I follow a writer who lives in England. He’s a pretty interesting guy. He used to be a school teacher and he also has Parkinson’s. Whatever things he’s experienced in his life he’s done a marvelous job of internalizing it and then bringing it back out and making the experience concrete in his words. I particularly liked this “poem” he wrote recently. I was really inspired by it and as I get older and older and older I realize how important it is to do what he suggests. If you’re young start now. If you’re old like me don’t waste any time. Figure out what it means to you and then DO IT.
How to Survive by Andy Jukes
When we see the beast rising in our land,
When our leader is a man without honor
We must remember how to survive:
1. Listen to the children
They suffer greatly at the hands of the old.
Take their words seriously,
Especially when they make no sense.
If they are in tears, cry with them.
Now is a time for tears.
If they are laughing, laugh with them.
Laugh in the face of darkness.
The power of laughter is immeasurable.
Let the children refuse school.
They will learn nothing of value there anymore.
Instead, sit with them around a campfire.
Tell them the old stories you thought you had forgotten.
Give them your time. Put their needs foremost.
2. Give away your money
Some people are so poor, it is all they have.
Know that all that you own is taken from the mouth of a baby at a food bank.
So, remove the locks from your doors,
Feed the hungry in your kitchen,
lie the homeless in your bed.
Surrender your entitlement to anything that is denied another man.
Clothe yourself in rags,
Baffle those who would bribe you with jewels.
3. Open your home to the foxes and badgers
Hide them from the hunt and the cull.
Prefer the company of animals for animals do not lie.
Watch the ways of the cat and the dog
Learn what you can from them.
Stay close to the ground.
Talk to the plants in your garden.
Seek guidance from trees.
You will find them most helpful.
Play for all you are worth.
Refuse to be hollowed out by the tide.
Sing wild songs on reckless guitars
Dance, dance as if your life depends upon it
because it probably does.
Say that you are an artist and you are painting your own life.
Make wayward decisions,
Act without reason,
Embrace chance and delight in risk,
so that your trail is impossible to follow.
5. Be kind
Smile at strangers.
Know that they are doing the best they can.
Try not to discount those who do not agree with you.
You are probably both wrong.
Those people who have brought you to despair now
will need you to fight for them in the future.
As you have in the past, as you always will.
A hero is one who fights on though all is lost.
6. Be heroic
Ride the wolf.