Of Duty.

After hearing of the recent death of reporter Marie Colvin, the extent of who’s noble work I’d only heard of upon her death, I became overwhelmed with a sense of duty to carry out whatever I have been placed here to do.  At the foundation I believe it to be writing. I may find it’s something else later, but I’ll focus my intention and let life take care of the rest.  The truth (at least in my mind) is that all people are instilled with a particular “duty”; that certain something that they are put here to do in only the way they are meant to do it. That thing may be just to live  simply and well; a calling that sometimes I wish I had.

Being a woman of duty can be particularly sticky. For me that stickiness presents its self in the conflicting need to be engaged in the romance of a life-time while at the same time saving the world with my pen. Blame it on the excessive number of Hollywood Golden Age films I watched as a kid, my sometimes diminished self worth, but no matter the source I wish like hell it would go away. I get stuck in these hopeless “relationship” cycles with essentially the same guy in different skin. Never asking for what I really want or need afraid that he’ll “go away”.  In the end, he always does. That’s when I look up and months or even years have passed, and my life is a mess. Never mind any overall duty, the BASICS aren’t even done.

A dear, and I dare to say clairvoyant friend of mine sent me this note of inspiration that arrived as most inspiring things in my life do – just when I needed it.

“It’s not a matter of whether or not you have enough time. It is more a matter of timing. That anxious feeling you have may cause you to want to rush or force the process. Please don’t. You are so deeply and richly gifted that we cannot afford to have any part of what you are diluted.

Keep your vision as sharp as possible. Resist the urge to return to any vice that clouds your judgement and KNOW this like you know your own name: YOU WILL COMPLETE YOUR DESTINY. Remember, timing is more important than time.”

Oh, how I love you dear Stacey. I love your candor and your energy and that you fight tooth and nail for humanity. That’s who you are. You bring the future here by not letting the rest of us forget the past, all while living in the present. Not an easy assignment my Dear. However, you are not among the faint of heart. You are equipped for your calling.

I was amazed and honored by what she shared with me. They are things that I instinctively know but often forget. I forget that it’s not all about me and my desires. It’s how to serve others by being the best person  I can using the abilities and talents I was given. Corny, but true. I strive believe that my needs and some of my wants will get met, if only I do the next right thing for the right reasons.

Living a principled and meaningful life isn’t easy. I have and  will again stumble, but I will never fail to keep trying because the world is relying on me ;).


Living mortality

When I was thirteen or so I was plagued with thoughts of and feared death so badly that I could hardly sleep at night. Even now a fleeting thought of my ultimate demise can leave me frozen with fear. The only difference now though is that I’m more accepting of the idea than my thirteen year old self could ever have been. When I have my moments these days, I first try embrace the thought. I then say to myself, “Okay, so you’re going to die. So what are you going to do now?” This helps me immensely by: a) getting me through the moment and all the feelings that come with it,  and b) deepening the meaning of the life I’m living today.

Although the concept of “living while we’re alive” has become almost cliche and that unless literally faced with a life threatening situation, most people will struggle with applying this concept to their lives; It doesn’t make the need for its application any less immediate.  I don’t believe that there is much more that I can say that hasn’t been said already about the loss of Steve Jobs. It is a profound one, but one we knew was coming. As did he. When first faced with Pancreatic cancer, he made a choice; he chose to live. In the time between his diagnosis and his death, Jobs lead the charge in changing technology in ways that would affect the lives of millions, all while doing something he absolutely loved doing.

No, I know my efforts don’t have to be as seismic as Jobs’, but the passion with which I live my life should be. What do we have to lose by living life fearlessly? Not a damn thing ;). In recovery, or in one of scores of self help books I’ve mulled through there was a quotation about birth and death dates that boils down to this:  There’s your birth date and your death date, what really matters is the dash in between.

What are you going with your dash?

Stacey Rose

February 15, 1976