Jumping Off the Bandwagon

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

WARNING: This post is not about Robin Williams.

I may lose readers after having read this post and that’s fine. This blog has never been about the numbers game. It’s about stirring your soul… and encouraging you to look into yourself… to realize your potential… and to focus on what really matters — how you choose to use your gifts, live, and contribute to humanity.

Earlier today I scrolled through the WordPress Reader and recent posts on other social media sites. I knew I’d see them but was astounded at how many people jumped on the Robin Williams bandwagon. Then I intentionally paused to process what I’d seen and read.

I have nothing against Robin Williams. He was a creative and talented man. He brought laughter and thought into many people’s lives, in and out of character. He battled his own demons. And I began to wonder, why does it often require a celebrity, fame, or someone with name recognition, to call our attention to social issues, serious needs, and opportunities? Why do people frequently hold up and pay tribute to talented individuals, people with marquee names, upon their passing?

What about mankind’s masses who struggle and are similarly burdened but are not wealthy, famous and/or “successful?”

In the above video, Clark Little tells how he has chosen to pursue his passion. He didn’t do what everyone else was doing. He blazed his own trail. And he’s loving every minute of life. He’s focused on and using his personal gifts to fulfill his potential. He’s not a lemming; expending energy on simply doing what many others are doing.

Sure there are lessons to be learned from Robin Williams’s choice to end his life. He has, as have others before him, rekindled and created awareness about mental health and addiction. They are real problems and warrant attention. But does jumping on the viral bandwagon to share a few kind words about him change anything?

So you may be saying, what’s your point Eric? Well, it’s pretty simple. Each of us, however illuminated our names are in lights, has unlimited potential. We possess personal gifts and skills. We have enormous, untapped capacity to live our purpose.

The questions then: Are you? Are you acting in your own unique way to effect change? Change that you desire and value? Are your actions genuinely aligned with what really matters? If they are/you are not, what are you waiting for? Are you your own leader? Are you creating moments that are meaningful, even if there is no fame, fortune or popularity involved?

When young, ducklings follow the brace because it’s instinctive. Humans, too. But what makes our species special is that we don’t have to paddle or flock in formation. We can soar in any direction we want. And create amazing outcomes, singularly.

81 thoughts on “Jumping Off the Bandwagon

  1. When I read about Williams, I was reminded of Spalding Gray. Even Phil Hartman’s wife.

    We are all teachers. We all can give to others something, even if it’s minute (in our own opinion). When people visit our blogs and click the Like button, it’s supposed to let us know that they read it and liked it.

    But when people comment on our posts… Boy, isn’t that exciting!?!? Now we know they read it (for certain) and have something to say. I think some of the best comments I’ve ever received were “I needed this today [for example, a quote I posted]. Thanks for sharing.”

    What is troubling are the thousands of blogs by people who are struggling with something in their lives. The OCD person, the woman with depression, the abuse victim, the eating disorders sufferer. What’s sad about this is when I go to read their posts, they may have only a handful of “Likes” (really, though, how does one “like” a rather sorrowful post?), and absolutely no comments whatsoever.

    Really? Are we all that afraid to leave an encouraging word for that person? What emotions are going through us when we read a depressing post and decide to not leave some kind of comment?

    Celebrity deaths, like Williams’, are unfortunate. Unfortunate are the deaths of non-celebrities that we never hear about. Unfortunate still, are the millions of people who subtly ask for help and get none. And still unfortunate, the blogging community (not only WordPress) has hundreds and thousands of people telling their stories (telling us all — you and me), looking for an encouraging word, a kind suggestion, or even a “thanks for sharing,” yet very little comes their way.

    Celebrity or not, people who could use a kind word deserve one. They deserve that and so much more.

    What if our “two cents” actually helps the person? What if it was a single, key word we wrote that was the deciding factor in saving their life? Or, instead of being so dramatic, tipped them over the edge to seek professional help?

    The changes we all work for within ourselves can also benefit others tremendously. We need only apply them to others.

    Celebrity or not.

    Great post, Eric.

    • Thank you, Michael, for understanding the post’s focus and intent. We share a kindred heart and speak a similar language when it comes to being there for those who don’t have a voice or a vital link to humanity. So little expended on our part can and does speak volumes for countless others. And if we channel our time, energy and even simple resources toward those in need, we can and do make life better.

      To my knowledge few of us who blog here have celebrity status. But what we possess can trump that and favorably impact others, exponentially. Individually and collectively.

      Thank you for your genuine and thoughtful expressions. I, and I know others, appreciate you.

    • I appreciate this post Eric & reply from Michael. Every smile, connection or acknowledgement we give (or do not give) can have a lasting impact on the life of another human being. Their journey we may never know, but we can understand by looking inside ourselves. Living our individual truth gives life & love to the connection between us all. And the smallest act can bring hope to those who feel alone.

    • I hear you, Bruce and your thought even crossed my mind as I pondered the duckling analogy. Yet an unanswered question: Are those in front intentionally leading those following? Or are these behind simply, unwittingly following. Thinking out loud here.

  2. Well stated and similar to a post I made earlier on LinkedIn. To focus on his death for ratings is one thing, but to raise awareness to all those suffering from depression and addiction is where I hope society turns. How many nameless people, right now, are doing or considering a similar act yet we have no idea who they are. Let’s raise awareness and help the many who are suffering.

    • Agreed, Chris, yet creating/raising awareness is an early, necessary step. Once there is clarity about the need and opportunities, then we can focus on adding intentional action to the cause. I believe many of us are already sufficiently aware; we just need to finds ways in which to effect compassionate action. Thank you for adding your thoughtful views to this thread.

  3. Great post, Eric. I had a similar thought today, but it was about all the people who would die this day, or this week, and how few of them would be known or recognized on such a level. I am aware of one death involving a young man who died of a disease contracted donating blood so another could live. But on the other hand, we are looking for ‘justice’ in the wrong places if we think the answer is equal air time or something– as would be my own first, emotional reaction. People like Robin Williams have a role in the flow of Creation that is unique, that has something to do with a great many of us. This isn’t good or bad. It will run its course. Lives will be touched in ways we cannot comprehend or fathom. The thing, as you say, is to be who WE are. To the fullest extent possible. Not to let Life sweep past us in the headlines… There’s so much REAL LIFE right where each of us live…

    Michael

    • Well said and shared, Michael. Lives will continue to be (hopefully) favorably affected, regardless of a ‘name recognition’ led incident. To the extent that we choose to focus on knowing and valuing ourselves and then leveraging our gifts to help others, is where the meaning and significance will be experienced and appreciated – by few or perhaps, many. Thank you for your heart felt comment.

  4. Eric – poignant post. However shocking the death of Robin Williams, it has served a greater purpose if we can see it. Among the many gifts of his legacy, a reminder, if not an awakening to what we know and what we do not about anyone’s life – even those whom we believe we know so well. At some point in our lives, we live what we believe others expect us to be. The longer we remain in and are rewarded for that behavior or way of being, the more we become separated from our true soul essence. Ah…separation… the core of all suffering. Add to that the fear of judgment if we ask for help, owing to a belief that we must and surely can muscle through the suffering…until we cannot. Those among us who do not succumb to the power of the loneliness inherent in separation, and find other ways to cope, hope for a road to more joy and peace without the seemingly needed distraction of any addiction. Then there are others who make it through the dark forest, find the light and realize (real eyes) the power of the light within. Somehow, I feel that Robin Williams and the many celebrities who have gone before use the world stage to remind us of what we know, what we do not know and Who We Really Are. Love.

    • Thank you, Carrie, for your wonderful and thought-provoking thoughts. I hear your words, clearly. And while, as you posit, Robin Williams and the many celebrities who have gone before use the world stage to remind us… even if they do/did, I’m (hopefully) wondering how all of the tributes expressed are then turning attention toward needs and opportunities AND the requisite action to effect needed change.

      I’m with you on “knowing who we really are.” How then, can/do we create sustainable inspiration that will transform people’s new or rekindled views into tangible shifts. As shared in an earlier reply, some of post-post ‘stream of consciousness’ thoughts/questions are rhetorical. πŸ™‚

  5. Thank you for sharing your perspective Eric and continuing to fly out of formation πŸ™‚
    I was sad to hear the news. Yet, as I watched all the tributes and comments mount up I found myself asking “why”? Why do so many people need to say something about this. I don’t have the answer … because I believe it isn’t fair to label everyone in the same way, and there may be multiple reasons behind the posts.
    But one thing is for sure, social media continues to evolve and impacts all of us … for better and worse.
    Val x

    • You get a virtual hug, Val, for calling me on flying out of formation. I love that. πŸ™‚

      To your kind comment, yes, social media impacts all of us… for better or worse. Part of my obvious frustration is that we’ve yet to harness (and maybe we’re not meant to) social media in such ways, so as to enable and nurture all of the potential that we have to help. Yes, it’s certainly creating virtual awareness yet it (and we) can be even more effective at effecting needed and valuable change.

      It’s probably unnerving to some (many?) when Eric gets on his soapbox. Alas, I’m on a mission and just warming up. We just need to help keep him positively focused as he continues on his compassionate trajectory.

      Thank for adding your appreciated views.

      • Val and Eric – lovely comments! Flying out of formation indeed! What a lovely phrase to express our individual approach to leading our lives! ❀

  6. Provocative post Eric. Thank you. I know I’m frustrated by not having answers to your wonderful questions about what is my purpose and am I living it. At times, I’m ready to give up as Robin apparently did. I can only hope that my writing and blogging are at least part of my purpose. My voice and community seem to be growing, yet I have no job or income. An interesting mix. Lots of questions, few answers. Onward I go.

    • Thanks, Brad. The post was intentionally (and likely, obviously) provocative. The questions, as posed, were/are intended to be reflective. I don’t know if many have clear answers so please don’t feel frustrated by not having answers yourself.

      I hope you are not serious in mentioning that, at times, you are ready to give up. If those thoughts are serious or frequent, please consider seeking appropriate counsel. Asking for help and strength is not a weakness. Not asking for help, is foolish.

      I hope you are able to find answers to some of your personal questions. It is heartening that you concluded your comment with a positive statement. So, onward you go! πŸ™‚

  7. Expressed very nice Eric!
    The death of Robbin Williams seems to touch a big pain in the people … we can always just feel ourselves, feel our own pain and here seems to me a chance to rest, to finally feel once to really feel what deep is possibly hidden in us to “woe”. This allow to look at and to remain so for ourselves … then also something wonderful can develop from it …. for ourselves. A new force that encourages us, a new way to go, perhaps a small change, or just an awareness of all the wonders that are there in our own lives and are buried only by the lived everyday. Seen in the death of Robin Williams can now also be something like a “wake up call” for us. That would be a nice gift.
    Thank you for your words, Eric!
    πŸ™‚

    • Lovely to have you join the online conversation, Vera. Thank you for creating time to share your thoughts. I am particularly drawn to your simple yet significant term, “…perhaps a small change,…” That is all it takes, isn’t it, Vera? Especially when the change is as simple as taking action. So if Mr. Williams’s passing is intended as a “wake up call” for us, what are we (individually and collectively) going to do and when are we starting? πŸ™‚

      • Dear Eric πŸ™‚

        Whatever we do, always done the “right” time …. even if we believe that this or that would have otherwise, “should” sooner or later, or never happen. My inner conviction is that everything is always perfect …. even if something does not seem perfect, simply because it just IS.

        So: start, whenever “you want”, it will be the right time πŸ™‚

  8. Eric I appreciate your most thought provoking post. I agree that each of us has huge potential to make a difference, to reach others and those most unnoticed are often those in most need.
    Robin Williams’ death certainly is leading to a media frenzy. The exploitation aspect I do not like. However having been the first on scene to two suicides in the past two years I can only hope that the awareness this tragedy brings will outweigh the negative bandwagon jumping. If even one person who was contemplating suicide yesterday feels today that it is all right to tell someone, then I can tolerate the bandwagon.

    • Thanks for sharing your unique, personal perspective, Sue. Tragedy has a way of bringing people and their emotions to a surface. What, unfortunately, tend to happen is that our collective consciousness is raised, heightened, and then it wanes — into the chaotic lives that are ours.

      I hear and agree with your closing thought… the potential for good outweighing what distracts/detracts. And I am hopeful that will be the case for some.

      I wish there existed a way in which we could sustain the good will (and that’s one-off pun tribute) that has bubbled up in a tragic death, even though most deaths are tragic losses to someone.

      • The human brain has the ability to cope by forgetting traumatic incidents however this strength of human psyche is one of our greatest weaknesses in that such incidents and the message they leave become less potent. A double edge sword.

  9. Great post, Eric. While we all wonder the how and why of this event, we need to step back and take note of our own lives. We all make our own choices. And that video was AMAZING!

  10. Wonderful post Eric. I think we underestimate the voiceless and unknown masses. They are heard and responded to but not in ways we can understand or grasp. We don’t grasp and understand it precisely because we believe that things are only heard when they are illuminated in the lights of celebrity and popularity. I believe there is an underlying listening that goes on that we know nothing about. Don’t ask me to explain it. It’s beyond explanation. It’s this hidden listening and action that ultimately causes the great revolutions of this world, not the singular death of a celebrity, although even that is weaved into this mysterious pattern. Again, thanks for a great post.

    • You don’t need to explain the “underlying listening” that goes on, Don, at least to me. I get it and recognize its potential. Yes, individual events, be they cause for celebration of sense of deep loss, contribute to this “pattern.” And in due time, I believe we will see, feel , know, and be tremendously appreciative when it manifests. As intended. Even now, though, we can give voice to and support those who desperately need our gifts and compassionate action. We who are willing to act, can and ought to, now. Always appreciate the depth of your thoughtful comments.

  11. I don’t know that the death of Robin Williams is any more important than the death of a lesser known person. If a friend of mine, or family member, had died in the same manner I would have reacted in the same way. With sorrow and shock (more intense because of the personal connection) as would have that person’s family and friends as I know them. It’s that MORE people were aware of Robin Williams than, let’s say, me. If we take proportionally the number of people who were aware of Mr. Williams and reacted with sadness, grief, shock, and compared it to the number of people who would react like that in my life…. the numbers may differ. But not the percentage.

    Millions may not be aware of me. But those who are aware of me-would have the same reaction. Sadness. Grief. Shock.

    In regards to my capacity and ability to do what I can in life…. I have to admit I have not always been my own leader. Definitely not. But I have grown and changed and ‘morphed’ in to who I am now. And I may not have the reach that others have but I reach who I can in the manner that I am capable, and eager, to reach.

    I think the bandwagon of sympathy and sadness is part of our human capacity. And to recognize sorrow and depression and suffering is something we should be able to share. I wouldn’t want us to lose that. Come the day I pass, I may not have the impact on millions world wide. But my passing will have the same impact on those who did know me.

    Great post to help process these thoughts through Eric.

    • I hear you clearly, Colleen.

      The post was not meant to call into question the realities of sadness, grief or shock. Nor the due tributes. What I had hoped to highlight was, rather than so many channeling time and energy into rational herd behavior, that people would have instead looked inward and realized in their moments of sadness, that they have the capacity to redirect their feelings/emotions into constructive action, rather than simply typing words of condolence of shock.

      Believe me, I get the need to share our suffering; that’s undeniable. Yet imagine the impact, the power, the possible outcome that could have been realized if each of those moments were to have shifted into an immediate, even small, action. The ‘what if’ potential was and remains huge. And how many might have benefited, immediately, from such an intentionally directed focus?

      I know you and I are of similar mind and spirit, in many respects. And I admire and appreciate you for who you are! I also know there is more we can do, individually and collectively – now. We ought not need wait for the next celebrity tragedy to effect needed and promising change.

      From my heart, thank you for contributing your very real and poignant thoughts.

      • I so very much appreciate you Eric.

        I value your message. And I can imagine, with your direction, what could have been accomplished. The nice part of this, is that in small numbers I am starting to see responses that do indicate people made changes. Either for themselves, or to help someone else. I suspect that even happened more than what we know. The shock, I think, overrode all else.

        Thank you very much, for everything. πŸ™‚

  12. ‘I may lose readers after having read this post and that’s fine. This blog has never been about the numbers game.’

    I love it. Bravo, my friend. As a blogger, it is great to see someone write freely without regard for social approval or nice statistics. As a person, I am refreshed by it. As for the post itself, terrific! A great reminder to utilize our potential and to be ourselves. Have a good day, my friend!

    • I’m just wondering, Brian, if I wrote too freely. What warms me is the tie and consideration that many fellow bloggers have put into such substantive and heat felt comments. They may not have agreed with the direction or tenor of my post yet I know we’re all, ultimately, on the same page. We’re good people who are interested in and willing to help those in greater need. I feel and, intuitively, know this.

      Thank you for your kind words and acknowledgment of our unique gifts and potential. Wishing you and your family a beautiful weekend!

  13. It makes sense that a celebrity death touches a nerve on a national scale, especially for a legend like Robin Williams. Many people under 50 feel like they grew up with him, and his characters are part of a lot of our childhoods. Sometimes we don’t realize how much someone is part of the collective consciousness until he is gone, and then we work through our feelings about it with writing.

    I don’t think talking about Mr. Williams silences the anonymous voices out there, because those voices would have remained anonymous anyway. I agree that, as human beings, we should be less distracted by the big shiny things and more focused on compassion for humankind and for the voiceless. I only disagree with the broad brush stroke of the term “bandwagon.” People may have a hundred reasons for writing or talking about Robin Williams that have nothing to do with copying others or following the herd.

    Of course, no one is obligated to blog about him, and I’m sure your other readers share my view that your voice is an interesting and compassionate one. No offense taken whatsoever, in case you were concerned about that; I’m just offering a slightly different take. I’m more likely to read someone who has bold views, not less!

    πŸ™‚

    • I respect and appreciate your “slightly different take,” Eric. Thank you for recognizing my compassionate alignment. It is significant.

      In hindsight, my choice of “bandwagon” was a broad brush stroke. Generalizing, I saw/read so many who were channeling their ‘need to write’ (which in fairness, was an outlet for them). Yet even after pausing and thinking about the possible ‘why’s’ for their postings, I felt a surge of energy and attention that could have been directed elsewhere — in unique, personal actions.

      Thanks, too, for acknowledging that we ought not be distracted by big shiny things and instead, focus on compassion for humankind. That was/is the crux of my rant. I’m already moving on and have nudged Eric’s soapbox off the pedestal. πŸ™‚

  14. Powerful post and your words resonate with your last post ~ finding yourself, finding your passion. As Clark leads to in his video, there are all these risks in life, but it is fun finding the passion ~ and the fear with creating your own path is always present as risk is part of the struggle and glory of life.

    The outpouring of emotions that occurs when someone famous dies, especially the way it has with Robin Williams is a bit fascinating. Talented individuals like Robin Williams are taken to even greater heights by the media, and in a sense this can be a great curse as well… And his death, as sad as it is, should make some people re-evaluate life, reevaluate happiness. To use a cliche, his death is a bit of a ‘reality check’ for those who grew up with his talent…and I agree that while this is sad, focusing on ourselves and those immediately around us is where we should be, for it is the reality around us where greatness truly lies.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Randall. If, as you infer, his death creates or refocuses awareness for people to re-evaluate their life and happiness, then the tragedy has the potential to yield needed reflection. When said reflection shifts one’s thinking into intentional action, we’ve launched those meaningful “ripples” and redirected individual and collective consciousness.

      Here’s to these periodic reality checks reorienting us. Your closing words are both apt and inspiring.

  15. Hi Eric, I didn’t even know about Robin Williams’ death until I read your blog. Goes to show how (intentionally) out of the loop I am. I’d just written a post about having emotional flare ups and dealing with depression. Maybe I was tuned into the collective consciousness. Lots of thoughts floating around my mind about the whole thing, but it does make me realize that even with money and fame, finding a purpose to live is still up to the individual.

    • I suspect some readers will admire and possibly, envy your intentional choice to “out of the loop,” Sedone. I embrace what you’re saying about the value in finding and being our purpose. Once we have that clarity, we can couple it with our passions to address endless opportunities that yearn for our talents and our willingness to give to and support others. Thank you for taking time to add to this online conversation. And stay well, yourself!

  16. Hi Eric,

    I am deeply touched by the purpose of your blog and the choice of your words…stirring our souls! I think your posts do have that quality. Thanks for jumping off the wagon and thinking about not so famous and ordinary human beings.

    I may sound cynical but I must say that people are only good at paying tributes, lamenting the loss and sympathising. There are very few out there who offer a helping hand to the anguished and the suffering. They move around, wearing masks of happiness, flaunting their so called perfect lives and don’t want to ask for help. That is the tragic reality of modern living which has become so individualistic and self oriented – for both kinds of people.

    It is quite challenging to find a purpose in life and most of us just live for ourselves or may be for our families, making them comfortable and happy. Most of the potential may remain untapped in such cases. You have raised some stirring questions… food for thought! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, Balroop, for sharing your always grounded thoughts. I believe many of us are on the same page and concur with your observations and beliefs.

      What most caught my attention though was your remark about how challenging it is for some people to find their life purpose. I see this as opportunity lost or to your perspective (and mine as well), untapped potential. Purpose, as you know, can be simple or complex; it can be inward facing or outward reaching. Yet we all have a purpose and once it’s realized, we can do even more, with intentional focus, to care about and aid “ordinary human beings.”

  17. i agree with many of the other comments – wonderful post, and i share the same sentiments. i also enjoyed the video – how totally inspiring. makes me excited that there are things out there that i might LOVE do to, as clark does…and they have yet to be discovered. that’s the fun part hehe. thank you! πŸ™‚ aleya

    • Thanks, Aleya. I agree with many of the comments, too. πŸ™‚ And I am humbled that so many readers created time to express their varied and thoughtful views.

      In its simplicity, the video about Clark Little is, to your remark and excitement, very inspiring. How often do we hear people saying, just do what you love? πŸ™‚ With your current situation, you have a wonderful opportunity be travel a path similar to Clark. Have fun exploring and choosing your next life direction. πŸ™‚

  18. I can’t imagine you losing readers from your thoughtful post, Eric. It is truth. A truth most of us know, but may need to reminded of. Thank you. On another note, one of my husband’s biggest passions has always been surfing, so I truly enjoyed the video too. Watched it three times. πŸ˜€

    • Thank you, Elizabeth, for acknowledging the post as thoughtful. That was my intention. And if the post reminded some (preferably many) of what they can do when their purpose is known, their passions driving, and their actions inspired — I say, smiling, watch out world! πŸ™‚

      I won’t disclose how many times I have watched the video. Let’s just say that it resonated deeply and continues to speak, clearly, to me. And I hope to others.

  19. As I read this post, you see the volume of ostensible tributes to Robin Williams as misplaced energy. You would prefer that “the lemmings” re-direct that energy to effect real change.

    I don’t have a suitable vantage point to understand or oversee all the various ripples set in motion by our actions and our inaction.

    Perhaps millions of people “jumping on the viral bandwagon to share a few kind words” will create a tidal wave of compassion. If so, let’s hope someone captures it on film. 😎

    • Well, I’ll begin my reply by clarifying that the word ostensible is yours. Whether the tributes are misplaced energy few, if any, of us can quantify that.

      I like your referencing ripples set in motion. They, I believe, have been, to some unknown extent. I’d love to have it validated that we’ve created a “tidal wave of compassion.” Whether his passing and the outpouring of feelings and tributes has launched that channeling, remains to be seen.

      Onward some of us will continue, riding that giant wave into beaches of opportunity — where our tangible support and actions will yield desired change and outcomes.

      Thanks, Nancy, for often sharing thoughtful views with an accompanying smile. Your light-heartedness is appreciated.

      • Yes! My fervent wish is that I make it to the “Finish Line” with my sense of humor intact. :mrgreen:

        I used the word “ostensible” because none of the tributes I read dealt with Robin’s life ~ instead, his death was used as a springboard to get other issues into the spotlight. My post tomorrow (Reality: What a Concept!) delves into this observed phenomenon in greater detail.

      • Interesting, Nancy. Easily more than half of the posts I read were his life-centric.The other half-ish had a hodgepodge foci.

        Your sense of humor is what will likely contribute to your not nearing the “Finish Line” for quite some time. πŸ™‚

      • Some of the news articles I read addressed the Who, What, When, Where, and How of his life, but the blog posts I opened veered off in other directions with little more than a passing glance.

        A sense of humor may extend our longevity . . . unless we pull the plug.

  20. Your post is so spot on Eric… Working as I do among Mental Health issues there are so many who are struggling their own demons who battle on.. While like many who paid tribute to Robin Williams I was sad to learn of his choice.. That was his choice to make.. And no one but he knew the state of his mind at the time of his choice..

    His death as you say merely highlights the problems facing millions of others out there.. And He led a privileged life compared to many..
    Each of us have to ride our own waves and use our own strengths to overcome internal battles and many times I am sure many have thought of giving up, and some do,.. Many get knocked back down as those unexpected waves hit. But many get back up on their boards and keep paddling… searching for their perfect ride…
    Life is like that. Its a constant motions of ups and downs.. Its learning to stay balanced and stay on the board ,,, and enjoy the experience ..

    • Having read your thoughtful comment, Sue, I was thinking…. why do (the collective) we tend to focus on the the struggles and the internal battles. I don’t raise this to diminish how severe and challenging they are for some — especially those who are legitimately, medically diagnosed with mental health disease. Rather, what I’m wondering aloud is what might/could happen if (what I’ll generalize as everyday) people were to simply accept and allow, and frame their unique situation in the best possible light? To look at what life has handed them as perhaps, less than ideal (maybe even lousy) yet find ways to appreciate the lesser blessings in their lives. We all have, to your apt expression, ups and downs and many (most?) of us find ways to deal with what’s been dealt. There just seems to be such a convenient default to negative views when there might just be some unilluminated positives in events. Sorry to ramble; you’re comment got the wheels churning — something I often do. πŸ™‚ Thanks for adding to the expansive conversation on this topic.

      • No I am pleased you thoughts got chugging away… Most people do not look upon the downs as a positive lesson.. Most do not view life as we have learnt to view it from our perspective. Of seeing or turning a negative into a positive experience..
        If life were all roses and light,, what would we really learn?
        We are here in the material world of matter, learning to experience. And we are learning from duality in the form of energy.. Positive and Negative.. We wouldn’t know What Good is if we didnt have the bad to measure it by..
        But people have been throughout their lives conditioned especially in this modern day era of ‘Wanting’ and Expecting. We bring children up expecting so much.. and they get to expect all they want to happen.. because for those who are lucky in our modern day world.. Most parents try to give their children what they want..
        So as adults they see the downs as failures and not an opportunity in which to learn and grow…

        Take a look at the otherside of the world however and look into the childs face who has to walk miles to fetch water in bare feet. and then walks even more miles to a school to get educated.. And look upon the smiles upon those faces.. In comparison they have nothing.. Our children would not endure such an existence.. And yet these children are Happy..
        Its all about the seeds we are planting within our society and our perceptions of our experience..
        To the African child, who has a pencil and a textbook this is a goal they strive to achieve.. While our children want so much more.. And as adults still expect everything!..
        Once our perception of LIFE changes, as ours has, we alter our way of being knowing that all things we experience is for a reason and often we will draw those experiences to us by our very powerful mind the energy of our creative force… As we manifest that which we think. πŸ™‚
        Many thanks for your in-depth answer Eric πŸ™‚

  21. I’m glad to read this. I thought I might be the only one who wasn’t “on” the bandwagon. I’ve noticed in my own family how easy it is to canonize someone after they die. They may be a shit while they’re living, but once they die, especially if they suffer, they are promoted to sainthood. It is quite a phenomenon.

  22. My husband says people are like sheep and in some ways he is right. A friend of mine once told a story of going with friends to see a play in New York. Before buying tickets they had to stand in a long line and patiently wait their turn. My friend said to her group, ‘Why don’t we go to the other ticket booth and get tickets?’ So they walked over to the other ticket window, bought their tickets and entered the theater. πŸ™‚ Because as each group got in line, those behind followed those ahead and so on. People truly are like sheep.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and appreciated comment, Jackie. Your husband and I seem to be of similar mind — he refers to them as sheep (and I get that) and I call them lemmings. (Ir)rational herd behavior. This frustrates me, at times, as each of us has such a unique capacity to think, believe, and act independently, rather than simply following others. Okay, off my soapbox. πŸ™‚

  23. With all due heartfelt respect for RW, why does it take the death or misfortune of a famous person to create a sudden rush of awareness and concern for a disease the person may have suffered? Millions of people suffer every day with depression so now it’s suddenly chic to discuss the matter.

  24. Phew! Eric, this was a great post and one of the best chains of responses I have seen in a long time. I was heartened to see that so many people are thoughtful and compassionate in their lives. Perhaps the untimely and unfortunate death of a celebrity, for reasons we will never understand, just brings our inner feelings to the surface.

    • It does bring them to the surface, Mary, as evidenced by the outflowing of thoughts/feelings about his passing. As shared in the post, the intention was to not only stir the soul but to, hopefully, create awareness around the need, opportunity, and potential for each of us to act on our feelings — not to simply type an online tribute. We’ll not likely know what, if any, impact his demise will have on people taking action. It just (obviously) bugged me that it took/takes notoriety to focus people on serious issues. And to do something about those issues.

      Glad you created time to read and add to a thoughtful stream of online consciousness. Thank you.

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