Yesterday I was searching through my briefcase. I thought that my luncheon keynote as on sexuality but then when checking the email, I found that it was on 'self esteem'. Yikes. Just about ready to leave and I've got the wrong talk in my head. So, I'm searching for my 'self esteem' notes so I can construct a 90 minute keynote. Not something I like doing much on a Sunday morning. At first I thought the notes were lost, I hadn't realized that I'd put them in a new and different coloured folder.
However while rummaging through my notes I picked up one of my Moleskine notebooks. I love these books and find them perfect for documenting thoughts that I don't want lost. Sitting in airport terminals or as a passenger in a car, I've written several blogs longhand onto those pages. There is something about the Moleskine's that makes me want to consider the words before writing them down. As a result if you look through the missives there are very few strikeouts on the pages. Writing with a pen is very different than typing on a keyboard. Keyboard is easier, faster, pen is more difficult, slower. The criticism of a writer's book by a critic, 'this isn't writing, this is typing' comes to mind when, with pen in hand, I write in the journal.
I have written through many difficult times. Thoughts, poems and short meditations abound in my Moleskines. It was no surprise, then, that I would find something that I wrote, with no intention of publishing, during the time I was in the hospital, the day I became disabled and knew that my life was about to change. As I read the words the feelings that accompanied the writing of them flooded back into memory. I could feel the bed I laid in, I could see the wheelchair sitting beside the bed, I could hear the constant hummmm of the medical equipment that was attached to my body, monitoring my life in a green pulsing line. The story told here, written under the large capital letters, NOT FOR PUBLICATION ... instructions I was leaving for Joe as part of me thought that I would not leave the room alive.
I still do not want to publish what was written. I am no longer the man, now, that I was when I wrote the words. But the man, now, wants to honour the deep desire of the man, then. But then at the bottom of the page, in different pen, in a slightly different script - as if written on a different day in a different mood, were three words. I think that he, then, wouldn't mind these being presented, now. The words meant something then, they mean something different now. But I think that this may be the best advice I've ever given myself. I wish I'd given it to myself when very young. I hope I remember it when I'm very old. I hope this means something to you, because it does, deeply, to me.
Here's what I wrote to myself, disabled less than a day or two, laying in a hospital room wondering about the future:
Live what's given.