Today is July 10,2019. I am writing this story as I fly to Bloodvein First Nation in Manitoba Canada. The morning looks gorgeous, with lots of sunshine. As I look through the window of my plane, I am awed by the beauty of the vegetation. It’s all green, full of life and hope. Crops look beautiful, every farm look well trimmed and full. As we fly over Lake Winnipeg, I see total beauty, clear water, small island and calmness. It is a beautiful day indeed!
Surely, I can’t imagine that in a few months all of these vegetation and Lake Winnipeg will be covered with snow and a long cold winter. That’s is sad to imagine but that will start to be the the reality starting in October. Where am I going with this? In my short life on this earth I have come to realize that our time in every season of life is limited. Everything and everyone has an expiration date and we will eventually pass from this world. The thing is, we have no idea when our time on this world will end. So, while we’re still alive, we have to live life to the fullest.
There is no better way to explain this than it is shown in the movie Dead Poets Society. The movie has these scene where on the first day at school, the English teacher, Prof. Keating (Robin Williams), drags his boys out of the classroom into the hallway and shows them the pictures of graduates who were the legends of the school – those who had died, but had contributed a verse that would not be forgotten. He says:
“Now I’d like you to step forward over here. They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you; their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? …”
In order to emphasize the point, he brings them closer to the photos and whispers in their ears:
“Carpe… hear it? …carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
In doing these, he wanted them to be the best they could; to take life by the scruff of the neck and live a life filled with passion and joy. But sometimes the fight can leave us for no obvious reasons. Which is why we must never forget to tell those around us that we love them. That we will lift them up when they are down. That we will not forsake them. Because God never forgot us – and He made us to be extraordinary.What is carpe diem? Why is it so important? What if we don’t carpe diem? and How can we live by this phrase?
Carpe diem is a quotation from the Roman poet Horace (65-8 bce). It appears in the last line of Poem 11 in the first book of his Odes, which was published in 23 BCE. The Latin word carpe refers to seize, and diem refers to day.
Carpe diem is a way of thinking, perceiving, and approaching daily life. It simply means to seize the day and to know that yesterday has already left you, and as for tomorrow, you have nothing to prove that it will be yours. In which case, your true life is the present day. Thus, make the present day the most important day of your life. Seize the day, catch the wind, and use all of your potential before it is too late to reach your goals and to realize your dreams.
“We are food for worms, lads,” announces John Keating, the unorthodox English teacher played by Robin Williams in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society. “Believe it or not,” he tells his students, “each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die.”
I am reminded of a story I recently read about the Cherry blossoms, also known as sakura in Japan. The Cherry blossoms are the most commonly used symbol of mortality in all types of art in Japan. The blooming season of cherry blossoms are brief, between Married and April of each year, resulting in instant beauty and immediate death of the flower. They, therefore, serve (within the Japanese culture) as reminders of humanity and mortality since, like cherry blossoms, a human being’s life can end at any given moment. The human condition is epitomized through the cherry blossom, alerting people that life is too short to waste away and that people should live life to the fullest.
The Cherry Blossom period and Dead Poets Society movie are our reminders of how fragile and transient nature of life is , with the cherry blossoms’ short lives reflected in lovely falling petals, and the unpredictability of peak days reflecting the power of nature beyond human control. We should therefore enjoy the moment’s incredible beauty while it lasts.On a daily basis, we should remind ourselves that life is indeed too short and precious to be wasted. This means you should not put precious things and people off or on hold. Pluck the day trusting as little as possible in the future, because the future may never be. It’s now. Pluck your fruit now. And if you are lucky enough to have another day to pluck more, you will see tomorrow, not now. Now, you can only see now! That simple. Make the most of it, waste the least of it.
What makes us miss the opportunity to live for the moments?
- Lack of vision. One of the biggest reasons people miss opportunities to live for the moment in life in life is simply because they have no hope and vision for living. A lack of vision can cripple your ability to look on opportunities that may be right in front of you. You must learn to train yourself to be sensitive and alert to opportunities that come along, and you can start by taking stock of your current situation, setting achievable goals for yourself in the present, and developing visionary long-term goals for your future. Doing so should enhance your ability to evaluate potentially advantageous situations and make you more keenly aware of opportunities that may truly be right for you. Additionally, while evaluating situations and circumstances on their merits is a prudent course of action, avoid the urge to be inflexible and closed-minded; opportunities can present themselves in completely unexpected ways.
- Fear is another huge obstacle that keeps people from seizing opportunities. Fear can come from many different sources: past failures, lack of self-confidence, overestimation of possible problems, uncertainty or concern about taking a loss, etc. However, sometimes in life chances need to be taken if you are ever to progress, so fear must be overcome regardless the source. Having vision and ambition may not be enough if you do not have the willingness to persevere. Hence, work at bravely meeting challenges and fostering confidence in yourself. Adhere to your convictions with constancy, and behave in a positive, proactive manner. If you do these things, you will likely find fear easier to overcome and opportunities more accessible. And remember, failure is not necessarily an ending; it may just result in a new beginning. Many extraordinarily accomplished people experienced failure before ultimately achieving success.
- Listening to doubting voices. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott shares an ingenious method for coping with the critical voices in your mind (the ones that say “I can’t do it” and “You’re ridiculous to even try.”) Your critical teachers (and the not-so supportive friends you may have had) are all in your head when you’re trying to seize an opportunity. Instead of letting their negativity reign, try to isolate one of the voices and imagine [it] as a mouse. Pick it up by the tail and drop it into a mason jar. Then isolate another voice….And so on….Then put the lid on, and watch all these mouse people, clawing at the glass, jabbering away. This exercise helps you to mute the volume on the voices that don’t serve you.
Today, remember that every of your encounters, even seemingly random ones, has a purpose. Every single person whom you encounter, even someone unpleasant, is put in your path for a reason. Always be open to hidden, unexpected possibilities in every one of your experiences. Every encounter, even the ones that ostensibly seem superficial, will offer you an opportunity to be kind, or be helpful, or to refine your emotional attributes. When you travel, even if its for business or pleasure, always be open for the spontaneous encounter that can change your life and the life of another.
As a Christian I am blessed to know that true life living for God and living for others. As I serve First Nations of Manitoba in my capacity as the Regional Coordinator for Jordan’s Principle, facilitating services for First Nation children and their families I am reminded that I am a helper, so I should serve with compassion and love. The one thing that helps me in seizing the moment in my service is to always have a sixth sense, serving from the heart and listening well, even for what is not said or heard. This helps me to me to be close to the hearts of many families and to also to promptly respond to requests based in the best interest of the child.
We have all been placed in this world for a reason, we have expiry dates but God has given each of us ample and short time to do something, you and I are in that prime time (where we are in life) to blossom, like the Cherry Blossom we should enjoy the moment’s incredible beauty while it lasts. What is that one thing that you die to do it but have been putting it on hold, step up, now is the moment. Do it. This is your moment to blossom. Just like Professor Keating says in this lines:
“Now I’d like you to step forward over here. They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you; their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? …”, so I am calling you too, step forward, seize the moment, blossom now, tomorrow is not guaranteed.