“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” – Mark Manson

“I remind myself that it’s all right to die.  This willing and even exuberant interfacing with one’s own mortality has ancient roots.  The Stoics of ancient Greece and Rome implored people to keep death in mind at all times, in order to appreciate life more and remain humble in the face of its adversities.  In  various forms of Buddhism, the practice of meditation is often taught as a means of preparing oneself for death while still remaining alive.  Dissolving one’s ego into an expansive nothingness- achieving the enlightened state of nirvana- is seen as a trial run of letting oneself cross to the other side.  Even Mark Taiwan, that hairy goofball who came in and left on Haley’s Comet, said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”  -pg. 203-204

“While most people whittle their days chasing another buck, or a little bit more fame and attention, or a little bit more assurance that they’re right or loved, death confronts all of us with a far more painful and important question:  What is your legacy?

How will the world be different and better when you’re gone?  What mark will you have made?  What influence will you have caused?  They say a butterfly flapping it wings in Africa can cause a hurricane in Florida; well, what hurricanes will you leave in your wake? ” -pg. 205

“Without acknowledging the ever-present gaze of death, the superficial will appear important, and the important will appear superficial.  Death is the only thing we know with any certainty.  And as such, it must be the compass by which we orient all of our other values and decisions… the only way to be comfortable with death is to  see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you.  This is the basic root of all happiness.  Whether you’re listening to Aristotle or the psychologists at Harvard or Jesus Christ or the goddamn Beatles, they all say that happiness comes from the same thing: caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger unintelligible production… this is what people go to church for; its what they fight in wars for…”  -pg. 206

“We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways” -pg. 207

#chroniclesofthechronic

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Retreat: Testimony

Wow.

So I forced myself to drive out to the university where spring retreat was being held- I had seen many pictures of this place in all the pictures I stalked when I first befriended my fellowship friends last summer so I was curious to check it out.  The night before, my anxiety kept me up all night with me knowing I should show up at a respectful time to participate, especially since I felt guilty that I had not paid anything and had not planned to come, much less stay.  Nobody knows how hard it is to push the small part of yourself through all the anxiety and fear, simply to challenge yourself to be present in the experiences of life, no matter what they are.  Something so natural to someone else, like looking forward to how fun retreat is, or a vacation, is stressful to me no matter what.

Anyway, as usual, there were things I was not too keen on, one of them being the Sunday message given by the pastor (more on that in another post), but one of the most crazy experiences this Sunday was testimony.  To be honest, I was a little apprehensive as the last testimony I witnessed was during their Thanksgiving dinner led by the pastor… it felt a bit forced and inauthentic, with every single tumor that disappeared, every mini good thing that happened, resounding in ‘PRAISE THE LORD.’

I thought it was strange that testimony was scheduled for more than an hour as nobody spoke for the first five to ten minutes.  However, slowly but surely, one by one people went up to speak.  These felt spoken from the heart.  One kid was in high school, and he talked about how he felt he was in a dark place, and was depressed that he wasn’t getting good grades.  He said he knew that it might get better, yet he might regret if he didn’t speak up about it.  Another who really got to me was Donna, Bobby’s mom who lost both her father and her husband AND got cancer all around the same time… nuts.  She apologized for being difficult to be around and also spoke of her pain and gratitude for the kids especially.  It was really hard to listen to her, but I felt her suffering, and a couple people were crying with her.  It was so real, and I was almost tempted to go up and talk about my experiences too, except I still don’t know if I’m completely convinced of the beliefs in the bible and I still question a lot of things… but I do wish I have the courage one day to speak up, and at least talk about my personal experiences or give a word to encourage others, especially the younger kids.