Terminals Minds, Open Hearts 

What does it mean to be terminal and how does this concept relate to democracy?  These questions are explored in the Bioneers talk: The Open Space of Democracy, given by Terry Tempest Williams. 

Watch the talk here: The Open Space of Democracy

But first, here is some background information on Terry Tempest Williams as stated on the the Bioneers website.

“Terry Tempest Williams is a bestselling author, conservationist and activist. A native of Utah, her writing is rooted in the American West and ranges from issues of wilderness conservation, to women’s health, to exploring our relationship to culture and our natural landscape. Her books include Refuge, Finding Beauty in a Broken World and The Open Space of Democracy.” 

So now you know who Terry Tempest Willams is…

 But what in the world is Bioneers??!! Well I’m glad you asked. Here’s a tiny excerpt in their own words

“The Bioneers conference is a leading-edge forum where you can see tomorrow today: a future environment of hope. Social and scientific innovators focus on breakthrough solutions inspired by nature and human ingenuity. These visionaries are already creating the healthy, diverse, equitable and beautiful world we want to live in—our legacy for future generations and the web of life on which our lives depend. You can connect with hundreds or thousands of engaged folks making a real difference.”


Now that we have this information, we can explore a topic of conversation this talk created. While I could go on for eons about the many ideas raised by Miss. Willams, I will briefly focus on just one. 

 While emotionally talking about her brother, Miss. Willams, discussed a powerful eye opening moment he experienced after being diagnosed with cancer. “We are all terminal, how do you want to spend your one life?” 

After hearing this sentiment, I had the chills. My skin clenched and hair raised. Certainly, we can not all be terminal? So often many of us, myself included, see tomorrow as our opportunity to make a change, to actually follow our passions and desires. We do this because we are not in the mind set that we are in fact terminally ill, dying with every moment that passes by. This view must end for democracy to flourish.. 

Our last moments could be far off in the future, or they could occur the second we are done reading this post. Our hearts are the first home of democracy, until we open them enough to act each and every day, we will not be living life for our true passions. By recognizing that each and every one of us is terminal and can not see our imminent end, we will be able to follow our hearts.. In no way do I want to work my life away, making an unconscionable amount of money for someone else while letting the life I truly want to live slip away. My heart does not desire wealth, so what am I waiting for?  

  Just a few years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Often, I let my condition hold me back. I feel anchored down by the immense pain it frequently brings me. The constant appointments and harsh treatments seem to never end. Do these realities have to hinder and suppress the passions held in my heart? Must I continue in allowing them to make my life’s dreams some far off goal? This diagnosis does not have to be a weight on my life. By holding the mindset that I am terminal and using it to be my driving force, as Miss. Willams brother had, I can be motivated every day to follow my heart, all of its passions and desires. How will I spend my one life? This a question that I ask myself everyday now. Will I spend it working to make others rich, will I spend it sulking in sorrow from the hand I was dealt? Or will I listen to my still beating heart and strive each and every day to develop the life that’s in my heart? I chose the ladder.  

  I will die. I will die. I am terminal and I will die. I do not know when but I will be sure to cultivate a life full of heartfelt passion until that moment arises. With my one and only life I will choose to act everyday on my passions, my motivations and my desires. Follow my heart, to be cliche. I am here to help others, to open my heart and speak my mind. To bring an end to the horrific social and environmental injustices that are so rampant today. I am terminal and will live the life I want to live each and every day. Will I wait until tomorrow?..

 No! And Neither should you. 


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