What if you could move at the speed of light?

Have you ever felt that you were moving at the speed of light? Do you understand what time and speed have in common? If you are familiar with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the theory says that as speed increases time slows down. You might remember the famous paradox about the space traveler going away on a long journey and coming back younger than his or her parents. How can this be true you might say? Well, according to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity it is true. As we approach the speed of light, time slows down. Wouldn’t it be great if we could we use Einstein’s theory to help slow our day down and get more done? If we could move at the speed of light, time would just about stand still. Just think how much stuff you could get done. However, if everyone moved at the speed of light, then relatively speaking, time would not move any slower for you. This technique would work only if you or a few others were moving faster than everyone else.

In practice, we all seem to be working on the presumption that if we could just move fast enough we could get more done. This negates the overall benefit and we become like rats on a wheel. All of us are running and running and just staying in the same place.
We move faster and faster and faster but paradoxically we seem to get less and less done. I took a class in motorcycle racing once and the key message of the instructor was “You must first learn to go slow before you can go fast.” Most of us think that by going faster we can accomplish more. In many cases, we only accomplish less since our haste results in more rework and having to do things over again.

Today, concentrate on moving slower. Forget the speed of light. See if you can study your motions; watch your body move more slowly, exert less effort and try to move at the speed of a snail. What differences could this make in your life? Can you do this for one whole day? Why not? What keeps you moving at the speed of light?

Are you rushing to go nowhere and don’t know why?

I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why (Alabama)

How true this song rings for so many of us. We are all in a hurry and we don’t know why. Where are we going? Why must we be in a hurry to get “nowhere” so fast? How impatient life can seem today when everyone wants everything fast. We have fast food restaurants, fast bank drive-ins, ATM’s, fast lanes, one hour prescriptions glasses, express lanes in the grocery stores, fast check-ins and fast checkouts at hotels and fast registrations for just about everything you can name.

Amazon has instituted one-click shopping which has raised the bar even higher for fast service transactions. As we speed life up more and more, we become more and more impatient with waiting or even an instant of “wasted” time. We take our frustrations out in road rage or an excess of pills to pacify our anxiety and tensions. We see more and more the negative effects of rushing and multi-tasking. We have forgotten the old admonition that “haste makes waste.” We have no time to spend worrying about whether or not we are rushing since we are so busy rushing we have no time to think. The cycle gets more vicious each day.

When do you have time to stop or do nothing or even to waste a minute? As you go through your activities today, see if you can be a little more patient. See if you can slow down a bit. Use those opportunities when you are frustrated or rushed to regard the flow in your life. Each moment of haste or impatience is an opportunity to slow the rush down. How many chances can you take today to slow the rush down? How many will you succeed at? One of these chances may just save your life?

Will it be too late at your funeral?

Famous eulogies! Some eulogies are so memorable that they are forever etched into our minds and into history. Others will quickly be forgotten. Yes, we did talk about eulogies before. In fact, I asked you to write your own eulogy. Have you done it yet? Will your eulogy become famous? Go to Google and type in “eulogy” and you will find dozens of sites with links to famous eulogies.

Perhaps the most famous “funeral” oration of all time was not given at a funeral. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” was about what Dr. King wanted said at his funeral. He had a premonition of his own death and drafted this speech as a sort of pre-eulogy that he delivered himself. It is surely one of the most moving and memorable speeches of all time. Another famous eulogy, perhaps never given but immortalized by Shakespeare was the speech by Marc Antony after the murder of Julius Caesar. I can still hear ringing in my ears the words: “I come not to praise Caesar but to bury him.” Of course, this was a very ironic eulogy since Antony did not mean what he said and he turned the oration into a propaganda forum to inspire a revolt against Caesar’s murderers.

Most of us have probably never thought about our eulogies becoming famous, but who knows what can happen after we die. The point of creating your eulogy is not about becoming famous, it is about reflecting on the life you want to live. Someone said that dreams become goals when you put a date on them. Well, hopes and wishes can become real to but only when you put them out as intentions and desires. If you want to be the person in your dreams you will have to form the intention to be that person. When someone else is giving your eulogy it will be too late.

If you still have not written your eulogy or even if you have written it, go back and look it over again. Think about these questions again: What do I really want said about me when I die? What do I want people to remember me for? What would I say about myself if I gave my own eulogy speech today? What is memorable about my life that I would like history to remember me for? Now make a schedule to write your eulogy. When you have written it, the question to ask is “Can I live up to this?” If not, how do you need to change your life and when will you start with these changes?

What does living in constant sorrow mean?

“I am a man of constant sorrow” This line is from the song in the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” John Hartford wrote the lyrics to the song. Some credit the music and the film with a rebirth of Blue Grass and Old Time music in the USA. It is hard to believe that one movie could have so much impact. I am inclined to think that this claim is somewhat exaggerated. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the movie did spark a renewed interest in Blue Grass music particularly among people with whom it was not a familiar genre.

The most popular song from the movie was “A Man of Constant Sorrow.” This haunting song resonates with us somewhat like hearing a drum beat. Deep in our hearts we somehow identify with these lyrics. Nevertheless, I continue to wonder what it means to be in constant sorrow. What events or episodes in ones life could create constant sorry? What would anyone be like if they were in constant sorrow?

“For six long years, I’ve been in trouble
No pleasures here on earth I found
For in this world I’m bound to ramble
I have no friends to help me now.”

(From “I am a Man of Constant Sorrow”, John Hartford)

Did so many people really like this song because it resonated with their own sadness and melancholy? Can it be that many of us have: No friends, no pleasures, no home and no one to help? What could be sadder? Would this be enough to induce constant sorrow? Constant means never ceasing, not changing or varying, uniform, steadfast. Constant means to have a feeling with you 24 hours a day, everyday of the week and every week of the year. A Man of Constant Sorrow would be a sad person indeed.

Do we all sometimes feel this pain and sorrow from the daily toils and doubts of life? I think many of us do. There are too many depressed people in the world for it not to be true. Most of us get over it though, but what of the people who do not? What do you think it would be like to live in constant sorrow? Do you know anyone who you think might? What could you do to help this person? How can we all help make sure that no one in the entire world lives a life of constant sorrow? Is this an impossible dream?

Are you having enough fun time?

There is no time that is better than fun time. Most children would not have a problem with this statement. When we are young most of our time is fun time. The older we get, the less fun time we have. Fun time is spontaneous, unstructured and not goal driven. I get a laugh out of the corporate saying: “We work hard, but we play hard.” That is an oxymoron. Play and fun are not about hard or accomplishing anything. Hard is a macho concept that denotes a phallic reference that often seems to take ascendancy over the feminine in society. Thus, working hard and playing hard are more to be valued than playing soft or working soft. When did you ever hear anyone extol the virtues of playing soft?

Well, if you want to work hard, that’s good, but don’t play hard. Playing hard destroys the essence of play. Play is about freedom and spontaneity. It is going where you want to go, doing what you want to do and not having to answer for the results. Retirement is the oasis of play that many people dream of. People wait years for retirement so they can do what they want to do. Retirement is play time for adults. Once we retire, we can become as little children again. Can you imagine wanting to have a “hard” retirement. I would much prefer my retirement to be soft and leisurely. I want to take long walks in the woods, smell more flowers, kick more cans, take more long naps and get in as much fun time as I can get in. We all need to have more fun time. We live in a work-alcoholic world driven by time clocks and computers. Perhaps, there would be less stress and less crime in our society if we all had more time for fun. I know there would be less road rage.

How much time do you have set aside for fun today? Do you take time each day just for fun? What do you have to do to have more fun time in your life? What would your life be like if you could play more and work less? Why wait for retirement?

Have you forgotten the past?

“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” – G. Santayana. I first came across this quote on a tablet engraved at Dachau, a German concentration camp during WW II. The camp is now a war memorial for the millions of Jewish people and others murdered by the Nazis. Today, more than 50 years later and we still are fighting over the truth of the Holocaust. There are still those who say the Holocaust never happened. Worse, there are those who sport Nazi arm bands and wear Hitler tattoos. Many of us have no wish to forget the past but we want to remember it accurately. It is not heritage when there is hate involved. It should not be remembered with nostalgia by the perpetrators when others suffered, died and were ignominiously buried. Imagine if someone suddenly said that crucifixions were an important part of their heritage and they did not want to forget them! Christians venerate the resurrection not the crucifixion of Jesus.

What a desecration to the past efforts of millions of Americans and others who gave their lives to wipe this disease of fascism and hate off of the face of the earth! To parade around in jack boots and Heil Hitler salutes is an insult to humanity. How in heaven’s name has it blossomed again and why? Are we so ignorant of the past that we do not think it can happen again? Do we not read the paper and notice the increased violence against minorities and immigrants. Why is this true? Why are we forgetting the past and allowing this rotten blight to spread? Are we willing to trade our freedom for security? What about the past do you need to remember? What have you chosen to forget it?

Are you confusing heritage with hate? Do you romanticize the past and forget the evil that was often done to others? The good old days were not often so good to others as they might have been to some.

Moving ON

Well, Karen and I moved from WBL to Frederic, Wisconsin. Seems like lots has changed besides the place we lived for over 40 years. Karen retired, downsized our home, and threw or gave away about 1/2 of what we had collected these 40 years. Had to figure out where to put things in a house that is much smaller than we had. What else to throw, my computer crashed, hard drive burnt and power supply failed. Went from Cable 25 mps to DSL 10 mps and am still finding sites where my old email address is wrong. Somehow in getting my computer up again, I lost all of my old addresses on Outlook. I hope I will be able to reconnect with many of you.

Also, I have not had time to do a blog since the move. Well, I am getting back to having things put together. So today, I have the following blog for you.

“Summertime, when the living is easy.” This line from the musical “Porgy and Bess” by G. Gershwin seems to resonate in my mind when the warm breezes start blowing the cold weather away in Minnesota. We all love summer. For many of us, it is a time of vacations and connotations of freedom from school and work. However, why does the song say the living is easy? I think it is because summer seems to bring that association to mind despite the fact that it is not now nor probably ever was easy. Nevertheless, we think of the lushness of fresh fruit, vegetables, the farmers market and long days and nights. It does not matter that we may work all summer, the dream is still there of “easy living.”

As we get older, most of us will think back to our childhoods with fond summer memories of doing nothing but kicking rocks, jumping rope, fishing, swimming off of the old bridge, camping with our friends or weekends at the cabin with our family. Perhaps these are more traditional Minnesota memories but no doubt you will have your own memories associated with summer time. All over the world, people are in vacation mode during the summertime. Perhaps you will spend your summer traveling to exotic destinations or simply taking a short trip to visit relatives. Summer brings a longing for what we want life to have in store for us as we age. Summer is a time of psychological retirement years before any of us will ever retire.

What are your best summer memories? What did you once do each summer that is now simply a memory? What summer traditions do you still celebrate? What do you hope your future summers will have in store for you?

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