Host Stephen Colbert asked, “What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?” He said, “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”
There is a type of magnetism that words leaders, artists, successful entrepreneurs, and athletes embody. Many find themselves attracted to these figures because they embark on endeavors where they are able to tap into flow states of presence and mystify the masses with their craft.
These figures garner attention from the world and are adored. Some enjoy the limelight that comes with fame and prestige. I imagine the feeling akin to a heroin-like addiction where praise and attention become their own type of opioid.
There are a handful of people in the limelight that I look up to. Keanu Reeves is one such figure. If I ever get the opportunity to talk to him, I won’t be rushing for an autograph or a picture. I’ll just say thank you.
Below are a few profound words he’s shared on different mediums and how they have affected me.
“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after-thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of everyday life. It’s easy to forget that this trip will end soon. Knowing that I will not be here forever has quickly taken the weight of past baggage out of my saddles. It’s allowed me to gallop with more freedom. The destination doesn’t matter as much. I don’t take myself seriously, because the idea of myself isn’t set in stone. It’s shaped by experiences, knowledge, and love that I’ve given and received from others.
“So in the end, I think we can all pretty well agree that even in the face of tragedy, a stellar person can thrive. No matter what’s going on in your life, you can overcome it! Life is worth living.”
There is no escape from life’s inevitable struggle with suffering. When my wife got ill, it turned our life upside down. We sold our home in an area of the Pacific Northwest that we both loved. We were in the process of buying land in the countryside and had cultivated close relationships with organic farmers who were teaching us how to live sustainability, but that all came to an end. At the height of my wife’s illness, my mother passed away. Tragedy finds us all. However, in hindsight, I’ve always looked at every situation, be it good or bad as an opportunity for growth. It’s allowed me to live more fearlessly. Life is the classroom, and the experiences are the teachers. I always carry this sentiment with me wherever I go.
“Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to take the time out to enjoy the beauty in life. It’s like we’re zombies. Look up and take your headphones out. Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see and maybe give a hug to someone who looks like they’re hurting.”
A few days ago I teared up looking at a young woman feeding and wiping her grandmother’s face because she had Parkinsons’. At that moment, my heart filled with so much happiness. If there is a purpose to all of this, it’s that. I look people in the eyes more often now. I smile. I make small talk with strangers all the time. The most important place is where I am right now because I couldn’t be anywhere else.
“We are humans on a rock floating through space with a finite amount of time. So take that into account — how we treat ourselves, how we treat others and we are all in this together. Be excellent to each other!”
I know I’m insignificant. I hate to burst your bubble, but you are too, but it’s okay. We are trapped on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam as Carl Sagan once said. Knowing that everything we love will one day perish is a crazy predicament. It’s like we are all on the edge of a cliff and waiting to be pushed by some unknowable force, and none of us really know for certain where we’re gonna end up. For that reason, and that reason alone, it’s been my daily intention to be kind.
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On Challenging Relationships
“Sometimes enemies are our best teachers, people can learn from their mistakes, destruction sometimes means rebirth.”
My biggest teachers in life have been those that I’ve had challenging relationships with. I don’t hold grudges and forgive faster than the speed of light because every single person is trying to find their tiny sanctuary of happiness. If wise, when others hurt us, we are able to shed our old skin and emerge only to transform into something new. Jiddu Krisnamurity put it beautifully when he said, “The fact is that life is like the river: endlessly moving on, ever seeking, exploring, pushing, overflowing its banks, penetrating every crevice with its water.”
“I dream of a day where I walk down the street & hear people talk about morality, sustainability & philosophy instead of the Kardashians.”
We all grow and evolve in different ways. My circle has gotten smaller the older I get and when I bid farewell to the world and take that final dirt nap, there will be only a few people at my wake….if I am lucky. As I get older, the conversations I have with people matter. The deeper I get with others, the more I learn about myself. I understand I’m a grain of sand in the cosmic ocean, so what I say matters…even if it only matters to me.
If you don’t fight for your love, what kind of love do you have
The past three years have been extremely challenging for my wife and me. The degree and depth of experiences we’ve had, only we will now. I can’t really even count the number of times when our love has been on the precipice of death. Firmly holding my hand, “I just want you to know that I love you, and thank you for being my husband” are words that my wife has shared with me on countless occasions when she thought her life was ending. If there is anything worth fighting for, it’s love.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve and that can hurt. To be vulnerable is an enriching way to live, but when it goes wrong it can be agonizing. But if you don’t open your heart to people, you end up being excluded from the rest of the world.”
I don’t fear my mortality because it’s inevitable. However, I fear the death of those I cherish, even though it’s inevitable. I love harder. I am able to cut through the brick walls people put up, and break them so I can see their true nature. Through my travels, this has happened time and time again. I know every beautiful relationship I have will end and leave me empty and sad, but at the same time without those relationships, I wouldn’t be who I am. Vulnerability adds richness to life. When I share my wounds with others, they may do the same, and when they do, we realize we are in this together.
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