Achilles in Homer’s Iliad said that the gods envy us because we are mortal: any moment could be our last, and this makes everything more beautiful. “You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again”.
Some argue that Homer – and therefore Achilles – didn’t actually say this. In a way it doesn’t matter – that’s one of the things we know him for, and remember him for. It’s a compelling thought: how our impermanence makes everything more beautiful.
It’s Spring here in Ontario; this is one of the most beautiful times of the year. From grayness and dirty snow and cold, to vibrant green, blue, and every color imaginable. From bareness to lushness. Song birds wake us every morning, things are greening and multiplying as if in a hurry, making up for it’s Winter dormancy.
It’s wonderful and inspiring; and we appreciate it all the more because we know it will be with us only for a few short months.
If you’re like me, when things are going well, I find myself at moments wishing that I could stop time so that I could be in this space forever. But I didn’t just land in that particular moment. I mean, I didn’t come into existence and have all the knowledge and skills and abilities that got me to this moment, like, say, Athena. Athena popped full-grown out of the side of her father Zeus, fully ready and able to take on the trials of being Zeus’ daughter. I didn’t. I had to learn, grow, make mistakes – sometimes big ones – then get myself up, brush myself off, and carry on. Until the moment, like this one, where life is wonderful. Knowing it’s only a moment, and that there will be more moments like this one that come my way as I continue to live and learn.
Knowing that beautiful moments are fleeting means I really appreciate them. Knowing that I’m around for a very short time in cosmic terms gives me the motivation I need to get going. For instance, I live in Toronto and the only time I visited the CN Tower was when I was a visitor, and when I took other visitors who insisted. The CN Tower is there, every day – so what’s the rush? Last year, I visited Florence, and I took the time to see David, and their amazing cathedral, because it might be the only time I can do that – appreciate the beauty and mastery of those works.
Woody Allen once quipped: If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans. Being aware of impermanence, as the Buddhists teach, gives us the impetus we need to take action for what makes life worthwhile, and to truly appreciate what ends up being.
This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.
A Cinematic Haiku: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
Quote of the Week
Awareness of impermanence is encouraged, so that when it is coupled with our appreciation of the enormous potential of our human existence, it will give us a sense of urgency that I must use every precious moment.
― the Dalai Lama
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages. For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org