You Can’t Take it With You (In Memory of a Friend)

by bart on February 25, 2014

Fusion Festival

The Unpeeling

After walking for about a month I became aware of a change… a personal change, a spiritual change. I call it an ‘unpeeling’, because it reminds me of the onion analogy.

I felt as if all the layers of attitude, ego, narcissism, pretense, pride, and greed were being stripped, or peeled off my true personality and character, like peeling away the layers of an onion to get at the center. I felt that I was really me. I felt humble, and at the same time richer than anyone I know of, but not in a materialistic sense.

This ‘unpeeling’ was possible, I believe, because I became one person in a big wild world (I spent 6 weeks sleeping outdoors). A man, when alone, begins to feel very small and humble when faced with the forces of nature for any extended period of time.

I felt comfortable with the possibility of not returning from my 1100 km walk, and there were many risks such as bears, cougars, and of course traffic, because I knew that I had positively and significantly contributed to the lives of many people, such as my friends, and most recently, my students. This is what made me feel rich at my core.

People will forget the car you drove, how big your house was, how expensive your condo was, your brand name clothing, and all your possessions. But they will never forget how you made them feel.

We Remember How She Made Us Feel

This past Sunday a friend’s life was violently taken away from her, allegedly by her estranged brother. A police investigation is ongoing. Everyone who knew her, including me, is in shock. We have so many unanswered questions, some of which may never be answered.

Yesterday I learned about this tragedy and I became confused and angry. I realized, however, that those feelings are very unproductive. They began to change when I read many online comments by the students she taught at a Surrey BC high school.

The students’ (past and present) comments had a common theme: How she influenced their lives; how she encouraged them to take risks; how they tried new things and succeeded thanks to her constant encouragement and support.

I will always remember her calm demeanor, her ever-present desire to help (she helped me a lot when I was barely mobile while recovering from a severely broken knee), and her determination to grow and develop in order to better serve her students.

They remember how she made them feel.

We remember how she made us feel.

I remember how she made me feel.

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