Do you hear them? Do you feel them?
We only have so many, even being in the best of health.
So how do you want to share them?
That drum of life force.
Back in 1965, Isaac Asimov published a book of essays titled, “Of Time and Space and Other Things,” a Chapter of which was “The Slowly Moving Finger.” In that essay, he talked about life span of many creatures in relation to metabolic rate. One might say he was postulating an equivalency table for all species, but he wasn’t. He was noting differences. And big differences with mammals, like us, that don’t necessarily have an explanation.
So, if you pulled any commonality out of his essay, it was that a number of mammals ranged in life span but could, at best, live for about a billion heartbeats. He noted that Chimpanzees and Gorillas lived for about 1.5 billion heartbeats, but that we humans lived much longer. Life expectancy for an American male in 1965 was about 66 years or 2.5 billion heartbeats.*
Asimov also noted that our most elderly, reaching a maximum of 115 years would have worked their heart muscles to the tune of about 4.35 billion beats! He had no explanation for why we humans could have so many more heartbeats as comparable to other species of similar weight.
Neither do I, but I wonder about how much our spirit interplays.
Or is it merely being an Apex Predator? With a talent for making tools?
We may live longer, but many days it seems to me that we simply aren’t that far out of the cave.
Especially at this juncture in time.
Or for some, their hearts may be beating, but they are not truly living. I’m sure you can think of some examples here. Some many even seem to be soulless. Phantoms.
So, if we have a limited number of heartbeats, and we don’t know just how many that is or when the last one may pulse, then how do you want to share them? How would you want your last heartbeat to be spent?
Well for starters, I can tell how I don’t want to spend mine. I don’t want to spend them engaging in frivolous political discussions on social media. The last time I did this was at the bequest of a friend who wanted me to interject some rational thought into a conversation.
Me, the voice of reason – LOL!
In reality, my comment was a well-articulated and reasoned position supported by overwhelming scientific evidence. And the response, you guessed it, was name calling, irrational hatred, and physical threats of violence.
Heartbeats are a most valuable currency, so no, I do not wish to waste a single heartbeat on social media “discussions” such as these. And I won’t in the future.
Here are a few things I do like to spend heartbeats on:
Noticing the many affirmations I receive daily from Great Mystery;
The Coyote’s howl;
The Hawk’s kee-eeeee-arr;
The Owl’s Song is definitely worth Heartbeats;
The Vermilion Flycatcher’s aerobatics;
Looking at pictures of the Newborn Baby Deer my Daughter had captured;
For that matter, my Daughter herself, tons of heartbeats;
Finding a “home” – the great search is on;
Watching the Great Blue Heron, wading and fishing; where ever it and I may be;
Taking heed of the Belted Kingfisher’s warning – it’s piercing scream-rattle;
For that matter, all time spent in Nature is worthy of my heartbeats. I’ve shared many with the wilderness this summer. And it shares its heartbeats with me.
I was recently hiking in the southwest when I came upon a solo Coatimundi. A male. Once an adult, a male spends his life on his own except he rejoins the troop of mothers and young for breeding.
I did some metaphysical research on this desert visitor and discovered that the symbolism, or medicine, of the Coatimundi is to assist, serve, and inspire others, but without making dependents or victims. The message included not to ever serve or assist “takers” – they just take and never give back. A wise calling.
Now I’m happy to share heartbeats with the Coatimundi in the desert. Any day.
And I’m happy to spread the Coatimundi’s medicine. To assist others.
Of course, I will always share heartbeats with other pure human spirits. That is the most joyful time where all of us can expand our awareness and intimacy.
And that’s just a list of a few of many worthwhile heartbeat sharing experiences. I keep a gratitude list daily of those heartbeats.
How do you like to share your heartbeats? And can you look back and say your heartbeats were well spent?
Photos: The Coatimundi came to me. Walking down the path. No fear did it show. Just his illuminating presence. I think he recognized our common solo nature that day. He sought my company briefly and returned to his own path. I had mine to tend to as well, and it would take a sort of magical turn at the end of those miles. A story for another day.
*If you like the math:
A normal heart rate is considered to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. An average often cited is 72 bpm, which = 4,320 beats per hour,
= 103,680 beats per day,
= 37,843,200 beats per year.
Average American Life Expectancy as of 2017 = 78.6 years = 2,974,475,520 heartbeats.
Men – life expectancy at birth = 75.97 = 2,874,947,904 heartbeats.
Women – life expectancy at birth = 80.96 = 3,063,785,472 heartbeats.
Asimov used 37,826,087 beats per year or 4.5 billion for a max age of 115 – almost the same as my calc. In 1965, Asimov said 2.5 billion Heartbeats translates to about 66 years = 37,878,787 beats per year. Again, pretty close to my calculations. Life expectancy was 66.8 years for men and 73.8 years for women (average 70.21) back in 1965.
Life expectancy was declining for the last several years in the US, but this past year, it increased by 0.08% or .06 of a year. The prior drop was attributed to opioid overdoses and suicides among 20 and 30 year-olds.
And, if you want more reading, here are a few references:
Time to share some heartbeats somewhere else . . .