Posts Tagged ‘Enjoy every moment’

A Humanist Ash Wednesday?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Ash Wednesday, 01 March 2017
The Last Word has phoned me and there’s a pre-recorded interview scheduled for 3.45pm today on the theme of Ash Wednesday.
I gave it a bit of thought and rang back agreeing to do the interview.
I feel privileged to have been asked.
I guess it’s exploring a question I’ve been musing on a bit myself. Yes we don’t need the penitence and the guilt.
But it is a day, an opportunity, a moment to ponder our inevitable mortality, the inevitability of our own death.
And it is perhaps an invitation to live this day well.
You never see a hearse with a trailer, so amassing possessions isn’t what life’s about.
Fame is a deceitful and unfulfilling thing.
Winners’ trophies may end up pawned or thrown into skips.
Excessive work can lead to an early grave and an empty home.
Remember man thou art but dust
And unto dust thou shalt return.’
Perhaps it’s forgetfulness of our inevitable mortality that leads us down so many cul de sacs in life.
As a Humanist, I am convinced that this is my one and only life. I do not believe nor do I feel the need to believe in an afterlife.
So Ash Wednesday reminds me, lest I forget it, that I will die.
And I could die before tomorrow’s sunrise, or even before today’s sun has set. Or even before the interview with Matt – partly why I chose to upload this now! The interview might not happen or it might not be broadcast. But now is real. Now I live.
Lessons for me? Don’t worry about tomorrow – I mightn’t even be alive.
Live this moment to the full.
Choose time out to ponder and reflect and to be self-aware.
Be grateful for those who have loved me, and those I love.
Enjoy this moment – it really may be my last one.
Choose moderation rather than excess – there’s enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.
Embrace ‘enough’ as a value and be wary of that seductive word ‘more’
Cultivate the gratitude attitude.
Know thyself. (Socrates)
And do what you are best at for the benefit of others. (Aristotle)

The interview with Matt Cooper was broadcast on Today FM on Ash Wednesday 1 March 2017. Prof Salvador Ryan, Professor of Ecclesiastical History,  St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and Joe Armstrong discussed the significance of Ash Wednesday, for Christians and Humanists. It was a fun, lighthearted and harmonious discussion.

Dear Sarah, On the Eve of your Leaving Cert

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Dear Sarah, my daughter, on the eve of your Leaving Cert,

I know you think that the entire outcome of your life hinges on how well you do in your exams.

It doesn’t.

I know you think that the grades that you feel you have to get will determine your happiness or unhappiness in life.

They won’t.

I know you think that your performance during your exams will open or close doors for you.

It won’t. (Really, it won’t: there are thousands of doors you don’t even know exist – and you will choose one of them for you!)

You may think that a certain outcome will open the particular door that you feel you most want in life.

It might or it might not open that door. But your happiness does not depend on that door opening.

You may think that the grades you get will determine how clever or otherwise you are.

They won’t.

You may think that others will judge you by the points you get in your Leaving Cert.

They won’t. (And those who do are not wise, so you can discount their judgments anyway.)

You might feel like a sword is hanging over your head.

There isn’t.

If you get the grades you want, they might or might not lead to happiness.

You could learn much more in life and be far happier if you get fewer grades than you’d like.

You know lots. Of course there is lots more that you don’t know. So in the celebrations of knowledge which are about to begin try your best to celebrate on the page what you know.

And, by the way, you know far more than you realise.

And you also know far less! (Since the more any of us know, the more we realise how relatively little we know.)

Don’t expect to be able to share everything you know: nobody can do that.

Live the moment. Live this moment.

Enjoy this moment, and, yes, enjoy, really enjoy, these celebrations of what you know. See them as your opportunity to do yourself justice – because you do deserve to do well. Just don’t worry how anyone else estimates what well means for you.

Detach! Don’t worry about the outcome. Just live in the moment. Enjoy every moment!

Love, Your Dad. 7 June 2016