The other night, I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - a film based on a memoir written by a man suffering from Locked-in syndrome. Locked-in syndrome is a condition in which a patient has full awareness but cannot move due to complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes.
At the age of 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of fashion magazine Elle, had a massive stroke. He woke up 20 days later to discover that he was almost completely paralysed. The determined French journalist wrote his memoir by memorising what he wanted to say then dictating the text to a transcriber by blinking his one functioning eyelid (a system known as partner assisted scanning). It took him 10 months (at an average of four hours a day). He died two days after its publication.
I don’t know whether I felt depressed or inspired after watching the movie. This man had everything taken from him – his career, his partner (who abandoned him after the stroke), his health, his speech, and his independence. Understandably, he expressed his desire to die. But then he realised that, apart from his left eye, two other things were not paralysed – his memory and his imagination. He went on to write a bestseller and set up a Locked-in syndrome association. He had lost so much but the spirit within him was still able to create something extraordinary. And then he passed away.
Our mortality is something we are born with. Sometimes, I think we ignore the fact that this lifetime will not last forever. We get so caught up in routine and obligation that we are often oblivious to the beauty and wonder of the world around us. We become disheartened and apathetic, or frustrated and angry, so gratitude and appreciation seem irrelevant.
Life is short. So, we should do the things that make us feel thankful to be alive. Last week, I took my mother to see the New York Spirit of Gospel. The vocalists astounded us with their talent. They encouraged us to shake off our self-consciousness, get up off our seats and dance, clap and sing along. The performance was all the better because we joined in.
We spend so much time passively watching the world do its thing. But it’s only when we actively participate that we come alive. So, get out there and really live. Life is a gift if that’s how you choose to see it.
The world is full of miracles and adventure, blessings and delight. And there are so many ways to acknowledge this. Money or mobility don’t have to be an issue. You can travel to foreign lands or visit spectacular spots within your own country. You could walk through whispering forests and across the backs of ancient mountains. Or simply allow the deep tones of a cello to awaken your senses.
Embrace life and each other. Laugh long and hard and often. Learn how to surf or bake or speak Spanish. Tell someone you love them. Admit to your fears and share your passions. Swim in lakes and oceans. Feel the earth’s water on your naked skin. Dance. Cry. Sing. Love. Live.
Images: http://favim.com/image/31398/; http://xaxor.com/photography/25467-appreciating-life-photography.html
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development, Spirituality
Tagged appreciation, art, book, coma, death, depression, elle, experience, expression, film, gratitude, jean-dominique bauby, laughter, life, living, locked-in syndrome, love, magazine, memoir, mortality, movie, music, new york spirit of gospel, paralysis, participation, passion, song, soul, spirit, suicidal, the diving bell and the butterfly, travel
Who knew I’d be inspired by watching Knocked Up? Please desist from turning up thy noses. Because it takes a certain sort of genius to make people laugh. And you can’t beat a good Apatow flick. And Seth Rogen’s laugh is priceless. But none of the above reasons are what got me writing this post. It was the thought-provoking scene, where married couple, Pete and Debbie, played by Paul Rudd (I so would) and Leslie Mann, have a huge argument.
Debbie is furious because she’s just found out that Pete has been sneaking around and lying to her. But he’s not cheating. He’s playing fantasy baseball league with his friends. Which is worse than infidelity to Debbie because it means that he would rather hang out with his nerdy mates than be with his family. He can’t understand why she can’t understand that he just needs space. He simply cannot fathom how his wife loves him so much that she wants him around all the time. And that is their biggest problem.
Basically, he just misses his male camaraderie and she’s being controlling. Sound familiar? So many married men would do anything to get away from the old “ball and chain” as often as possible. But what about the women? Don’t they want to get out and party with their gal pals too? Or is it presumed that just because they’re female, they’re clingy?
I was in a relationship once where I could never quite figure out whether I was being needy or he was just a commitment-phobe. I wanted to spend time with him. He wanted to play sport.
Admittedly, there are a lot of women out there who drop their friends, their hobbies, and their nights out the moment a half-decent dude shows up. They throw their everything into making the relationship work. Can you blame the overwhelmed partner for itching to get away from this co-dependent woman, who’s rapidly gone from being passionate and smart to whining and insecure?
It’s funny how, when describing matters of the heart, you can’t avoid terms of violence… I love you to death. All’s fair in love and war. She loves me to bits.
Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to give up who you are and what you enjoy. If you don’t believe in relationships, don’t join one. But if you do want a partner, you’ve got to realise that compromise is a necessary part of a partnership. The trick is to find someone you’re compatible with. Because that is half the battle.
Images: http://www.graphicshunt.com/wallpapers/images/lots_of_hearts-7088.htm; http://break–my–heart.skyrock.com/1.html
Posted in Love
Tagged argument, break ups, co-dependecy, comedy, compatibility, dependency, film, friendship, genius, hobbies, independence, insecurities, judd apatow, knocked up, leslie mann, love, marriage, men, movies, nights out, passion, paul rudd, relationships, seth rogen, women
We all have something that causes the passion to bubble up within us. Be it writing or photography, health or healing, art or literature, dance or travel, nature or sport, film or fashion, justice or love.
When someone takes that passion and uses it for the higher good, it can be translated into something beautiful. And if it fills just one heart with joy; if it resonates with at least one other human being and makes them feel that they are not alone; if it helps even one person live a better life, then that is a passion worth sharing.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
If you have something that awakens some little bit of a sparkle within you, don’t be afraid to blow on its embers. Set the world alight with your passion. Not only will you be doing a service to all those who witness what you have to offer, but it will make you feel alive.
Posted in Personal development, Random
Tagged art, beauty, dance, film, healing, health, helping others, higher good, human beings, humanity, life, literature, loneliness, love, meaning, movies, nature, nelson mandela, passion, photography, sharing, sport, talent, travel, work, writing