Hi Everybody! The following post is about how we can find inspiration in even the littlest things, like a leaf turning in the wind. For turbo-charged inspiration, be sure to take advantage of my free giveaway found at the end of the post. It will inspire your mornings, influence your day, and transform your life!
Accomplishing the Nearly Superhuman: What a Bear Can Teach Us
Last night some friends and I watched The Revenant featuring Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar winning performance as a 19th Century frontiersman mauled nearly to death by a bear.
Without giving anything away, much of the story is about DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass (a real person, by the way) precariously balanced on the very edge of death. It is his nearly superhuman will to live with a vengeance (quite literally true, in his case) that pulls him through one daunting trial after another. If you choose to watch the excellent film, I think you will agree. Nearly superhuman.
After the movie, my friends and I laughed at ourselves, at how soft we have become in the last 200 years. We get impatient with the microwave. We curse the complexity of the remote. We whine when there’s “nothing to eat” in the fridge. We have become insulated from something vital…something we need to thrive.
The stark and striking images of brutal wilderness in the film confronted us with the silliness of our thinking. It reminded us of how our pioneering forefathers lived on the very edge of life and death, at all times, and of how so many outside the developed world live that way today.
Miss that shot trying to kill wild game? You and your family may very well starve to death. Come across the wrong guy at the wrong time? You could have a knife in your gut. The harshness of that kind of life brought into sharp focus the wisdom of the stoic philosopher Seneca, who said, “It is uncertain where Death will await you; there expect it everywhere.”
Living on the edge strips away the myth that we are somehow insulated from death, and personally, I find that truth useful to contemplate. While I don’t have to fight a bear for my dinner, I do have to deal with threats that no 19th century frontiersman could even imagine, like how the North Koreans are testing nuclear missiles over Japan, or how a gum-popping teenage girl driving her father’s SUV while texting her BFF could snuff me out in a split second.
My risks are not as grave or imminent today as they were 200 years ago, but then neither are they non-existent. Death is still with us, and accepting that fact is just as useful.
One scene in The Revenant especially captured my attention. Hugh Glass and a Native American who helps him are catching snowflakes on their tongues.
“Are they trying to quench their thirst?” a friend sitting next to me whispered.
No, I thought. They are playing. They are truly living in the moment. With death so close, at all times, they don’t squander anything that brings even a tiny drop of joy into their lives. And it may be that tiny drop ~ the cold freshness of a snowflake, a delicate kiss from your beloved, the song of a bird at dawn, a passing “thanks” from a child, the wag of a tail, a dry leaf caught in a spider’s web and dancing on the faintest breeze ~ that empowers you to carry on through your own daunting trials. Moments come in tiny drops, but they carry the power of the entire universe, who cries out “Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!”
Life. Taste it on your tongue. Harness the power of every moment. Feel every snowflake.
Live with a vengeance, and you too will become…nearly superhuman.
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Presto and grazie!