Monday, 17 May 2004
Book of Life
UPDATE: Denny Coates discontinued his Book of Life Weblog on 1 July 2004, to concentrate on other endeavors. He left the door ajar to return one day and the blogosphere would certainly welcome him back.
Denny Coates, a former Army brat and West Point graduate who served as an Army officer for 20 years, settled some years ago with his wife in south Florida. He is currently the CEO of a company that publishes assessment and self-improvement programs for corporations. His Weblog, Book of Life is, he says, “a scratchpad for serious thought about my life.” And that it is.
He uses family events, local wildlife like the backyard bunny report, pets, recipes, visits to museums, the farmers’ market, a flower show and such - with a lot of photographs - to delve into questions and issues surrounding what it means to be human in general and Denny Coates in particular. A lot of it applies to any of us.
Denny, now 60, is a seeker – of knowledge, understanding and self-improvement which aligns with how he earns his living. Always a nice bit of accomplishment that: to work at what you care about.
At the bottom of each daily post, is a “Fortune Cookie” that relates to the theme of the post. These sayings, in turn, link to related pages of quotes, affirmations meant to inspire. Such has never been my “thing,” but I’ve learned that I am the odd man out on that sort of inspiration, and you should ignore my doubts.
What does inspire me at Denny’s site are such entries as his description of a visit to the Frick Museum in New York City. I am envious that I could not have the guide he tells us about for a visit of my own, and his appreciation of that guide is sensitively and warmly told.
And I have reread several times his contrarian view of Carlos Casteneda as a novelist, not a seer. One of his conclusions in this piece, that
“The ability to apprehend unadorned reality is the source of the warrior’s “power.” A warrior is simply someone who has the courage to walk that path as a self-reliant individual.”
ties in nicely with an idea from his first Weblog post in December 2003. He has just described some minor aches and pains:
“And a voice inside tells me, ‘This pain is your friend. You are still alive to feel it. I can describe a scenario in which you would do anything to have this pain again...’
“Some people might think these thoughts are morbid. To me, it's just being real. I guess I really buy into the idea that ‘death is your advisor, be aware of his presence always within arm's reach...’”
Some people find my Website morbid, discussing as it does, getting old, the natural precursor to death. Something Denny and I obviously share, is a desire – or perhaps a compulsion – to look past the American denial of death and see if we can make sense of it for ourselves.
One way of doing this is to look life right in the eye, in its “unadorned reality." Denny works hard at that and you will find his Weblog an inspiration for seeking your own answers - or at least the right questions - to the big puzzles of life.
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