the casket as my friend laid there, completely motionless and colorless.   It was so surreal.  I kept expecting him to wake up, like it was a big joke.  Two years later, I watched my grandmother lose her battle with a brain aneurysm after an accident and three days in a coma.  She was laying in that hospital, completely motionless, as the machine started to slow before finally hitting the single tone.  A tear rolled down her cheek, and I knew that she was off to wherever we end up next.

From there, it's been a long list of friends who have committed suicide, overdosed, and lost battles with cancer, but those two experiences will forever be burned into my mind's eye.  Maybe because of the severity of the trauma related to the experience, maybe because I was so close to them.  Who knows....

But why do we fear death?  We know it will be coming... we know that at any moment, we're done.... so why the fear?  Is it because we have so many things that we want to do with our lives, but are forced to live mundane existences?  Is it the suddenness of it?  The fact that we have no way to determine where or when we will go?  Is it because we don't know what happens afterward?

Maybe it's the fact that death is so abrupt... it's like a little ninja, randomly sneaks up on you (unless you have the unlucky fortune of getting a terminal disease), and bam.... nothing.  Or at least that's what we know for a fact.  The heart stops, the lungs stop, the brain stops, and the bowels let go.  Other than that, no one knows.  There's theories, ideas, suggestions... but nothing substantial. 

My biggest issue is that I am conflicted... I am a spiritual person, with my own beliefs about what happens after death, but that little scientific scholarly voice in my head keeps asking, are you sure?  But we can never really be sure 100%, can we?  Hell, even birth control medication only has a 99.9% success rate. 

Some day, I will experience this next step in life (hopefully not that soon), and I will, for sure, know what happens, and finally be free from the fear.  Until then, I can only hope to live each day to the best of my abilities, and hope that the sun rises for me the next day.  Maybe the fear will subside...

"The fear of death follows  from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." -- Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We're all just walking each other home.....

It's super late, I can't sleep.  I've been watching lame indie movies on Netflix for at least five hours, and perusing the internets like it's going out of style.....

I came across something that really spoke to me tonight.  I had no intention of writing today, because I spent the majority of the day packing my things for the move, but when I came across this, I decided that I needed to share this.

I think this fits in well with yesterday's post, about wanting a community and more connectedness, to feel like I belong to something bigger.  This spoke to me... we are all just walking each other home....

We spend a finite time on this planet, and no one really knows what happens after we move on to the next life (I'm sure we all have different theories).  While we're here, we are meant to connect, gain knowledge, and then "go home" (whether that means a heaven, decomposing in the ground, whatever).  It's a sad and lonely road, if you're walking that road alone. 

It's like when I was a child.  I once lived about two miles out of town, and we didn't have a car, but I would hang out in town until it started to get dark, then start the two mile trek back home.  The times where I have friends were less scary and more enjoyable.  We would tell each other ghost stories while walking by the railroad tracks in the moonlight, and just connect with each other.  We would share secrets and life stories, talk about our hopes for the future, and really get to know each other. 

The nights where I was alone, I was definitely alone.  I was more cautious, I walked faster, and any noise, automatically a serial killer or monster coming to get me.  I was alone, letting my mind go crazy with ideas and scenarios (and this was before I had a cell phone) about how if I were to die, it would be a while before someone found me. 

As adults, it's easy for us to get wrapped up in our daily lives -- schooling, careers, kids, families, bills, company trips, deadlines, you name it.  Just going to get coffee on the weekends at the coffee shop, barely anyone is talking.  Everyone is on their phones and laptops, trying to meet the constraints of life.  People look at you weird if you try to strike up a conversation, and even if you get one to talk, the conversation never really lasts.  I think some of the best times I have had in public is sitting next to a random person, striking up a conversation, and continuing until we both decide it's time to go home (or we're being kicked out because the place is closing).  Regardless of sexual attraction (because let's face it.... it's a common misconception that if a woman strikes up a conversation with a man at the bar, she's just looking to get some), great conversation is my favorite thing in the world.  The way people connect through said conversations.... it's so amazing and inspirational.

I wish people could see the world through my eyes -- how beautiful the woman reading a book at the bus stop is, or the electricity that comes from a couple who have been together for ages, or the beauty in a man showing gratitude for his son.  Simplicity at its best -- the world is beautiful, if only you know where to look.

My challenge for you is to put down your phone, and just look around.  Notice the warmth of the sun on your face, the smell of flowers in the air, the laughter of people --- notice life.  And once in a while, just look up at the sky, smile, and be glad to be alive.

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure.  There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." -- Jawaharial Nehru
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Life is a crazy ride.

This morning while talking with an old college buddy, I wrote a text to him that inspired me to start writing again. It was an epiphany for me, regardless of where the conversation went with him (and it did not go well).  I was frustrated with him, because no matter what I said, he just wouldn't listen. And as I was writing the text to him, and thinking to myself tough love, Rachel, I composed this text....
And it made more sense to me than I thought it would.  It applied to everything that is going on in my life, and made me realize that I have the best advice.... even if that advice is just for me.

The last couple of days have been quite eye-opening for me.  I'm in the process of packing to move out of the first apartment I have had by myself, which I obtained after one of the most devastating moments in my life, and it's been bittersweet.  The apartment is full of unbelievably negative energy, and has caused me much pain and torment in the last two years.  However, it has become my sanctuary, as after my rock bottom, it was the first sense of stability that I had.  So already, I am hypersensitive to my environment because it this, and the last couple of days I have noticed some things that irk me.  My closest friends are only interested in hanging out at the bar, and we definitely do not have the same values in life.  I'm all for people having their own opinions, but there is a point when ignorance is just ridiculous.  Educate yourself.... I don't want you to think like me; I just want you to think, and regardless of your views or my views, please do not tell me I'm wrong, especially if I lived it.  I don't tell you that you're wrong, ever, because you might have a different perception than I do.

Which brings me to today... my friend is experiencing a rock bottom moment, and I was trying to talk to him about it. I started with my lovely self, being supportive and suggesting, but nothing was working.  So I took a tough love approach.  And it was this post that ended our conversation.  What's so wrong with kicking life in the balls sometimes?

We spend so much time with people, without actually being with people.  Last night at the bar, my friends talked about how they take their phones EVERYWHERE with them -- from their room to the kitchen, from the kitchen to the bathroom.... everywhere.  Even as we were talking and having said conversation, one person was checking Facebook, another would look at her texts every time her phone vibrated, and another was so involved in their phone, they didn't even converse.  My phone went of several times, but I didn't look at it until there was a lull in the conversation.  I played darts with some friends, talked with the bartender, had a conversation with a complete stranger, all while my friends sat on their phones in the corner of the patio, unaware of the life that was going on around them.  Let's be real -- if I wanted to sit in the corner on the internet, I would've stayed home with a bottle of wine.  It would've been cheaper, that's for sure. 

I'm so amazed at how unattached everyone is.  And that's when I realized, I probably have a higher calling.  I was meant for another lifetime, in which communities work together for the betterment of their environment; in which you know your neighbors, and spend time at each other's houses; in which I can walk down the street without some dickhead telling me that it doesn't matter that I don't know his name because I will be calling it later (true story... happened Friday.... I walked back to him and basically made him piss himself because he was scared... I'm not your toy).  I dream of backyard gardens and community bartering, of not needing to worry about how I'm going to survive, because I'm doing a job I love that doesn't pay well enough for me to live the so-called "American dream" (paying my college loans, paying my car loan, paying my bills, GROCERY SHOPPING).

I know that there are others out there like me.  And I know that we are few and far between.  But my soul is calling out for you...

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” 
― Kurt Vonnegut