Once in a lifetime


“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”


That it will never come again

Is what makes life so sweet.

Believing what you don’t believe

Does not exhilarate.

– Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)



New York. 20. 10. 2010. If you ever get a chance, please take the Amtrak train from Montreal to New York in mid-October. It is certainly one of the most picturesque and magical rides you will ever take in this lifetime (or $ 60 well spent) – it is literally like winding through a painting enriched by spectacular fall colours and the breath-taking beauty of Lake Champlain along the shoreline of which and the Adirondack mountains the tracks traverse by. A long ride, but one that leaves you fulfilled and overwhelmed by the gorgeousness of nature’s colours and serenity; and the fragile-but-oh-so-beautiful gift of human life. As I’ve oft-repeated, it is one of those journeys that is a reminder once again that “We all have the right to feel sad at times, but we do not have the right to feel ungrateful.” Because, compared to what luck could have handed us, we are so, so fortunate………

The sweetness of life comes from days lived well, with the decision to follow the best of  rational ethics and integrity one is possible of practicing; of acts of love and kindness to others without losing wisdom or the logic to analyse and create and to think independently and not fall prey to hypocrites; the sweetness of life comes from the knowledge that at the end of each day the only person you need to stand before and answer to is your own conscience; to look back at a life led without hypocrisy, where you adhere to integrity if only for your own sake; and to know before you fall asleep each night that you have never knowingly hurt anyone for it takes very little to be kind, to think before you speak; to know that we are so lucky in comparison to far larger problems, injustices and sadness in the world and therefore to complain a little less and at times, a lot less; to know the truth of global realities and the reality of our own  strengths and weaknesses; to give a thank-you to the inventors and minds which made our infrastructures and taken-for-granted comforts possible; to thank the hearts of the gentle souls amongst us who are capable of healthy love; and to always remember that because life comes, but only once, to make the most of it.

Trust me on this one, for I’m on my fifth life now through four brushes with death in my past, and every day lived reminds me of life’s sweetness. We go through trials and troubles, fight back or climb out of abysses, but at the end it is only those who love the gift of Life and the responsibility of integrity and authenticity that gift entails, who know the pleasure of the sweetest of slumbers: the true exhilaration of a clear conscience and a life led without regrets. And with the strength to take full responsibility for every action you have committed or will commit once you have left the realm of childhood. The peace of mind for staying on-track on that one single choice? Priceless.

A typical view from the Montreal-New York train in Autumn. (photo by Kevin Ebi. livingwildnreness.com)

The Montreal to New York Amtrak route

Bicycle Alert: On the topic of land travel, check out the tales of an interesting and friendly young Franco-Swiss adventurer I met in Old Montreal who has been traveling along various continents of the world since the age of 32 on his bicycle for the last several years. He had just finished a tour across Central and South Asia and was setting off across America. Marco Ausderau : http://acrosscontinents.ch/Navigation/histoire-d-un-reve?set_language=fr&cl=fr

One of  the quotes that inspired him to embark on this long journey is Antoine de St. Exupery’s words: “Fait de ta vie un rêve et de ton rêve une réalité.”

4 thoughts on “Once in a lifetime

    • Ah! evangelical minister Pastor Rafael,

      The scenery is dreamy. The post is not. Living life by integrity requires discipline and conscious choices. I’ve noticed a funny but true thing – the doers, the scientific inventors and men and women of integrity actually follow their concepts, their promises and make their dream a reality. The hypocrites, the narcissists (as in clinical NPD), liars, smooth talkers, preachers etc. use beautiful words but do not follow them. They charm with words but their actions do not reflect their words and are a ruse to extort money, kindness etc. Therein lies the difference.

      True integrity is followed by those whose intentions and actions are connected to their words. For the hypocrites and silver-tongued one-face-to-the-world / another-face-in-private, words are just words, a fantasy that their hollow reality can never practice.

      The post is on taking responsibility for one’s actions – something only people with integrity can do – those who can convert dreams to reality and shape their own lives without using others. Others – this includes only the corrupt amongst politicians, liars, priests, preachers, smooth-talking-cheaters, cult leaders – they blame others, blame supernatural forces but never take responsibility for their own acts.

      Emily Dickinson in her line was opposing religious views of an afterlife. ‘That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.’ – It is a celebration of human life, not the afterlife stories many religious/cult leaders preach. The line is an indication of why our life on earth is short, ephemeral and logically therefore sweet. “Believing what you don’t believe does not exhilarate” is also a dig at false beliefs. Those who understand and celebrate their own reality and rational truth will live their lives best, not those who choose irrationality.

      Now, knowing you, which side do you choose? Irrationality or rationality?

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