“I hope you’ll be here, but who knows?”

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I went to my regular Landmark seminar after Christmas and New Year and the seminar leader welcomed us back. As part of talking about the beginning of 2014 and the year ahead he said something that struck me dumb:

Well, I hope you’ll all be here in 2015, but who knows?

I’ve heard statements about “the present moment is all we’ve got” a million times and I’d never heard it like this before. This time, I really heard it. I realised I’d been visualising a future when I’m an old lady and fearing I’ll be sad and lonely and poor. And I got that that’s not the thing to be concerned about. It’s now I need to be concerned about.

It’s like in the Landmark Forum. The Forum leader says the same thing in many different ways including various remarks along the lines of “There’s only one way we’re getting out of here and that’s in a box.”

Every time the Forum leader says it, everyone laughs. The laugh means Well, maybe for you that applies, but not for me …, or That’s funny, but I’ve got decades yet, or Sure, but I don’t have to do anything now.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about what I would be doing differently if this is my last few months of life, and what’s stopping me from doing it now.

The second part of the question is the subject for another post, but as to what I would be doing differently, there seems only one thing worth doing which, in any case, would make any other thing redundant: I’d stop holding myself off from the world, from others. I’d let the barrier between myself and others, between myself and the world, drop away. I’d stop shoring it up. I’d open and let the whole world in. I’d smile at every single person I saw, I’d say the things I haven’t yet said, I’d give everything I had, every second of time, every resource, to others. I’d live from the understanding that being with, being for others is all that matters.

*

Image: Study for holiday, 1969-70, by Jeffrey Smart

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29 thoughts on ““I hope you’ll be here, but who knows?”

  1. I will be seventy-two years old this year. I can tell you with certainty that you do not have much time left. You only think you do. It evaporates before you understand it. Start now. Talk to everybody you see. Notice the cashier, the waiter, the guy sitting next to you. Look for the beauty that’s everywhere and let your enthusiasm rule your life. Passion. That’s the ticket. You will not grow old and lonely and poor if you actually live. I guarantee it! :-)

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    • Yes, that’s what I got present to in that moment, George, that the future is a dream within a dream. I like your passion!! Did I ever tell you how you knocked me out that day you shared about your experience when Totsy was writing about race in the US? Your authenticity moved me so and created something completely new. xx

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      • Chuckle… I don’t think we were supposed to actually say what we thought. I struggled through all of that many years ago. It is what it is. Apparently, Tots is very troubled about it. And, that’s sad. A terrible waste of energy, as my husband used to say! Just be kind. That would fix everything I know about that’s wrong with the world. :-)

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  2. Well now that the barrier is down I will smile back, and share more openly too! I will look for the good in others and you as well. Being over seventy myself, and thinking I would never make it to thirty, I am delighted for all those extra years. Perhaps it is not what we would do differently but how many things are we already doing that we should keep doing the same and more.
    Nice posting and nice insights, I hope your list becomes a to do list.

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  3. Un-do it all!

    Suspend it all!

    It is excruciatingly hard…or utterly easy.

    Fact is:

    When Fear dies, time withers and Life flourishes.

    Learning to consciously die to all fears, is cherishing life every single second :)

    That´s the only true abundance:

    NOW

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      • Utterly speaking, is there a difference between “I do” and
        “I don´t”?

        What happened if you “lived” your life from that understanding? Honestly, would that make a sensible difference?

        After all, WHO IS THERE TO UNDERSTAND?…

        Who lives, and who doesn´t?…

        If you didn´t live, would you still live or understand?…

        Am I playing with words here?…God forbid, I don´t.

        The thing is that we could talk for ever about Now, but logic will never fathom what Now – life – is about.

        “I live” is the beginning of fear. The beginning of trouble.
        “I live, (or live not) `my life´ is a double lie.

        How can a lie – the ego – ever understand anything?…

        The ego will never surrender, that is, it will not and cannot understand this present moment.

        The ego is a denial of life, as simple as that. It is the denial of Now.

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      • You see,

        I never tried to bring forth any argument.

        And for the record, once we see things in a certain manner, whatever different viewpoint is considered non existent.

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  4. Narelle, your description of what you would do differently reminds me of St. Irenaeus’ statement, “The glory of God is a living man [woman]; and the life of man [woman] consists in beholding God” (Against Heresies, Book 4, 20:7). To be awake to the beauty and holiness within us, within each other, and all around us – that’s how I want to live.

    Peace,
    Mike+

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    • That’s it! To be a living woman! To be beholding God.

      I once met a man who lived this way, with no barrier. His name was Professor Frank Fisher and he died in 2012. He was a professor of environmental science at various local universities. When he died, this is what one of his colleagues said: “One of the last things Frank said to me, ‘If only there was something I could say or do that demonstrated how much fun it is to participate in life in this way.'” ~ Anthony James.

      And this is what one of his students said:

      “From my friend, Frank Fisher, I have learned love. I’ve tried to take some care in expressing this: it’s not learning about love, or about how to love that I’m pointing to here, though along the way I expect I’ve learned something of that too. I’m not trying to say something like, “prior to our friendship, I didn’t know love.” And I don’t know that Frank actually set out to teach love. It’s more along these lines:

      Walking awhile with Frank,
      Love is embodied.
      Natural,
      And ordinary,
      Nothing to remark about.”

      ~ Josh Floyd

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  5. LIVE!! At 85 plus, I have learned a little bit of life. Two years ago, while putting the Christmas things away, I wondered to myself if I would be here the following year. Last year was scary with a number of health wake-up calls, Having weathered them all, I find it is much better to “look out, rather than in”. Share the wealth of your love.
    I really like Jeffery Smart’s painting. It amplifies the loneliness of big city apartment dwelling.

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    • “Share the wealth of your love” … such a great principle, Kayti. Thank you.

      Do you wonder if the thought you had while putting away the Christmas things had something to do with your health wake-up calls? If so, don’t. You had health wake-up calls because you had health wake-up calls. That’s all. xx

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  6. You can hope all you like, but…fortunately it won’t really affect those that have gone. I mean, it is unlikely for the dearly departed to lust after another Gloria Jean’s latte or a trip to the movies. ;)
    The best thing is to march forward, day by day. As the years go by, do a bit less marching and a bit more resting and reflecting, which makes sense, seeing that what has gone by is a lot more than what is coming. Even so, the best is yet to come.

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