Ars Moriendi

This is a special week for me, in more than one way. It is not only my last week at my current job (The Nonprofit Roundtable) it is also the first full week after Pearl Harbor Day. What does that mean? Well, for the last few years, I have used this week as a sort of memorial to my grandfather (Frank Giles) who fought in the Pacific theater during World War II. He died when I was quite young, but I remember a lot about our interactions, especially with trains (he was a train engineer) and his crazy stories (he had me completely convinced that there was a helicopter in their basement).

The way I have chosen to remember him is to take a week and meditate on my own mortality, my own transience in this physical realm. At first glance, this may sound morbid, but it is really more about acknowledging my own impermanence and enjoying every moment. I try and keep the idea that each breath is my last, each moment is the last I will see, each thought the last I will think…the process brings a vividness to each second and an attention to each detail that can be astounding.

The second part of this exercise is more public. In the spirit of contemplating my own existence, I have small “deathbed conversations” with select people over the week (7 people I have chosen beforehand). I choose one person a day and ask them if they would be willing to have a very brief, very intense conversation. A conversation where we strip away all of the external trappings (the shouldn’t say, couldn’t say) and speak openly and honestly about things. It is a closed conversation and one that is often kept secret afterwards. It is a “if this is the last thing I ever say, the last time I will ever see you” interactions. They are very intense. In fact, it is rare that all 7 people I have chosen agree to participate. More often than not, I have 1 or 2 conversations a year.

It is with this in mind, this transition, this shedding of baggage, this rebirth, that I enter this week.

Eric in a Word: Storiated

Book of the Day: Emotion, Depth, and Flesh- Sue L. Cataldi

Song of the Day: Ars Moriendi- Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson

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