How to live your life

Mont Blanc

Jim Hourihane, my late father in law, liked to talk about life being like a bar of chocolate.  When you are a kid and someone gives you a whole bar of chocolate to yourself you gobble down the first half without thinking.  Then you realise you only have half left.  You begin to take your time.  You start to appreciate the remaining chocolate more.  When you come to the last square you take a long time to savour it.  You let it sit on your tongue until it melts.  You eek out every last ounce of pleasure from it.

The poem below is on the same theme.  Where do you live your life today?  Are you in the mindset at the start of the poem?  Are you focused on the negatives of the daily grind?  Do you bemoan Monday mornings and wish the week away to Friday?  Do you look at the clock at 10:00 and pray for 17:30?

How better to live every day the way he lives the last 3 minutes.  Enjoy the journey, it doesn’t last long.

 

25 minutes to go: by Shel Silverstein

They’re buildin’ the gallows outside my cell.
I got 25 minutes to go.

And in 25 minutes I’ll be in Hell.
I got 24 minutes to go.

Well, they give me some beans for my last meal.
23 minutes to go.

And you know… nobody asked me how I feel.
I got 22 minutes to go.

So, I wrote to the Gov’nor… the whole damned bunch.
Ahhh… 21 minutes to go.

And I call up the Mayor, and he’s out to lunch.

I got 20 more minutes to go.

Well, the Sheriff says, ‘Boy, I wanna watch you die’.
19 minutes to go.

I laugh in his face… and I spit in his eye.
I got 18 minutes to go.

Well…I call out to the Warden to hear my plea.
17 minute to go.

He says, ‘Call me back in a week or three.
You’ve got 16 minutes to go.’

Well, my lawyer says he’s sorry he missed my case.
Mmmm….15 minutes to go.

Yeah, well if you’re so sorry, come up and take my place.
I got 14 minutes to go.

Well, now here comes the padre to save my soul
With 13 minutes to go.

And he’s talkin’ about burnin’, but I’m so damned cold.
I got 12 more minutes to go.

Now they’re testin’ the trap. It chills my spine.
I got 11 minutes to go.

‘Cuz the goddamned thing it works just fine.
I got 10 more minutes to go.

I’m waitin’ for the pardon… gonna set me free
With 9 more minutes to go.

But this ain’t the movies, so to hell with me.
I got 8 more minutes to go.

And now I’m climbin up the ladder with a scaffold peg
With 7 more minutes to go.

I’ve betta’ watch my step or else I’ll break my leg.
I got 6 more minutes to go.

Yeah… with my feet on the trap and my head in the noose…
5 more minutes to go.

Well, c’mon somethin’ and cut me loose.
I got 4 more minutes to go.

I can see the mountains. I see the sky.
3 more minutes to go.

And it’s too damned pretty for a man to die.
i got 2 more minutes to go

I can hear the buzzards… hear the crows.
1 more minute to go.

And now I’m swingin’ and here I gooooooooo….

18th of September

Dyingflower

Flowers at the end of Summer

in a last desperate blooming,

livid, harsh and beautiful,

like a gaudy old whore who

clings to her youth too long.

Disappointing yellowing stalks

from which droop sad bright petals,

decaying at the edges.

Oh!  that beauty should ever adorn

such a deathly image.

“She looked so beautiful

and healthy,

what a fine corpse.”

Death you mock us with our life.

Life you mock us with our death.

Cruel paradox.

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Copyright D. Clancy (1987)

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Original Note from my diary:

This poem was composed in a state of warm and sunny euphoria in St Stephens Green.  It was written down in progressive stages of inebriation over an excellent bottle of Muscadet in Rajdoot’s Indian Restaurant.

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Authors Note from today:

The corpse in question was Nana Clancy who’s death affected me fairly profoundly.  I think this is the best poem I have written, but that’s my personal emotions around the whole thing.  And it may be the wine talking.  Rajdoot’s has closed down, which is really sad.  I loved that restaurant.

10 Steps to Happiness

These 10 simple steps are proven to be effective and will change your life forever.

They are courtesy of Professor Richard Wiseman and his excellent book “:59 seconds; Think a little Change a lot”.

  1.  Every week you should rate your week and write down 3 things that went well.  This will improve your happiness and your health for the next month.  I hope it is a cumulative effect.
  2. Carry a cute baby photo in your wallet (read the book to know why)
  3. Hang a mirror in your kitchen.  When you can see yourself eating, you eat better food and you eat less.
  4. Put a pot plant in your office.  It boosts creativity and reduces stress.
  5. Touch people on the upper arm when you ask them to do something and they are more likely to do it.  But read the book because you can get this one very wrong!  Think “Sexual Harassment” suit!
  6. Write about your relationship and you will make it stronger.  If you write your thoughts about your relationship on paper, the positive language will leak through when you speak with your partner.
  7. If you think someone is lying, shut your eyes and ask them to send it in an email.
  8. Praise effort, not ability.  Instead of saying “aren’t you a clever boy to get first place” say “you really worked hard to get that first place”.
  9. If you want to reach your goals don’t visualise the goal, visualise the steps to get there.  If you are in a sand trap, don’t visualise the golf ball going into the cup, visualise your stroke lifting the ball out of the sand and on to the green.
  10. Write your obituary.  When your friends speak at your funeral, what will they say you did?  If you are not happy with the material, now is the time to change it.  This is how Alfred Nobel moved from making Dynamite to giving prizes for Science and Peace.

The time Before Death; by Kabir

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.

Jump into experience while you are alive!

Think… and think… while you are alive.

What you call “salvation” belongs to the time before death

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,

do you think ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will rejoin with the ecstatic

just because the body is rotten–that is all fantasy.

What is found now is found then.

If you find nothing now,

you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.

if you make love with the divine now, in the next

life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,

Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,

it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that

does all the work.

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

At world’s end!

So, the Mayan Calendar has counted down to the end of the world, and time is no more.  I sit today outside of that time, beyond the life envisaged by the Mayan civilization.  And what thoughts occur, now I have outlived their ken?

Prospero:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158

Yes, before us others have seen that life is but an illusion.  Indeed our very presence in this universe is signified neatly by Beckett in his play “A Breath”, as filmed by Damien Hirst below using hospital waste, look out for the swastika, symbol of both life and death;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1ZON66BbB0

Life is short, the revels soon are ended.  So what are you going to do with the rest of yours?  What difference do you plan to make?  Figure it out, and get busy tryin’ or get busy dyin’.

 

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

by Robert Herrick

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.