The space and time Continuum: how to use them to your advantage?
“Take a step back. Life gets distorted when you examine things from too close up.”
Again? Really? I am exhausted, I screamed in my head.
I just got the first signs of the flu. My wife and two children are recovering from the same illness.
My wife just got out of Covid-19 a couple of weeks ago. Then she got the flu from our oldest son, who got it from school.
It is Christmas week. We are just two days before Christmas eve. I am down the rabbit hole of despair and mental health. I have spent so much time with the dead that I am wasting my time on Youtube.
Next time, I will not watch it, I said to myself when I got a video suggestion based on my previous views: ghosts, dark shadows, and violent deaths are haunting my mind.
I have made the safest psychological space in my life unsafe: my mind and my own house. Let me explain.
I have grown up a Muslim, and in Senegal, we mix Islam with old pre-Islam traditions. For example, we believe in Jinns, ghosts, and shadow people possessing the living. I have grown up with all those beliefs in mind.
Yes, I am a rational person also, a scientist mindset with facts and figures leading my reasoning.
There is a battle going on right now within me. The Muslim, the believer in me, prays five times a day. The rationalist in me is asking him why he is doing all of that if he is skeptical about the existence of God or Allah, as we call Him in our religion.
And then enter the nihilist in me: common Believer Mad, there is nothing after death. Everything written in your Quran about life after death, Hell, and Heaven are just stories to keep you obedient and under leash.
I am waging a war I cannot win. That second evening, the flu was hitting me hard. The sun has set. I am lying down in my bedroom with a cold and fever dancing within me. I asked myself: Why bother living? As the Nihilist and Science guys said, I will be dead, and everything and everyone will fade away.
Everything I have fought for, everything I have built, my stories, my journals, my videos, and everything else will be forgotten.
I have been in a dark place where I felt that I didn’t matter, my existence would be for nothing, and nobody will care anyway at a certain point.
I could not sleep properly as I imagined them coming for me: the Jinns, the shadow people, and the evil spirits from the dead. My palms are sweating cold fear. My soul is full of empty meaning. My heart is dry with love. The corporate job, the big house, the car, the friends, my family, everything has a terrible taste in my mind.
I have never felt so helpless in my life, all just because of an insignificant flu. No, it will not kill me right now. It may be eventually. That moment was the pinnacle of my mind hitting rock bottom, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I saw a light as I fell into a bottomless pit. No!
I saw two lights shining through the darkness. They didn’t ask to be here. I didn’t consent to bring them to life. So now Noah-Ali and Elijah-Omar are here.
I started seeing more lights illuminating me. I see my mother singing for me. She is still part of this world, and I try to recall her voice. “I should record her voice so that I can play it back forever, as long as I can breathe.”, I told myself as her voice was calling for me to stop all that nonsense letting go of life.
I don’t call them often. I don’t spend a lot of time with my friends and family. So I asked myself whom I could imagine talking to me right now. I see his smile, Ansou, one of my best friends for life. I imagine him teasing me: “Eh Woury! Bayil Thiakhane Dé, Tchum Ya Réw Dé!” he told me in Wolof, a Senegalese language. Hey Woury, Stop that bullshit, you spoiled guy!
And I am feeling more and more alive. Then I remembered the magical spell that was shared with me by my old friend, Ansou.
Each time you are in a dark place, my friend, apply the following five steps. He told me:
- Hit the Pause button as hard as you humanly can,
- Zoom out from where you are in space, go to the edge of the observable universe, contemplate,
- Zoom back in back to where you are.
- Zoom out in the future, five or ten years from now, and reflect
- Zoom back into your present time, appreciate.
As I am hitting the pause button, I give room to my mind to breathe. Most of that shit is mainly in my mind, I said to myself.
I zoomed out from Earth. I reached Pluto in our solar system. One fraction of a second later, I am at the edge of the Milky Way. Earth is like an atom, and I am like an electron. It is ok, Mad. Just Breathe!
Then I zoomed back into Toulouse, and everything felt less overwhelming.
Five or ten years from now, I see my future self remembering this moment as nothing more than a blink of an eye compared to my blessed life. Then I tried to remember all the challenges of ten years ago. I can hardly list one that is so devastating to me right now. Time heals everything.
I open my eyes. I am back in my present time. I still have a fever, and I can feel the cold. I will survive this.
Thank you, my friend. You have saved me once again from my demons. My mind and body almost closed as the claws of death loomed on them. You helped me stay open. You brought me back to life. You, my sons, my mother’s voice, and my friends and family’s smiles just lit back the fire within me.
I need to remember what it means to live. I need to remember the essence of existence. My time on this planet is the only opportunity to experience this world, this universe. I had been dead billions of years before I was born. Thank you for the reminder, Nihilist me. I will die billions of years before the universe and everything in it will disappear. Yes, I know Scientist me.
Yet I just realized that right now, right here, is all that matters. I can make a difference where I am right now. I can build memories and share experiences with my loved ones. And that is what I have been looking for.
Even if there won’t be anyone who will remember me after I am gone, I have to make sure that I have lived a life full of moments and memories of all kinds and that I have taken full advantage of my unfair advantage: being a soul blessed to be alive.
Nothing can beat being alive and healthy. Nothing can beat being present and grateful for our presence in this space-time continuum.
Is there life after death?
The answer does not matter to me right now.
I will be asking myself every single day:
Have I lived a full life today, no matter what tomorrow bears for me?
I am right here, right now.
Am I taking full advantage of that unfair advantage?
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You can read my previous article on The three punctuations that will determine your life: you have to choose wisely! (Friendly link)
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