Certain passings, even when the person is not someone I personally knew, leave me devastated. Waking up this morning to hear that David Bowie had passed away, crushed me as if a close loved one had died. I’m still not over losing Robin Williams. The sudden unexpectedness may be part of the reason today’s news hit so hard…especially since I was celebrating David’s 69th birthday on Friday and the release of a new album. When we lose people without warning (Robin was a total shock) it tends to make people think more about the fragility of life and how short our time really is here on Earth. It makes us realize that our days are numbered and that we need to make a mark in the world. David, like Robin, truly used all of his talent. He was a groundbreaker on so many fronts. He lived his purpose. He added color and creativity and art to not only the world of music and film, but also to the planet. By being who he was, without apology, he saved lives. I’m convinced of that. I know there are people out there who were struggling with their sexuality and identity who looked at David and thought, “I’m uniquely me and that is a good thing.” He may have prevented suicides by not being afraid to be unique. I fully believe that.
I’ve always said that I wish I could have the talent of being able to write music as I think being able to create music is THE best talent there is. Music connects us to our Source. Music connects us to God and our soul. David was born with a talent that he fully used, and his final gift to us…Blackstar…seems to be the perfect goodbye, as only he could say goodbye.
I know I am not alone in the world when I say that I’ve struggled to find my purpose my whole life. Why am I here? A lot of people ask that question. We need to know there is a reason for our existence as there are no accidents and everyone has been sent here for a good reason. We all have work to do. But what? On New Year’s Eve when I was 10, while everyone else was partying, I was in a neighbor’s back room…horribly upset because another year had passed and I had not accomplished anything yet. I felt I was running out of time and needed to hurry. I had important work to do in the world, and time was a wasting. I started obsessively keeping a nightly journal at age 11 because I “knew” books would be written about me someday and I wanted to have the facts correct. (Many years later during an impulsive moment I threw out years and years of journals, which I’ll never forgive myself for.)
One of the most common questions people ask is, “What is my purpose?” I think it’s natural to feel that we each have some grandiose purpose, some huge thing we are supposed to accomplish while in our physical body. But, because of what some kind soul said to me on Twitter today, what a friend said today, and because of something I heard a couple of years ago, I’m rethinking that one BIG purpose thing. Maybe not everyone has one huge thing to accomplish. Maybe our “true work”…our purpose…is actually made up of tiny daily interactions with other people and animals. Maybe smiling at a stranger in Trader Joe’s or complimenting someone on the street, when you know you’ll never see that person again, totally changed their life? What if that person came from a family where he/she was only put down and disparaged and the fact you said something nice or smiled at them, acknowledging their existence as a soul, stopped him/her from committing suicide later that day? Maybe being comic relief in a very serious office totally makes your coworkers’ lives better? THAT may be your true work.
Many years ago I was waiting in the lobby of AIDS Project Los Angeles, and without thinking much of it, I started chatting with this man also waiting there. I can’t even remember now what we were talking about, but when I got up to leave, he got tears in his eyes and thanked me. He thanked me for talking to him. He had not been treated like a human being with value for so long, it made him cry. People had been avoiding interacting with him. I could see that he was sick, but it didn’t even dawn on me to not talk to him. I couldn’t NOT see him as a soul deserving decent treatment. He made me cry. Something seemingly inconsequential from my point, when talking about the weather or whatever, made the world of difference to that man. I will never forget him and that encounter. I truly feel I was used by God that day. And you are also used in the same manner every single day. We are all interconnected.
I just “happened” to see a post today by The Minimalists that included a bunch of quotes from the film “Fight Club”. Pay special attention to the last two quotes on the list. http://www.theminimalists.com/fc/ — They are powerful and make one think. My new goal is to use my life on a daily basis. Life is a terminal disease and I want to make whatever difference I can make in the world now, as there may not be a tomorrow.