Going Into the Woods
Something no one wishes is to discover at the hour of death “…that I had not lived!” Unlike Thoreau, few if any can go off to live in a remote cabin in the woods, as work responsibilities and family duties prevent such an idealistic withdrawal. However, another way exists to achieve Thoreau’s goal. My old Potawatomi Indian friend, Leslie Evans, often quotes the famous words of the Indian Chief, Dan George: “Today’s a good day to die!” He tells me that he uses those words like a daily mantra—regardless what big agenda he has planned for the next day.
“Oh no,” say my blog readers. “This isn’t going to be another reflection on death is it?” On the contrary, it is about enjoying life in great abundance. I know this from experience as I also use Chief Dan George’s words in the morning when getting out of bed, driving my car, and before sharing a meal with a friend. Those five holy words at the dawn of a new day cause it to explode with possibilities and even adventures. When driving, I like to tag on to his words, “…and this is the last time in my life I shall enjoying driving,” or before a meal, “…and this is going to be my Last Supper with this good friend.”
I have found it especially beneficial to inject Chief Dan George’s words with a powerful dose of imagination in order to activate the feeling that whatever I’m doing is being done for the very last time. That sense of absolute finality added to his words seems to magically squeeze life in great abundance out the most common of activities and changes miraculously the monotonous mundane into a marvel.
If you desire to feel the high voltage surge of life flowing through you, it is advantageous to be deeply convinced that you may actually die—today! Believe that with your whole heart, and you will be rewarded with what Thoreau sought in the woods—that when it’s time to die you will know you have truly lived!
So if today you are asked, “Where are you going on this fine day?”, answer back, “I’m happily on my way to my grave.” Living daily under the sinister shadow of death will enable you to both live and die happy, and to be vivaciously alive.