Let us remember our lives are but moments in the flow of eternity...
and let us also remember that eternity is but a flow of lives like ours.
~Paul Williams, Das Energi
I recently read an interesting post by Steve Pavlina about how to get perspective on problems with the magnitude of death, divorce, job loss and other circumstances that many people consider devastating.
It seems to me, as someone who is in the thick of preparing to lose one of the most important people in my life, Mike Schwass, that there is a middle ground between catastrophizing and looking at oneself as a miniscule speck in an overwhelmingly huge universe across all eternity.
I am reminded of an article by Scott Young in which he decided to tackle the topic of defining personal development. He suggested there is a distinction between lateral and vertical personal growth. Vertical growth is the upward, reach for the stars kind of growth. Like an entrepreneur starting a business or a college student imagining what major course of study they would like to pursue or a newly married couple dreaming of their first home.
Lateral growth is the stuff that expands your experience. As an example, I put my "spiritual growth" in this category. I'm not trying to excel at something as much as I am immersing myself as much as I can in the full breadth of my human experience. This includes showing up to the fact that we will all die.
Steve Pavlina reminds us that death and various tragic life experiences have happened to millions of people for thousands of years.
But I am only going to lose Mike once.
And his brilliant life deserves a fine ending surrounded by people that respect and love him for the work of art he has made of his life. (His death could be a year from now — maybe two — but it's certainly true that 30 years of quadriplegia are taking their toll). His life should be celebrated for all he is given to those who have been touched by his inspirational story.