Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mitch Albom

 “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, (written in July 3, 2007)

Morrie, a Brandeis sociology professor, is finding out that he is afflicted by Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that atrophy the muscles and which is terminal.  This ailment reduces the patient to a totally dependent state, even for wiping his behind at an advanced stage, before his lung muscles kill him by suffocation.

Mitch Albom, Morrie’s former student, has appointments with Morrie every Tuesday to talk and record his feeling and ideas about death and other sticky issues.

Morrie gave up driving when he could barely push the brakes, gave up swimming when he could no longer undress himself, he gave up teaching after he warned his class that he has a fatal illness and may not live to finish the semester. 

The illness begins at the legs and works its way up and is like a lit candle that melts your nerves and leaves your body a pile of wax and confined to a wheel chair and then helped to piss.  Morrie decided that he would allow to be studied as a patient throughout the difficult and embarrassing periods of degeneracy of his illness.

Mitch forgot his professor for 13 years until one night he watched Ted Koppel Nightline program covering his crippled professor at his home.  Mitch visited Morrie and they decided to meet every Tuesday as they used to do during college and Mitch carried a tape recorder because these sessions were going to be a work project or “final thesis” and the subject was the meaning of life and taught from experience, about death, marriage, family, feeling sorry, regrets, emotions, fear of aging, money, culture, forgiveness, and perfect day. 

Mitch called Morrie “Coach” and the latter called him “Player”.

Morrie had many friends who came to visit with him during his dying days and many of his former students and he used to focus on individual people and giving them his undivided attention.  Henry Adams says: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”.

After Morrie reached a state of total helplessness, except for talking, he said that he leaned to enjoy total dependency because we all know how to be a baby; we just refuse to remember how to enjoy being a child and plainly enjoy the situation when once our mother used to caress us, hold us, rock us and take care of us. 

Morrie worked in a mental hospital for five years after graduation on a grant to observe patients and record their treatments, a place for research where he could contribute without exploiting others.  He learned that what most of these mentally ill persons wanted was someone to notice that they were there.  He befriended some of the patients and had gotten through them.  Morrie’s mother died when he was ten and he learned it through a telegram and his father forbade him to mention her name and would not talk to him or touch him or tuck him in bed.

Morrie learned to let emotions of fear, anxiety, loneliness, and horror sink in, dive in, all the way, over his head, and completely experience them and recognize the feel of their progress and their texture and then to detach from these emotions and step away from them.  Morrie learned to turn on the faucet of emotions, of tears, of fear and not let them inside so that he may control them.  

(Now I can relate to the meaning of detachment from emotions contrary to the dry and academic Raja Yoga lecturer such as Dr.Prashant who never told us a personal story; what I understood from his lecture is not to let emotion sink in but to eliminate them from our soul consciousness.  My nephew William tried to explain that raja yoga focus on the personal qualities of love, security, knowledge of the whole, and courage.)

Morrie said that what gives real satisfaction is not money or power or material belongings but the possibility of offering something that you have.  Offering to teach elderly people computer skills, storytelling for kids, companionship to lonely and homeless people by playing cards, just giving your time to someone who can enjoy what you have to offer. 

That is how you get respect because you are needed.  Morrie told Mitch a story: “a little wave in the ocean was having a great time when she saw the waves ahead of her crashing against the shore and she started to look grim. A second wave behind her asked her why she is looking so sad and she said that all of us are going to be nothing.  The second wave told her: “you are not a wave; you’re part of the ocean.”

On the twelfth Tuesday they talked about forgiveness and Morrie said: “You’ve got to learn to forgive yourself before you die for all the things you should have done and then forgive others and make peace with everyone around you.  Pride and vanity are the culprits for wasting sound and special relationships.”

On the thirteenth Tuesday, Mitch learned that Morrie wanted to be cremated and told his rabbi: “Make sure they don’t overcook me.” He said that in hospital they pull a sheet up over the dead patient and wheel the body to a chute and push it down as if death is contagious. Morrie thought last night that it was the end and a certain peace fell upon him; the sensation of accepting what was happening, being at peace like being ready to crossing a bridge into the unknown.  Morrie felt that he could cross the bridge if he wanted. 

The hardest thing is to make peace with living.  We are different from plants and animals in that we can remember the feeling of love we had; you live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured.  Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Mitch asked Morrie what he would do if he knew that he could be normal for 24 hours and he said: “I’ll do my exercises, have my favorite breakfast, go for a swim and invite friends over for lunch; talk about families and their issues, then go for a walk in a garden and take in the nature. In the evening we’d all go to a restaurant and dance the rest of the night and then have a deep sleep.” It was perfection of an average day.

In business, people negotiate to win but in love you should be concerned about the partner’s situation as you are about your own.

On the fourteenth Tuesday, Mitch received a call from Charlotte telling him that Morrie was not doing well.  Morrie said: “You are a good soul. You touched me in my heart” and laid Mitch’s hand on his heart and kept it there.

Book reviews:  Of controversial manuscripts? Posted in 2008

Many of the books that I have reviewed were written prior to 2008, before I discovered wordpress.com, and they might be categorized as controversial.  

It is not my job to fall into that trap of judging what is fine to read.  I simply reviews,  summarizes, and add my comments of what I have read that express deep feeling and personal reflections.  

I always give my “expert” opinions anyway:  It is your right to express your opinion.

There are books that I had to publish several posts on particular chapters, simply because topics are interesting and need further development.

1) “Life after Life” by Dr. Raymond Moody, (written in June 7, 2004)

2) “A Priest among “Les Loubards”” by Guy Gilbert, (written in July 22, 2004)

3) “We the Living” by Ayn Rand, (written in July, 24, 2004)

4) “Prophesies of End of Timeby Paco Rabanne, (November 15, 2004)

5) “Alexander the Great”, (November 20, 2004)

6) “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman (July 28, 2006)

7) “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Saleh, (August 10, 2006)

8) “The Princes of the Crazy Years” by Gilbert Gilleminault and Philippe Bernert.

9) “Carlos Ghosn: Citoyen du Monde” by Philippe Ries, (Septembre 27, 2006)

10) “Abbo”by Nabil Al Milhem, (November 23, 2006)

11) “Human Types; Essence and the Enneagram” by Suzan Zannos, (December 6, 2006)

12) “One hundred fallacies on the Middle East (ME)” by Fred Haliday, (March 2, 2007)

13) “Origins” by Amin Maaluf, February 15, 2007

14) “Imagined Masculinity” edited by Mai Ghoussoub and Emma Sinclair-Webb

15) “Post-modernism: the Arabs in a video snapshot” by Mai Ghoussoub,( March 4, 2007)

16) “The Joke” by Milan Kundera, (March 22, 2007)

17) “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, March 28, 2007

18)  “Biography” of In3am Ra3d, April 7, 2007

19)  “Al-Walid Bin Talal”, April 4, 2007

20) “The Gardens of Light” by Amin Maaluf, April 19, 2007

21) “Two old women” by Velma Wallis, May 1, 2007

22) “I heard the owl call my name” by Margaret Craven, May 3, 2007

23) “A woman of independent means” by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, May 6, 2007

24) “The Gospel according to Pilate” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, May 9, 2007

25) “Les innovations du XXI siecle qui vont changer notre vie” by Eric de Riedmatten.

26) “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, July 3, 2007

27) “Liban: le salut par la culture” by Phares Zoghbi, August 19, 2007

28) “Finding Joy” by Charlote Davis Kasl, August 22, 2007

29) “Tadjoura” by Jean Francois Deniau, Septembre 6, 2007

30) “How to dance forever” by Daniel Nagrin, September 8, 2007

31.  “The Second sex” by Simone de Beauvoir, (September 21, 2007)

32.  “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson, (September 25, 2007)

33.  “The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly, (October 1st, 2007)

34.  “The tipping point” by Malcom Gladwell, (October 9, 2007)

35.  “The social structure of Lebanon: democracy or servitude?” by Safia Saadeh

October 15, 2007

36. “Fallaci interviews Fallaci and Apocalypse”, by Oriana Falaci (November 8, 2007)

37. “Aicha la bien-aime du Prophet” by Genevieve Chauvel (November 19, 2007)

38.  “Tess of the D’Uberville” Thomas Hardy, (December 19, 2007)

39. “Le livre des saviors” edited by Constantin von Barloewen (December 22, 2007)

40.  Gandhi’s non-violent resistance guidelines (February 21, 2008)

41. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown (March 12, 2008)

42. “La reine de Palmyre” by Denise Brahimi (March 26, 2007)

43. “Culture et resistance” by Edward W. Said (April 18, 2008)

44. “L’Avorton de Dieu; une vie de Saint Paul” by Alain Decaux (April 23, 2008)

45.  “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell (July 14, 2008)

46. “Why the Arab World is not free?” by Moustapha Safouan (July 21, 2008)

47.  “Igino Giordani” by Jean-Marie Wallet and Tommaso Sorgi (August 5, 2008)

48.  “Building a durable World” in “Science et Vie” magazine special issue of June 2008 (August 10, 2008)


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