January 1

January, Thoughts For….

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | 3 Comments

31. Our eyes fade. We get glasses and ignore it. Our hair grays. We die it and ignore it. Our strength wanes. We stop doing strenuous things and ignore it. But death comes anyway. Wm. Berry

That is it for the death theme. Tomorrow is a new month, and the quotes will return to focusing on different topics. I hope this theme was helpful in embracing the life you have.

30. Is there finally and really anything to life other than food, shit and sex? The character Elvis Presley from the movie Bubba Ho-tep

28. Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. Mark Twain

27.  A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist. Stewart Alsop

26. Where’d my youth go? Why didn’t fame hold off old age and death? Why the hell did I leave the fame in the first place and do I want it back, and could I have it back? And if I could, would it make any damned difference? The character Elvis Presley from the movie Bubba Ho-tep

25. To the psychotherapist an old man who cannot bid farewell to life appears as feeble and sickly as a young man who is unable to embrace it. C.G. Jung

24. From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity. Edvard Munch

21. I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it. Jack Handey

I loved yesterday’s quote, and I really want to meditate and be mindful of that more, to seek more humility. So today’s quote is sort of a joke from the old Saturday Night Live segment “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy”.

20. The graveyards are full of indispensable men. Charles De Gaulle

19. The goal of all life is death. Sigmund Freud

18. We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears.  We must not demean life by standing in awe of death. David Sarnoff

17. At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The following poem is also a song by Robert Plant called “Even this Shall Pass Away” on his “Band of Joy” album.

ONCE in Persia ruled a king
Who upon his signet ring
’Graved a motto true and wise,
Which, when held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance
Fit for any change or chance.
Solemn words, and these were they:
“Even this shall pass away.”
Trains of camel through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarkand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to rival these.
Yet he counted little gain
Treasures of the mine or main.
“Wealth may come, but not to stay;
Even this shall pass away.”
’Mid the revels of his court,
In the zenith of his sport,
When the palms of all his guests,
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine,
Cried: “Oh, precious friends of mine,
Pleasure comes, but not to stay —
Even this shall pass away.”
Lady, fairest ever seen,
Was the bride he crowned his queen.
Pillowed on his marriage bed
Softly to his soul he said:
“Though no bridegroom ever pressed
Fairer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay —
Even this shall pass away.”
Fighting in a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield,
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning, from his wounded side,
“Pain is hard to bear,” he cried.
“But, with patience, day by day,
Even this shall pass away.”
Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his status grand in stone;
And the king, disguised, unknown,
Gazing on his sculptured name,
Asked himself: “And what is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay —
Even this shall pass away.”
Struck with palsy, sere and old,
Standing at the gates of gold,
Spake him this, in dying breath:
“Life is done, and what is death?”
Then, in answer to the king,
Fell a sunbeam on the ring,
Answering, with its heavenly ray:
“Even death shall pass away.”

15. Death never takes the wise man by surprise; He is always ready to go. Jean de La Fontaine

14. I pass a deceased animal on the side of the road and feel a brief sadness. Is it because an animals life was shortened, or is it because I too shall perish? Berry

13. To himself everyone is immortal; he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead. Samuel Butler

12. I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. Mark Twain

11. You are alone. Utterly, totally, inescapably alone. We try to distract ourselves from this cold hard fact. Death proves that it is so. Berry

Sorry to be a downer. Yesterday I was listening to some recent downloads on my iPod and this song by Mavis Staples called “You’re not Alone” played twice. (I drove a good amount and had it on while working out). It was a free download from Starbucks and I like it. I woke up with it in my head this morning. But then answered it saying the above. We all need to face it and stop trying to escape it. We can enjoy those we are with, but ultimately we can not escape our solitude.

10. I shall not die of a cold.  I shall die of having lived. Willa Cather

9. The idea is to die young as late as possible. Ashley Montagu

8. In any man who dies there dies with him his first snow and kiss and fight….Not people die but worlds die in them. Yevgeny Yevtushenko

7. Death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident – It is as common as life. Henry David Thoreau

6. The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. Mark Twain

5. While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. Leonardo Da Vinci

4. Our birth is nothing but our death begun. Edward Young

3. There’s nothing certain in a man’s life except this:  That he must lose it. Aeschylus

2. Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live. Henry Van Dyke

1. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Chinese Proverb

I love this quote. It admits it might have been better to start in the past, but now is what we have, and so now is the time to begin. I thought it was the best quote for today, the first day of a new year.

My plan for at least the next week or so is to continue focus on realizing and embracing the fact you will die, and the quotes will continue in that vain. I will also put some of the quotes from last month, so all are here and easily available. The goal of realizing the that life is finite is to more fully embrace it and stop taking it for granted.

I chose this picture as it shows the tattoo “Momento Mori” which I have had for quite a few years now. It is Latin for remember your death.

I wish all a fully realized life in 2011. Enjoy.

From December….

31. Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,?And spent my little life without a thought,? And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim, ?Should think of me, who never thought of him. René Francois Regnier

30. We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing. Charles Bukowski

29. The selfish, they’re all standing in line…Faithing and hoping and to buy themselves time. Me, I figure as each breath goes by, I only own my mind….I know I was born and I know that I’ll die. The in between is mine. Pearl Jam, I am Mine

Do you think of your death? Do you wonder what your end will be like? Do you realize before long you will be dead? These questions may seem morbid, but the goal of realizing your death is to embrace life more fully. Time flies, and you will realize this if you haven’t already. Embrace your life, for it will end.

28. The bow is called Life, but its work is death. Heracleitus of Ephesus

27. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. Jean-Paul Sartre

This quote starts my focus on death as a motivator for life. For the next week or so I will be posting quotes in this vein. The goal is not to depress people, but rather to demonstrate how many great thinkers were / are aware that embracing death is a key to living a full life.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “January, Thoughts For….”

  1. Oscar on January 25th, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    #21 – Great Quote!!

  2. William Berry on January 25th, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Thanks Oscar

  3. Natalie on February 5th, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    “dont just exist, actually live.”

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