• evansph2

What if you knew what you’d die of and when and where and who would be there? Would you avoid those places? Would you protect yourself from all danger? Would you try to somehow defeat this knowing? Or, would you walk forward willingly into the fate that was determined for you? Would you disbelieve it? Would you live more consciously? More kindly? Would you slow down? speed up? Would you learn to tap dance? Meditate? Would you quit jogging, dieting? What committees would you resign from? Or, would you finally volunteer to join one because after all you DO want to influence things before you die? Is there a trip you’d take or a restaurant you’ve always wanted to eat in? Or, would you go off on your own to sort out the path to your death?

Of course, we’re on that road right now as I write and you read these words. Is my happiness about not knowing the particulars of my death a protection? If I don’t know, it is easier to stay on the mindless path of the status quo…

There is a Buddhist exercise where you get yourself a toy dagger and you keep it in your belt for a week – a ready reminder that death can always be at hand. Or, at least the awareness of it can.

Here is a poem from Ellen Bass about all this…


What if you knew you'd be the last to touch someone? If you were taking tickets, for example, at the theater, tearing them, giving back the ragged stubs, you might take care to touch that palm, brush your fingertips along the life line's crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase too slowly through the airport, when the car in front of me doesn't signal, when the clerk at the pharmacy won't say Thank you, I don't remember they're going to die.

A friend told me she'd been with her aunt. They'd just had lunch and the waiter, a young gay man with plum black eyes, joked as he served the coffee, kissed her aunt's powdered cheek when they left. Then they walked half a block and her aunt dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon's spume have to come? How wide does the crack in heaven have to split? What would people look like if we could see them as they are, soaked in honey, stung and swollen, reckless, pinned against time?

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  • evansph2

Once again, evidence that we are carried through points of tipping to points of balance relentlessly. As the earth’s axis passes the parallel point, for an instant we are balanced between light and dark, between summer and winter, between which-ever poles our lives balance on. I like to take at least one deep breath to notice that there is both constant change and balance. What in me needs to be rebalanced today? What in me resists moving forward? Letting go? Shifting weight from one foot to the other?

Autumn Equinox

The sun still shines

brightly, but casts

longer shadows.

Colors begin

to fade and



It is a time of balance

and tipping toward

the inevitable.

I sit on this bench



I can’t name

Something like

a guarantee…

Something like


All evidence

to the contrary.

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Updated: Sep 21

So, a friend sent me this link to a writing website (check it out here). which suggested a fun practice – both for writing and for living. Instead of creating a “to-do” list, you create a “to be” list. Rather than beating ourselves up for not accomplishing tasks, we allow ourselves to be – in this moment, for a short time, temporarily. It’s just a reminder about the way we want to be in the world rather than what we want to DO in the world. And it’s kind of fun!

You look around you (right now!) and list some concrete objects that you see around you… table, rug, vase, dust…. And, you think how that concrete object might suggest to you some ways you’d like to be in the world. Not forever, just in this moment as you think about your life. It’s not a new year’s resolution – it’s just a different perspective for how you think about the way you are living. Here are my examples;

I’ll be a phone --- I’ll be handy and compact, always ready to talk or listen. I’ll be a medium for communicating with others. You can hold me in your hand, use me to capture perfect moments, check your messages. But I won’t be a bother. I’ll allow myself to be put on hold or silenced once in a while. I’ll know that there are lots of messages inside and some music too.

I’ll be a pen. I’ll be ready with ink to capture my own thoughts and to communicate with others. I’ll prize flowing smoothly and being colorful. My words will be permanent and meaningful. I’ll also sometimes just doodle for fun and not need to stay within the lines. I’ll realize that I have a finite amount of ink and that I need to say the important words first.

I’ll be a book. My cover will intrigue you and be faithful to what is inside me. I’ll want you to know my thoughts and my story. I’ll want to engage with you. I’ll want to give you something. I’ll allow white spaces around the edges so you can insert your thoughts too. I will impart what I know to be true and will allow you to put in a bookmark and lay me down when you are tired.

I’ll be a lamp. I will always be ready to shed light on what is nearby. I will be a warm glow when things are dark. I will be energy efficient and not give off too much heat with my light. I will be available to plug into any source of energy. I will glow!

I’ll be a chair. My lap will always be ready to receive you. I will make you comfortable. I will put my arms around you. I will be a soft place to rest. I will be a sturdy piece of furniture you can rely on. And I will prize my ability to be hospitable.

So I wish you a generous way of being in the world today – and also I wish you the fun of playing with this idea. Feel free to post yours here too!

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