People often ask, “when a great oak falls in the woods, does anyone notice if nobody’s there to hear it?”
I believe that just because you’re not there to hear it doesn’t mean that others who live near it can’t feel it. When it falls, the vibrations can be felt by all life close to it.
I believe it’s the same when someone who touched your life also falls. You might not be there to hear it, but the vibrations can be felt throughout your community.
Robin Williams died this week in what has been reported as suicide due to depression. Earlier this year, we also lost the wonderful L’Wren Scott to depression, whose timeless designs and enduring elegance I have always admired since I first saw her work in Harper’s Bazaar at least 6 years ago.
Of course, it highlights the need for continued work on depression and related diseases, but it just strikes me as saddening that we have to lose cherished figures in the public eye for it to be brought to wider awareness.
For both Robin and L’Wren, and for everyone else who is suffering and who has been touched by this disease:
I wish you all Freedom.
Recently I lost a Grand Dame in my life, not to depression, but to complications from pneumonia and cancer.
You know the Grand Dame, she’s the one who might not be married with kids, but she also might be. She is larger than life in many ways. She is ferocious, she is relentless, she gets what she wants, and she has a heart to match the depth and breadth that these qualities encompass.
One of the Grand Dames in my life has died. She was fighting right to the end.
I wasn’t as close to her as many other people were, if anything I was much more like a young sapling at the roots of her tree. I admired her greatly, her strength and her life – she was just so full of life. She could be stern, of course. She’s the kind of person who, when she speaks, everyone listened. She was also quite theatrical and highly entertaining.
And now, she’s gone.
The thing that all these events remind me of, above all else, is that we’re still alive. So are you, if you are reading this.
We are alive.
And whilst we are alive, and whilst at times it can be excruciatingly difficult, it is worth finding those things that make you come alive, that make you feel most alive, and making time to doing those things as often as you feasibly can.
Not just because it makes for a better quality of life.
But because I can’t think of any other way of being grateful to be alive than to do those things that make you feel alive as often as you can and want to.
It’s only because you are alive that you can do those things, and feel pleasure, and joy, and get lost in the moment.
One of the things that make me come alive is motorbiking. Admittedly I’m more of a weekend/pleasure rider than a hardcore commuter, but nonetheless, I ride. Having my senses assaulted by the intense noise of the wind and engine, feeling the bike slicing through the wind and it pushing back against my body, seeing the world without the constraints of the metal cage we call a car, smelling and tasting the scenery as I propel through it – few things are more exhilirating and overwhelming, overwhelming to the point where I am so forced into the present that I am forced to meditate, alert to changes and possible dangers on the road in front of me.
In the morning, my other half and I are adventuring with our motorbikes to Germany from the UK. I love these forays into Europe, not just because I’m abroad and it’s a holiday, but also because I love the endurance test, both doing it and finishing it. All long-distance travel, even in a car, is an endurance test, but with the elements pummelling into you, it kinda kicks it up a notch or three.
This is what I took up motorbiking for.
This is one of the things that makes me feel alive, and humbly grateful for it.
The Grand Dame was also learning to ride motorbikes. She was ultimately robbed of this.
Now, I’m not going to dedicate my next ride to her or anything like that (I can feel her eyes scorning me for pondering such a sentimental thought!), but it sure makes me grateful that I am alive and can go out and get to feel alive by riding my Aveline.
What will you do to feel alive today?