How does one describe the magic that lies within a first, and a last encounter?
I came across these words below recently, and even if the man behind the words can be, and has been questioned, I can not deny that I find his description of our society very accurate and thought provoking. Already when I was a young girl I felt that there’s something strange about the world that I’m living in. Back then I couldn’t put my finger on it, because it was the only world I knew of, yet I remember a strong feeling telling me that something just isn’t right. I remember wondering if maybe it wasn’t the world that wasn’t right, maybe it was me. Maybe there was something wrong with me, because in my 10 year old eyes everyone else seemed to satisfactorily have found their place around here. 15 years later I still feel just as much a stranger to this world as I did back then. Only now I know that I’m not alone in that and now I realise that it’s not the whole world itself that is wrong, it’s our society;
The Paradox Of Our Age
“We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more vitamins but see fewer results. We drink too much; smoke too much; spend too recklessly; laugh too little; drive too fast; get too angry quickly; stay up too late; get up too tired; read too seldom; watch TV too much and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner; we sign more contracts only to realize fewer profits; we talk too much; love too seldom and lie too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things; we’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less; we make faster planes, but longer lines; we learned to rush, but not to wait; we have more weapons, but less peace; higher incomes, but lower morals; more parties, but less fun; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; drive smaller cars that have bigger problems; build larger factories that produce less. We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, but short character; steep in profits, but shallow relationships. These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; higher postage, but slower mail; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorces; these are times of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, cartridge living, thow-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies and pills that do everything from cheer, to prevent, quiet or kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room. Indeed, these are the times!”
Dr. Bob Moorehead
I really can’t say what the saddest part about all this is. But the scariest part might just be that it is so astonishingly easy to go along with all of this, get caught up and lose oneself in it. It might even be impossible not to at some point and for some time in our lives. I know there are many times that I find myself feeling powerless, thinking that maybe there is no fighting this. That it’s too big and that I’m too small. But then I think of the one phrase that always takes my doubts away and reminds me of the little girl in me that is convinced that there’s something better to strive for;
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
And with her as my inspiration I try to think about what really matters to me & stay true to her and with that to myself.
What makes me feel real? Is it the envy in other girls faces as they see me in a new pair of recklessly expensive Louboutins before they all get the same ones and look like cloned barbies that haven’t learned how to walk properly, or is it the joy and pride in the eyes of orphan children who thanks to a donation get to enter a shoe shop and for the first time in their lives, instead of receiving used shoes, get to choose by themselves which pair of brand new shoes they wish to buy?
What makes me feel satisfied and successful? Is it long working hours in an office and a good-looking salary, a house in the city, bigger than I can keep clean and competitive kids with top grades striving to please me by doing everything to become perfect in hopes of getting my attention and making me realise that they are worth at least some of my precious time, or is it a small cottage nearby nature and the sea-side, where the kids can be kids and where I can afford not to work day and night but actually devote the bigger part of my day to quality time with my family and friends?
What makes me feel good and healthy? Is it the fake tan, the once-and-never-again used outfits, the perfect body and all the hours spent at the gym, in the solarium and in in front of the mirror, or is it a good book, a day of creativity, a mindful walk along the beach and a good laugh with an old friend, or maybe even with a complete stranger?
What makes me feel alive? Is it the safety and comfort that economic prosperity brings, or is an almost empty bank account and a fat photo album filled with travels, experiences and encounters that have moved me and taught me a bit more about myself and about life?
What brings me peace within? Is it what others think of me and of what I have gained, or is it what I feel about myself and of what I have given?
At times when I feel I have lost orientation or sight of my values I ask myself; “If I were to die today, what would it say on my gravestone?” “Is that what I want it to say?” If your answer to this question is yes, you should feel very proud for truly living authentically and in balance with your nature. If not, you might ask yourself “What would I like it to say?” and take some time to reflect about how that insight affects you & your life.
“Step softly, a dream lies buried here.”
As magical as it gets.
Let’s ask ourselves tonight, while the lights are off; What will I do to go beyond this hour?
Click link to watch video.
Definitely a hero!
Pushpa Basnet doesn't need an alarm clock. Every morning, the sounds of 40 children wake her up in the two-story home she shares with them.
As she helps the children dress for school, Basnet might appear to be a housemother of sorts. But the real story is more complicated.
Most of us have asked ourselves what it takes to have a strong and loving relationship and what to do to make one last. I’m sure all of us have at one point or another wondered what the secret behind a 50+-year long marriage is. I know I have! The way this lady put it made me laugh.
And I’m sure she does have a point. It’s funny how times change, and how our pursuit of happiness and self-realization makes us all the more selfish, striving for the most effortless and least demanding way to live and feel happy. Now, I’m not saying that everyone acts like this. I’m convinced that many couples do their very best and try really hard to repair a relationship and make it work. And I know that sometimes staying together can be destructive and not a good solution and you just have to give up the struggle and let go. Yet, is feels as if so many of us, at least my generation, tend to choose the simple path, chasing the most amount of positive feelings in combination with an elimination of anything that might demand too much of us or our independence. Instead of staying and mending broken things, we find it easier to replace them and move on. But where will that get us? Do we truly believe we can find real happiness at the end of that path? And even if we do find it, will we, along that path, have acquired the wisdom that it takes to appreciate that happiness once we find it?
I think the story below is worth reading because it so clearly shows how self-preoccupied we so easily become and how easy it is to forget the importance and value of such “small” things as intimacy & appreciation in a relationship.
(Married man speaking)
“When I got home that night… my wife was serving dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why? I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man!
That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her! With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly.
Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now. The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.
In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage. This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning.
I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request. I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully. My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.
She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart.
Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head. Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute.
I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day. But her much lighter weight made me sad.
On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind… I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore. She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears.
I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart. That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I ran up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead. My wife had been fighting cancer for months and I was too busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from whatever negative reaction it would have on our son, in case we pushed through with the divorce. —At least, in the eyes of our son—-I ’m a loving husband.
The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship. It’s NOT the Mansion or House, the Car, Property, the Money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy & keep the relationship alive.”