"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Smell of Death Is All Around Us, So Learn to Love Being Alive

Death is such a depressing subject . . . to those of us who like living. But it is really all around us. Death walks beside us every moment of every day. You never know when it will get you.

For example, years ago I was riding with my uncle and his family. We were going to a hot springs spa way up in the Rockies, in Colorado. We heard on the radio that a man who had pulled over to the shoulder of the road because of a flat tire--in the same canyon we were driving through--had been killed by a falling rock. It came down off a high cliff and hit him in the head. Death was instant.

I got to thinking then. How long had that rock been up there, almost on the point of falling; just two or three more grains of sand to shift enough so it could? How did it happen that the man stopped his car, got out, and stood in exactly the right spot, on the right day, and the right time in order for that rock to finally fall and kill him. I mean, a minute sooner, a minute later, stopping the car in a different spot by only one foot, would have saved that man's life. Maybe it was just coincidence that the man was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe it was meant to be. I'm not religious, but coincidence in this case seems pretty far fetched.

So, death is all around us, but we pretty much ignore it unless it comes close to us personally, or takes one of our loved ones or acquaintances. How can death take us, let me count the ways: Car accidents, plane accidents, boat accidents, and falls; murders, diseases, and poisoning among all; tsunamis and earthquakes, floods and volcanoes, and then what more?; terrorist attacks, asteroid strikes, and of course there's always war.

This does not depress me. This is just life. Life is not fair and there are no guarantees that we will live a long life. Most of us, however, myself included, can live happy lives, for the time that we are alive. Focus on the "now." Every breath is precious . . . and it could be your last. Be mindful of all that you do. Do not take for granted anything. Take time to smell the roses, as they say. Enjoy each day as if it might be your last. Treat other people as you want to be treated. You may never see them alive again, or they you. That does not mean to party hardy and spend all your money, because this might not be your last day and you will get to enjoy many, many more of them.

I'm not suggesting that you should "be happy, don't worry," although it is something close to that. Worrying doesn't change anything only action or time will. Yes, we must be concerned about certain day-to-day things, or the future and how we will meet it. But still, whether you are working hard physically, or mentally, there should be that little part of your mind that is noticing the "incredible beauty of existence."

Now, having said all that, I must also say that there are people out there who are, for one reason or another, "damaged goods", so to speak. Usually, they had bad childhoods. And I'm not talking about not getting a pony for Christmas. I'm talking about those who were verbally, physically, sexually, emotionally abused. Their brain chemistry develops in such a way that they have a truly hard time enjoying life like I am urging. They have a hard time accepting and enjoying themselves because of what was done to them by evil parents, guardians, or circumstances beyond their control. And then there are those who, again, for one reason or another, were born with brain chemistry imbalances and will never be able to be truly happy. Although they may find a semblance of it through proper medication. I feel very sorry for those "damaged" people. There usually is so little that can be done. I urge them to seek professional help. Some of those who were physically and emotionally traumatized in early childhood can be helped to understand that they were not the problem and that they are good because they exist. If they can reach that point, then they will have a chance to find happiness in themselves, and then in the world around them.

I lost a son to leukemia when he was 18. My oldest sister died of breast cancer three years ago. My best friend died of liver cancer four years ago (she was not a drinker). My mother died of old age at age 81, but my father died of a heart attack at age 72. I have a brother who has inoperable prostate cancer and has been given five years to live, if that (but who knows what the future will bring?). My youngest sister has just had a partial mastectomy. The cancer was caught early and the prognosis is good. But who knows? I seem to be the healthiest one in my family, but again, who knows? This list of death and disease is, perhaps, worse than some people have experienced, but not nearly so bad as others.

My personal burden of sadness touches me deeply from time-to-time as I reflect on each and every one that I have known and loved and who has died. But I am a survivor and life, amidst death, goes on. I go on and I refuse to give in to perpetual sadness and gloom. I still find, every morning, and many times throughout the day, the incredible beauty of existence. I sincerely hope that you can too.

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