Thursday 2nd December 2021

On Being Human. 30/2019.

On Being Human. 30/2019.

It’s the strangest thing, this being human.

One day we think we have this dealing with life sorted….

Then….one thing or many may change that so-called certainty.

The book by Leigh Sales: Any Ordinary Day seeks to explain and find out more about this life of ours.

Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, and her many books and teachings are in my library now.

I had this book beside my bed and read one chapter a night before I knew I had cancer.

This excerpt is from chapter 14.

According to the Buddha, the lives of all beings are marked by three characteristics: impermanence, egolessness, and suffering or dissatisfaction. Recognising these qualities to be real and true in our own experience helps us to relax with things as they are.

The first mark is impermanence. That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and changing, is the first mark of existence. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact.

It means life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that.

We know that all is impermanent; we know that everything wears out. Although we can buy this truth intellectually, emotionally we have a deep-rooted aversion to it.


Are we ever certain of anything, really?

No, just the next breath in and then out we learn.

This has been attributed to the Dalai Lama…..

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”



The time is NOW. This is all we have.

So many of us, and I put my hand up here, have thought we CAN control what is going on for us in life.

As those who are wisest say, the only thing that IS certain is uncertainty.

But in saying this, there is a kindness too. In this poem attributed to Rumi, I have found comfort in the words during my tougher times of stress, anxiety and of course, recovering from cancer.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jalaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

Finally, something from a recent newspaper clipping. I sometimes do  not agree with Michal Leunig’s words, but this time, for me, he has nailed it.

On Being Human is what we can, be and do each day (and night) to remain well in body and mind. Whilst this can be tough, each of us probably already has some ideas and practices which work. These are those for me:

This is another post, written with self-care in mind and also to relate to the theme of bring mindfulness and more ‘zen’ into our lives.
I hope there is something helpful for you here too.

Tell me more about what your thoughts are “on being human”.


Linking with Min who blogs here for Zen Tips Tuesday. Her guest writers come from all over the world and provide unique and helpful perspectives.




  1. Such a lovely post Denyse! I am a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle. In fact it was his book The Power of Now that provided me with enormous comfort during the tumultuous days after I left my corporate job. Oh my gosh … I LOVE that poem ‘The Guest House’ – it’s beautiful and I can see why it has been a comfort to you. Being human is a complicated thing. It’s true we resist the notion of impermanence but life eventually has a way of reminding us. I do many of the things you do to help me with my wellbeing – self care, walking, time out, creativity, nature etc. Thanks so much for linking up with #ZTT Denyse xo

    • Thank you Min. These things give us comfort as well as connectivity with our spiritual and creative sides. I listened to Eckhart Tolle and found his words helpful but very repetitive which I guess was the purpose…to drum into us about the only moment IS now.

      I have found Rumi’s work so good too and he was around many many centuries ago which tell me this “being human” issue is as old as humans have been in existence.

      Denyse x

  2. Lots to ponder in this post, Denyse. I’m guilty at times of wanting to be in control and then feel such a sense of relief when I let go and allow life to happen in the way it was meant to be. Not easy at times, but it is certainly less stressful. #ZTT

    • Thanks Sue. Probably the biggest shift I have had to make is about control. I practise it a lot and know that it makes me calmer when I can let go of expectations of others. I can only expect of myself and that is working quite well now. But it’s been years and years of undoing to get to this point.

      Awareness is the main thing because then we can do something about it.

      Take care!

      Denyse x

  3. As those who are wisest say, the only thing that IS certain is uncertainty. How true. I keep saying that I long for just one NORMAL day. Ha! My husband finally sat me down and said that the crazy in my life is my normal. These crazy days are my normal days because they are my day-to-day. I need to just accept it and go on, doing the best I can with the crazy!! And the uncertainty.

    • YES. I was so like this too. And I now know the new normal of life after/with cancer. No such thing as certainty despite us wanting it! Thanks for visiting and commenting for the first time too. Denyse x

  4. A lovely post, Denyse, with plenty of wisdom. Thank you for linking up and supporting #WellnessWednesday. Next WW link up is on May 8. Optional prompt: The B.E.S.T. Care (BEST is for Breasts, Eyes, Skin, and Teeth).

  5. This post is packed with wisdom and peace. So interesting how we do sacrifice health for a job, then pay for restoring our health. I’d say a big part is even the slightest slice of kindness we can share everywhere – it doesn’t need to be overt, just subtle, an intention or a courtesy to people around us that might not even be detected, but puts something positive into the air. And that’s never bad, right?

    • Thanks so much. Yes, stopping, reflecting and remembering the little but so important parts of being ‘human’ help us all to connect better.