Thursday, February 10, 2011

Carrpe Diem! or Carpe diem?

Periodically I get an email like this one...

“I have heard Carrpe Diem before but looked it up to make sure, is it Carrpe Diem or Carpe Diem?”

If your last name is Carr, then it’s Carrpe Diem! I’ve been using the closing, “Carrpe Diem!” for my notes, letters and emails since the early ’90’s shortly after the movie Dead Poet’s Society came out. It was my wife’s idea to use Carrpe Diem! as the name for our sailboat. I liked the idea not only as the name of our sailboat but as a tag line and closing.

They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary. John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society, 1989

I’ll let you in on a secret. Carrpe Diem! is code. I use it many times a day. It is reminder to me to pause, connect, be present, push back, take a breath and ask myself some questions. Who I am being? How am I being experienced? What am I experiencing? Am I at a “thin place,” (a place between heaven and earth where I experience the Divine)?

While we live in the age of communication with exploding social media, we also live in the age of distraction. Carrpe Diem! is a reminder to focus. Carrpe Diem! is at the heart of my passion, experiential learning. It’s being present as you are challenged, but its also the interaction of those present, sharing, hearing, discovering, relating, and asking more questions.

Carpe diem! Momento mori!”

“Seize the day” is only half of the story. “Momento mori - remember you shall die.” To me, that second part is just as important as the first. Recently, I was in the presence of my sister-in-law as she passed away from a terminal illness. Family members who gathered around her as she was leaving this earth, loved her to death. In this time, we were “seizing the day” as well as seizing a life rich in history, rich in connections, rich in love. Nothing else mattered. We were in the “thin place.”

Where do you need to carpe diem! When will you do it? How will you do it?


Coach Jane said...

Hi Dave,

I love the "thin place" concept. Where does that term come from?


Carrpe Diem! said...


From poet Sharlande Sledge...

“Thin places,” the Celts call this space,
Both seen and unseen,
Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side.
God shaped space. Holy.

Carrpe Diem!


Carrpe Diem! said...

For another angle on carpe diem, check out Nigel Marsh's TED presentation at