After my last message, I received a very nice reply from Matthew.
Although he didn't come right out and say it directly, I think he was concerned I might be focusing too much on the negative things happening in the world. And, given that the title of the message he was replying to was 'Tick, Tock, Tick' in reference to the frickin' Doomsday Clock, I can't argue with him.😃 Point well taken Matthew!
The tone of his email wasn't critical of what I'd written - instead it was encouraging me to look at the other side of things. He went on to list no less than 10 things we can celebrate, and I have the distinct impression that he could have listed more if asked.
The more I reflected on Matthew's point, the more I realized that over the years, without explicitly realizing it, I've made a deliberate choice to downplay the positive, hopeful and grateful spin on things. Let me explain.
A key component of my message has been that everyone would be better served if they took a serious look at mortality - their own mortality and the mortality of others. I know we all have an intellectual awareness of it, but I feel that the real impact comes when we move deeper - towards an emotional awareness of it. Of course, my perception has 100% been shaped by the fact that I was forced to confront this reality at a very early age. And that confrontation was absolutely at the emotional level.
When it came time for me to share what I'd learned, I wanted to be sure that people got as much out of it as I had. I had a real concern of having my message dismissed as just another slogan.
"Oh, right - Mortality, like carpe diem. I get it!" was the dismissive response I imagined people coming back with. I needed people to actually get it and not just gloss over the incredibly difficult and uncomfortable truths that come with facing mortality.
This is why I downplayed things like gratitude. I know the importance of gratitude, but I truly believed that it was somehow better to write in your gratitude journal if you'd first spent an appropriate amount of time reflecting on mortality.
This is also why I've struggled with allowing my sense of humour to come through when I was sharing my message. I wanted people to take the message seriously. After all - this is life and death we're talking about!
Over the course of the last week, I've really been enjoying a new book from renowned music producer Rick Rubin. The title is "The Creative Act: A Way of Being". I'm going through it slowly because I find so many things to reflect on and I'm doing a lot of journaling because of it. (I’m sure I’ll be sharing more from it soon.)
In fact, I'm writing this message today because of a realization that came from the book. A realization about how I've tended to frame my message in a very serious tone.
In the book, Rubin shared a quote I'd never heard before that comes from Oscar Wilde:
"Some things are too important to be taken seriously."
And there it is!
I've been conflating important with serious. Well, no more!
Besides, no matter how seriously we approach life, no one gets out alive. So let's do the uncomfortable part (facing and embracing Mortality), use that to recalibrate our priorities and then get on with wringing every last drop of joy out of any time we get! And a round of gratitude for everyone - on me!!
Thanks Matthew, I’m grateful that you reached out!
❤️❤️❤️ this message! Thank you for sharing this insight - hits home for sure.