Several years ago the American Medical Association found that most heart attacks occur around nine o’clock on Monday mornings. This undoubtedly has something to do with what most people are doing at around nine o’clock on Monday mornings, which is going back to work, or more precisely going back to work they don’t like, to lives that are ill-matched to their spirits.
It is not, in my estimation, an undue stretch to say that if we are living lives that are wrong for our spirits, then we are lost souls.
If the earth calls for the apple and it does not come, it tends to rot on the vine. If a panther is confined to a cage, ” a great will stands stunned and numb,” as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once observed.
If the timorous heart is too fearful of failure and loss, too panic-stricken to relinquish the status quo, we won’t be propelled through the door. We’ll remain outsiders to our own selves, and the air around us will fill with the smell of something burning on the stove.
Eventually, our feelings of inauthenticity and restlessness, our envy of others’ successes, our panic at the passage of time and our own reflections in the mirror, all become like tombstones—they remind us where someone is buried—and we will measure our fear of death by the distance between our desires and our actions, between the life we want and the life we have.