Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doing What You Love...A Tribute to a Friend.

Yesterday was a bittersweet sad day for me filled with joy then sorrow.

I got word that I lost a dear friend to cancer. This was just after I had a very full, enjoyable day doing what I love...tasting and evaluating wine. He was younger than me by a couple of years. He also loved wine. He liked Pinotage, I hated it. He liked alternative single varietals from strange lands, I like big cabs & blends. We both loved food & wine pairings. Although we did not see each other much lately because of our location, we still liked to talk about wines and drink it while we solved the worlds' problems and ponder the purpose of the universe. He was a good guy, I enjoyed his company, period.

It was a sad night for me, but a very enlightening morning. I spoke with his girlfriend the next day about the events leading up to his death...I was moved to tears, again. We spoke for well over an hour. Through the tears, I discovered a lot of insight in to his life and his later state prior to his passing. I listened a lot, I took notes.

After all the cliches and comforting words were spoken, I'd summarize my enlightening moments in to the following:

1) At nearly all costs, try to do what you believe in or love in your work. Not all of us have burning passions inside or know exactly what moves us, but at some level, you need to be working toward some sort of fulfillment day-to-day. The human spirit needs this or it rejects our bodies in ways we may never know until it is too late.

2) Live in the moment, not in the past. This can sometimes be diluted in cliches and overused verbiage, but at its core face value, it cannot be more true. All we have is now, the past only drags you down and serves little purpose other than drawing from experience for current actions at the moment. Dwell in the past and you create a future that disturbs the moment beyond recovery. Without the past, forgiveness fails to have to exist. Think about that...

3) Observe and allow. This mantra has been spoken to me many times before in various forms, but it takes new meaning when you know your time is short. Basically, it points to not resisting people, things or life events happening. Do not get too caught up in your own world as to miss some of the golden nuggets you can gather by just observing and accepting the moment for what it is and not attaching meaning to it.

4) You can only control two things in life - your attitude and your actions. You are the only one who can choose each day when you awake how you approach the world and how you will act within that attitude. As it was said to me once, trying to control the world or time is like trying to stop the wind. Over-exerting control mostly creates stress internally and for the people around you.

5) Worrying or self-created stress is not kind to the body. So much stress in life is unnecessary. Two quotes come to mind that exemplify this to a tee:

"Worrying is using your imagination to create something you do not want"

"I've been through many horrible events in my lifetime, some of which actually happened."
- Mark Twain

I think you get it.

I continue to reflect about the past days events and my emotions surrounding his passing. I’ve been assured that he was at peace in the final days....he always wanted to be near water, and he finally got there. The odd thing is, that when his body was failing him most, he reached a state of consciousness emotionally that most of us could only hope to achieve in our active lives. I’ve also been assured that he is truly in a better place…apparently he has told his girlfriend so, directly. I believe her.

In summary, we had many good debates about life and death, the purpose of our existence and the universe, God and the bible, creationism and evolution. He paid the ultimate price for the answers, we can only hope to learn from it. I already feel a kinder gentler sense of self just with the shock of this event...I hope it lasts.

Sorry buddy, I still don’t like Pinotage. But I’ll miss ya’ all the same.