Monday, 9 July 2007

Tuesday with Morrie

Start by asking yourself these questions.

Have you found someone to share your heart with?
Are you giving to your community?
Are you at peace with yourself?
Are you trying to be as human as you can be?

That's what Morrie would have ask you when you have chance to meet him. But the truth is, you won't have chance to see him because he had passed away. The book "Tuesday with Morrie" was about his last journey on earth where he shared his experience with a wonderful writer, Mitch Albom.

Coincidentally, I blogged about death quite a lot lately. Especially on my post What if there is no second chance? , I really feel like I have not been living my life quite meaningfully. My best friend just told me few days ago that I did not seem to enjoy life now. Her observant brother told her (which she would relate to me later) despite my calm exterior, I had many troubles. She said she like the old me lot better.

Denial was my first response. I said I did enjoy my life, especially with seeing friends, long karaoke hours on last few weekends and with my recent reading habit. But after I contemplated more, I have to agreed with my friend.

I could not quite pinpoint how I become what she think I become. There was the huge responsibilities at work. There were the hunger for growth and getting ahead. We were told to commit and scale up as fast as possible. If not, we will be left behind. But no matter how much you have improve, you just seemed to be improving a little and not enough and were told you need much more improvements to meet the demand. Then, there were the sharing of problems where others who did not commit and perform, breaking the spirit of teamwork. Then, you would have been told you are not matured enough and not experienced enough to dream or venture out of your comfort zone.

And, in relationship, you just cannot be naive and trustful because that will make you vulnerable. You are not to expect love to be long lasting. That's where the culture teach us to be more materialistic and logical in relationship. Emotion and Feeling is second priority.

I was clouded with negativity. Years after years, I did not realize I have my positive nature sucked out of me. I think, sometimes I did fight for something good. But it was tiring and sometimes I could be helpless. That's the price one have to pay for trying to go to fast and seldom stop to look, to appreciate the beautiful things around me. But it is never too late to realize and change.
Life is supposed to be fun. Work can be fun. Relationship can be selfless. We just need to build the culture. As Morrie said , "If the culture doesn't work, don't buy it".

Morrie touched on several topics , for which I am most proud to pen them down here. If you haven't read the book, I recommend you to do so. Let's learn from Morrie.

  1. About the World

    The most important things in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love , we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levine said it right. He said, “Love is the only rational act.”

  1. Feeling Sorry for Yourself

    Sometimes in the morning, That’s when I mourn. I feel around my body, I move my fingers and my hands – whenever I can still move – and I mourn what I’ve lost. I mourn the slow, insidious way in which I’m dying. But then I stop mourning.
    I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in
    my life.
    It’s horrible to watch my body slowly wilt away to nothing. But it’s also wonderful because of all the time I get to say good-byes. Not everyone is so "lucky".
  1. Regret

    The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about to die. We’re so wrapped up with egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator when it breaks – we’re involved in trillions of little acts just to keep going. So, we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying. Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?

    You need someone to probe you in that direction. It wont just happen automatically.

    We all need teachers in our lives.
  1. Death

    Everyone knows they’re going to die but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.
    So, we kid ourselves about death. But there’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you‘re living.

    How can you ever be prepared to die?
    Do what Buddhist do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?’

    The truth is once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

    But everyone knows someone who has died. Why is it so hard to think dying? Because most of us all walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully, because we’re half-asleep, doing things we automatically thin we have to do.And facing death changes all that. You strip away all the stuffs and you focus on the essentials. When you realize you are going to die, you see everything much differently.

    We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don’t satisfy us. The loving relationship we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted.

    Learn how to die and you learn how to live.
  1. Family

    The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure groung, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. Its become quite clear to me as I’ve been sick. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get form a gamily , you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, “Love each other or perish”.

    And it’s so true. Without love, we are birds with broken wings.

    Say I was divorced, or living alone, or had no children. This disease – what I am going through – would be much harder. I’m not sure I could do it. Sure, people would come visit, friends, associates, but it’s not the same as having someone who will not leave. It’s not the same as having someone whom you know has an eye on you, is watching you the whole time.

    This is the part of what a family is about, not just love, but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out for them. It’s what I missed so much when my mother died – what I call your “spiritual security” – knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.

    There is not experience like having children. There is no substitute for it. You cannot do it with a friend. You cannot do it with a lover. If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children.

  1. Emotions

    What I’m doing now is detaching myself from
    the experience.

    Detaching myself – important for just not someone like me, who is dying , but for someone like you, who is perfectly healthy. Learn to detach. You know what the Buddhists say? Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent.

    Detachment doesn’t mean you didn’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it.

    Take any emotion – love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, of what I’m going though , fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions – if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them – you can ever get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief . You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails.

    But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in
    , all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, “All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment. ”

    Same for loneliness: you let go, let the tears flow , feel it completely – but eventually be able to say, “All right, that was my moment with loneliness. I’m not afraid of feeling lonely, but now I’m going to put that loneliness aside, and know that they are other emotions in the world, and I’m going to experience them as well.”


  1. Fear of aging

    Embrace aging. As you grow older, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-tow. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that yu understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.

    Why do peop
    le always say “Oh, if I were young again.” You never heard people said , “I wish I were sixty-five”.You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can’t wait until sixty-five.

    If you are always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyhow.
    You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.

  1. Money

    Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

    If you’re trying to show off for the people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for the people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.

    Do the kinds of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied, you won’t be envious, you wont be longing for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back.

  1. How Love Goes on

    I believe in being fully present. That means you should be
    with the person you’re with. When I’’m talking to you now, I try to keep focused only on what is going on between us. I am not thinking about something we said last week. I am not thinking about coming up this Friday. I am not thinking about doing another things.

    I am talking to you. I am thinking about you.

    "If we can remember the feeling of love we once had, we can die without ever going away."

  1. Marriage

    There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage. If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna
    have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.

    And the biggest one of those values – your belief in the importance of your marriage.

    Love each other or perish.

  1. Our culture

    People are only mean when threatened and that’s what our culture does. That’s what our economy does. Even people who have jobs in our economy are threatened, because they worried about losing them. And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. Is it all part of this culture.

    How you think, what we value – you must choose yourself. You cant let anyone or any society determine those for you.
    The biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don’t see what we could be. We should be looking at out potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can become.

    "If the culture doesn't work, don't buy it."

  1. Forgiveness

    It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the thongs we should have done. You can’t get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened. That doesn’t help you when you get where I am.

    I always wished I had written more books. I used to beat myself up over it. Now I see that never did any good. Make peace. You need to make peace with yourself and everyone around you.

    Forgive yourself. Forgive others.

  1. Perfect Day

    If Morrie had one day perfectly healthy? Here was his answer.

    Let’s see… I’d get up in the morning, do my exercises, have a lovely breakfast of sweet rolls and tea, go for a swim, then have my friends come over for a nice lunch. I’d have them come one or two at a time so we could talk about their families, their issues, talk about how much we mean to each other.
    Then I’d like to go for a walk, in a garden with some trees, watch their colors, watch their birds, take in the nature that I haven’t seen in so long now. In the evening, we’d all go together to a restaurant with some great pasta, maybe some duck – I love duck – and then we’d dance the rest of the night. I’d dnace with all the wonderful dance partners out there, until I was exhausted. And then I’d go home and have a deep , wonderful sleep?

    And here was Mitch's response.

    That’s it? It was so simple. So average. I was
    actually a little disappointed. I figured he’d fly to Italy or have lunch with the President or romp on the seashore or try every exotic thing he could think of. After all these months, lying there , unable to move a leg or a foot – how could he find perfection in such an average day?
    Then I realize this was the whole point.

Author's Note:
Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it is only in your head. Sometimes It is right alongside their beds.

I wish I have a great coach like Morrie......

My final note: I knew a lot of people have read this book. But knowing what Morrie was trying to tell us is not enough. One have to know how to apply them in life. And one has to start now!

We can ask these questions everyday...
Have you found someone to share your heart with?
Are you giving to your community?
Are you at peace with yourself?
Are you trying to be as human as you can be?


autumnmusic said...

"My final note: I knew a lot of people have read this book. But knowing what Morrie was trying to tell us is not enough. One have to know how to apply them in life. And one has to start now!"

...I don't even remember what I've read already... -_-'''

Susan said...

It is funny when some people read a book, they do not really learn anything from it. I probably said they do not even understand the book.

"Tuesday with Morrie" was a birthday gift to me from a person who, though really like the book but is not showing any bit of the values shown by Morrie.

The same person who understand relationship with people so little and continue to hurt people around him. And the same person who probably read more than triple of the books I have read and interested in a lot of spiritual books.

I continue to wonder it there is something in a person core that will not really change?

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