When I was on vacation recently in the Lake George area one of my buddies told me that from time to time he picks a topic and listens to a “Ted Talk.” That afternoon on his iPod (or was it a notebook…I don’t know), we watched a talk by someone who worked in the film industry recreating scenes like rocket launches. His work was so incredibly true to life that the astronauts who reviewed it were wowed…because these film efforts were micro sized and mini- budgeted efforts.
The other day I thought to dial in to a Ted Talk and landed on one called “Before I Die.” I think it may have been in a list of top twenty talks. It was given by a woman named Candy Chang who focused on making use of heretofore “dead” public space, and prompting communication among community members. She covered an abandoned building with blackboards (what I used in school in the dark ages) with chalk available, and invited people to fill in “Before I Die I want to ___________________.” In her talk which lasts under six and a half minutes she mentions some of the responses. I love this one: “Before I die I want to be tried for piracy.” It’s good to have a sense of humor! Another wrote “I want to be completely myself.” I love that one too, because it resonates.
Chang observes that “Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.” She says that preparing for death helps us reflect on our hopes and dreams. And she talks about making space for reflection and contemplation. I’m pretty sure that in the context of this talk she was talking about physical space – her idea of making use of dead space has been replicated around the world. She encourages us to find ways to maintain perspective, and to be mindful that life is both brief and tender.
For me thinking about death and what I want to do before I die relates to spiritual space. I would encourage you to think about what you want to do before you die. I came up with an answer but it’s one that makes me feel too vulnerable to share. That said, coming to terms with that vulnerability has already helped me find some ways to open my eyes to the ways my "want" is already present in my life – and that is a blessing. If you’d like to listen to the talk, this is the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to.html.
This day I am particularly grateful. It has been a quiet day for me in which I have been aware of my many blessings, not the least of which is the cloud of saints who surround me….I call them friends.
I have posted a few new pictures on both the Detail and PhotoFusion pages if you want to take a look. (And swapped out the black and white version of All God’s Children for a revised color version.)