Everybody I know has at least a little bit of agony in their lives. I’m not a morose person, so I don’t tend to dwell on my own agonies, or even the agonies of other people. But they are there.

I don’t even do very well with the common cold. It bothers me that I go to the movies early to get a seat, and then I have to watch commercials. And I really don’t like to watch mean-spirited people speak words that demean others.

Then there are the larger calamities of my life. Somewhere high on the list is the ending of relationships. And even though I have been mostly healthy all my life, for about a year recently I couldn’tThoreau walk very long without my back going into terrible spasms. It acted up while I was traveling to Australia last year, so I had to be wheeled through the airport by my assistant, Keahi. I almost died of embarrassment.

The American philosopher and essayist, Henry David Thoreau, said this:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation… A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work.

I suppose that we’ve all been witness to that quiet desperation. If your life is committed to serving others, you certainly have. I just heard from a woman this week whose son was sentenced to a year in jail. Her soul was crying out with pain. I did my best to console her and to assist her to believe that there was an opportunity in the situation.

I probably don’t have to convince you that life does have some agony for most people. Some of it is certainly self-induced. I get a headache if I eat too much sugar, and I don’t sleep well if I have coffee and ice cream after dinner. And then there are the larger events of my life for which I have to take responsibility—the ending of jobs, the people I attract to me and the people who leave. And on it goes.

But I don’t imagine that if I did everything perfectly (if there is such a thing) that I would avoid all agony. After all, there would still be the American presidential campaign and that’s pretty agonizing!

Mother TeresaThere are stories—some factual and some in myth and legend—that tell of noble men and women who faced great pain in their lives. Mother Teresa agonized over her faith. After being released from prison, Nelson Mandela faced divorce from his wife of 38 years. Jesus was crucified for bringing an uncommon love into the world.

My point is that for even the happiest of people, at least a little agony is part of the picture. The real question is this: Where is the ecstasy? If agony is a given, I would at least like to ensure that I balance the ledger with some joy and delight. And really, I’d like the thrill of living to outweigh the pain. I want to live a life of ongoing, medium ecstasy, punctuated by occasional spikes of super-sized ecstasy. And then, only every so often, with moderate amounts of bearable agony that doesn’t last too long or go too deep—just enough to make me appreciate how great the rest of my life is.

I hope you are laughing by now, because of course, I don’t get to order up how all this is going to go. No one does. But the fact remains that I’m in it for the joy. I’m in it for the ecstasy. And while I figure that some agony comes no matter what I do, the ecstasy depends on me.

I’ll never forget one of my early ecstatic experiences. I must have been about 12 years old when I was babysitting for the Phelan kids from down the street—all three of them. With my parents out, we turned up the record player almost as loud as it could go. We danced, I carried the children on my shoulders, racing around the house. We laughed and hollered until the house was full of ecstatic joy.

Today, ecstasy is hiking in the Rocky Mountains; strategizing for the future of Sunrise Ranch, where I live. Ecstasy is witnessing my friends make music, or speak a truth that is vitally important to them. And it’s writing to you.

According to a recent medical study, ecstasy is good for you physically. It is certainly good for your emotional health.Dove chocolate

Ecstasy isn’t just the Dove chocolate. It is loving the Dove chocolate. It isn’t just seeing a friend. It is telling her how glad you are to see her. It isn’t just good things happening to you. It’s appreciating those good things and making the most of them.

Ecstasy is expressing this mad crazy life inside me in whatever way the moment calls for. It is loving until it hurts. It is the courage to be myself and celebrate life, even in the middle of some agony.

It is lighting up with a brilliant idea or plan that is going to bring something new. It is sharing parts of me I never I knew I had.

What is ecstasy for you?


David Karchere



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Janet wagstaff
Janet wagstaff
August 25, 2016 11:38 am

Ecstasy in this particular moment is having read your words and gained the insight that those words resonate with the truth and love inside me. So it is ecstatic.

Irene de Groof
Irene de Groof
August 25, 2016 2:29 pm

I remember years ago that I have been inviting my friends to a diner party and we shared ecstacy around the kitschen table , not in using drugs but in sharing each others qualities in the form of telling stories making music or share a joke , or a favorite piece of music .That are enlightened times as is now happening in different ways , Like sitting with my grandsohn on my lap and sing or talk together in his language ,
he is 2 year old that feels like gentle ecstacy !
There are many of those moments of ecstacy , For me it has to do with being content , to love no matter what and being open for what has to come Thanks Irene

Dorian Black
Dorian Black
August 25, 2016 4:05 pm

Well said, David. Thank you.

Linda Moore
Linda Moore
August 25, 2016 9:12 pm

Honest words require honest words in kind. Honesty of agony opens the door to honesty of ecstasy.. Agony comes, much, perhaps all, self created, and in the midst of agony there comes the moments in presence of understanding to receive and give forward to the presence of ecstasy.

Ecstasy. means to me the ability to perceive the ecstasy present in the agony. There is a built-in phenomenal presence within that does not allow agony to persist. An encouragement, a presence to build the dream of ecstasy., increasingly.

Agony of change follows in my footsteps, yet there is a compelling force moving me forward. The Force says ‘don’t be concerned about anything’, the circumstance says, ‘ oh, but how are you going to handle all of this circumstance?’ I call upon the ecstasy that says, ‘you can do this, you are equipped with full presence to accomplish the job at hand’.

Yes, I know. I’m the same presence as you. We share the same agony and the same ecstasy of different circumstance as every living being to different degrees. Some are caught in agony but through all of the agony there is the polar opposite which is the location of ecstasy which comes through us, deep within, to move with the rhythms of ecstasy.

Circumstances of agony are always present, yet deep within lies the ecstasy of fulfillment of seeing and being ecstasy in living.

Thank you for your words, David. I’m certain that everyone who reads your words have understanding.

Mark R. Jones
Mark R. Jones
August 26, 2016 8:18 am
Reply to  Linda Moore

I always keep in mind “All Sunshine Makes A Desert”. Without Light there is no Dark, without Dark there is no Light.

When both are equally present life becomes more or less grey to which I prefer the challenge of the Dark or the Ecstasy of the Light.

It is this contrast that we seek albeit in moderation to satisfy our souls purpose.

August 28, 2016 4:00 am

Ecstasy is knowing and knowing that I know something of the Lord and the JOY unspeakable that comes with that. And then of course comes the ecstasy of seeing the victories of children and grandchildren.

Marion Carlisle
Marion Carlisle
September 6, 2016 6:33 am

Thanks for your honesty and opening to the human world we all inhabit. I find it humbling to realise that so many I meet are undergoing troubles that their outward ‘persona’ doesn’t reveal. Ecstasy, the joy we cannot explain and comes like grace, is so different to the happy strategies that I often use to get me through. Yes, joy is re-emerging – it is a gift and a gift to share.

September 17, 2016 1:06 am

Ecstasy…..for me is giving birth, to my children and being alive with them on this planet watching them get stuck into life…..giving birth to new ideas that flourish into reality and manifest on into another element of being…..being at the beginning of something and being at the end of it too…..life and death. Meeting a new friend and finding out all about them takes my breath away that their enthusiasm has driven them to live their life in such a unique and outstanding way….being present in the moment and actually feeling present, not ahead of me or behind me there in that moment is like an epiphany for me….watching something so funny i cannot laugh because even my intellect is exploding inside with a flourishing waterfall of laughter…but when I do laugh thats the ecstasy manifesting oh my I love laughing, its the joie de vivre of the All isn’t it…nature blasts me with ecstasy every time, my knee jerks at the light, sound and smell extends my aura like its another part of my physical self until I feel the pulse of me resonating with the All….thats it…Ecstasy is realising the heartache has passed now the pain has gone, that heavy stone has dissolved into blood once more and is now pulsating around your body anew…

reading something that became a pounding powerful new insight that ignites every cell in you is, Ecstatic….

Typing this out I’ve had a realisation – that ecstasy for me is the agony too…because I’m actually Alive and here and blessed to be experiencing it in such abundant pleasure…I’m Alive and ectstatic about it I reached 55 wow…I’m living and I love it…it’s precious, all of IT… thats my Ecstasy….Thank you David for making me see this today

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