Jun 7 2021
Pretending: An Essential Death Rebel Skill
Show Notes – Episode #2:
On Pretending – plus a bit more on Rebelling Against Death…Pretending… any serious actor will agree that it’s a fine art. Yet hardly anyone but little children takes it seriously. For most of us, our imagination begins to atrophy from neglect after we pass the age of seven, and we never experience the power of pretending intentionally, with all our heart and soul.
That’s what this episode is about.
Before getting into that, however, I had to respond to a complaint from the first episode. One of our listeners reached out to explain they liked my poems and stories very much, but what exactly did I mean by “rebelling against death”?
That knocked me for a loop. After all, what I meant was perfectly clear to me! But once again I had to remember what I so often forget: that not everyone is just like me, and sees things the same way I do.
So in this, our second episode, I attempt to clarify what I meant. I talk about how in our culture death is taboo. But even though we don’t talk about it, and try not to think about it, the fear of it dogs our footsteps. We have a million ways to run away from it – but no matter what we do, how we distract ourselves, when we turn around, it’s still there: the mother of all fears, lurking just out of sight but never completely out of mind…
So most of us just keep running, trying to ignore it, until it’s on top of us. But there’s another option, something anyone with a little gumption can do: we can rebel against death.
By rebelling against death, I simply mean being fully alive, alive in every moment. This time I give a number of suggestions for how to do that, and tell the story of a good friend’s mother, my inspirational Death Rebel poster child, who lived happily to be over 100 and when asked her secret, said simply, “I always love what I do.”
We switch gears with a little song about an octopus in the closet, and then move on to the piece de resistance: the fine art of pretending.
Pretending is one of the most powerful tools in any death rebel’s tool chest. And like rebelling against death, it has both life-giving and life-dulling uses. We all know about the life-dulling uses – all the different forms of escape that the imagination can indulge in…
The life-giving uses, though less well-known, are just as available to all of us and just as doable. I talk about a few of the legion ways we can use pretending and the imagination to enliven us, to give us the strength and courage to battle even death itself. As testimony, I tell my own story of how pretending saved me from obsessive anxiety by putting me in touch with a deep inner peace.
Because it’s not true that we can only be happy in happy circumstances. With a little intentionality and heartfelt pretending, anyone can be happy even in a world like today’s, where violence erupts at the drop of a hat and fear and doubt loom everywhere…
We end this episode with a reading of my mid-pandemic epic poem: The Great 21st Century Poemic, and an invitation to drop in for one of our “play dates” in the Community of Silo’s Message…
The Great 21st Century PoemicIt struck one day
out of the blue,
cropping up all at once
in random spots
all across the planet
The first known cases
were a small boy
in Lincoln, Nebraska,