I've come to believe that it's good to be utterly shaken at the core from time to time.
I mean this in a number of ways: emotionally, spiritually, philosophically, and even physically. This is why solid workouts feel so fulfilling -- if not excruciating -- afterward.
But over the past 24 hours, I've been reduced to my most humble human self on two occasions. Those of you who know me personally probably realize how much of a task that can be -- but I am not exaggerating: twice.
While I can't thoroughly describe either with mere words -- they both require the guttural, raw reaction of actually feeling the sensations -- I can summarize briefly.
After having months of angst, about the future, the present, my wants, my needs, my status, you name it, I had a good friend whip me into shape. The best part? This friend never once used the words "you" or "Louie." We both knew the content was aimed at me, but there was never an ego to latch onto and build a defensive reply. I simply sat back and had a mirror staring at me, forcing me to stare at my own arrogance, denial, and stubbornness. There are certain times when realizing I'm not perfect -- and I don't need to be -- is both the most difficult and most refreshing thing to do.
Then today, feeling tender and ready to "start over," I received a phone call alerting me that one of my former students had passed away. Seizure in her sleep. Twenty-one years old. Tragic.
And again came the mirror. It made me look at the time I waste, the meaningless stressors I allow to take me away at their whim. And it, added with the humility-bomb of last night, led me to consider the ways in which I could be a better teacher, a better friend, and a better man.
Will I heed all of the beautifully rugged reminders of my impermanent, fragile self? Likely not. But as I said in the beginning, it never hurts to be reminded that we're just babies, figuring this whole existence thing out one breath at a time.
I can at least do my best to recall that from time to time.
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