Can’t Drive Using Just the Rear View Mirror

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A memory,
That hazardous bridge between you and the present –
The all sweeping, all-knowing now.

You remember
A quiet mind, absent of chatter,
And run towards the past to find it.

You forgot
how stillness found you in the first place:
waiting right in the place you were meant to be.

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Who Knew Seneca Was So Zen?

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“I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response. Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself—as if nothing is being asked for and nothing given. They are trifling with life’s most precious commodity, being deceived because it is an intangible thing, not open to inspection and therefore reckoned very cheap—in fact, almost without any value. People are delighted to accept pensions and gratuities, for which they hire out their labor or their support or their services. But nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. But if death threatens these same people, you will see them praying to their doctors; if they are in fear of capital punishment, you will see them prepared to spend their all to stay alive. So inconsistent are they in their feelings. But if each of us could have the tally of his future years set before him, as we can of our past years, how alarmed would be those who saw only a few years ahead, and how carefully would they use them! And yet it is easy to organize an amount, however small, which is assured; we have to be more careful in preserving what will cease at an unknown point.

No one will bring back the years; no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly. It will not lengthen itself for a king’s command or a people’s favor. As it started out on its first day, so it will run on, nowhere pausing or turning aside. What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.

Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately. Listen to the cry of our greatest poet, who as though inspired with divine utterance sings salutary verses: “Life’s finest day for wretched mortals here/Is always first to flee.” “Why do you linger?” he means. “Why are you idle? If you don’t grasp it first, it flees.” And even if you do grasp it, it will still flee. So you must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.”

Known for being a titular Roman figure around 55AD, these thoughts come from his essay “On the Shortness of Life.” Ready, set, grasp the present – for all it’s worth.

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The Perfect Nesting Spot

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Quiet your mind

Your thoughts, those lofty travelers,

Have been caught racing toward the morning

And the edges of days yet to be seen

Let them perch themselves at last

And nest in the stillness of a rooted home

So that you may close your eyes

And find the truth that you’ve been seeking

On Making Room for the New


Your hands pulse with a satisfying ache, the skin beginning to crack,

You’ve busied yourself with cleaning up the past.

Tidying up corners, polishing up memories

Until they are bright and flawless – a false perfection, a comforting fib –

That affords you a nostalgic sigh as you stare back longingly

At a collection of things half-remembered, half-created.

“Ah, the good ol’ days.”

You flip through this new photobook with wistful glances

At times when life was better, or easier, or happier,

Revering moments that were not quite as they seem,

Forgetting all the while that you are breathing here.

You hear the present knocking, waiting politely at your door

Asking if you will join it for a walk,  just a little one.

“It’s a lovely day outside.”

You hunker down, pulling blankets round you,

Wrapping yourself with fabricated tales of days long since past.

A familiar fortification that is safe and warm.

But as you glance at the material again, you realize their comfort now presses on you,

Weighty and changed. There is no room for these sheets beyond those doors.

A frightening freedom reveals itself.

Through that threshold is a new world, no familiar faces, no tired remembrances

Of a time that has anchored itself into your mind.

“Goodbye old, hello new”

Today you’re making room for you.

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