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How You Know You’re Dead January 22, 2006

Posted by Yvonne in Distinctions, Dynamics of Resistance, Indirect Approach.

dead, adj. 1. no longer alive; lifeless. 2. not having the capacity to live; inanimate. 3. lacking feeling or sensitivity, unresponsive. 4. no longer in existence, use, force, or operation. 5. devoid of animation, interest, or excitement. 6. not productive, idle. 7. weary and worn-out; exhuasted. 8. without brightness or luster. 9. without resonance. 10. extinguished. 11. lacking elasticity or resilience. See also: deceased, defunct, departed, expired, extinct, lifeless.

  • There are places in your body you don’t go anymore, or maybe never did.
  • The Wish List is the same as when you were a teenager.
  • You cycle between three or four emotions.
  • You refer to current loved ones with the same endearment as all the others, or maybe even the same name.
  • Every idea you have about movement is immediately countered by a thought for why you shouldn’t, couldn’t, or ought not to attempt it.
  • The last time you shared a new idea, it was your mom who replied. And she said, “No.”

  • Without getting out of bed, or even opening your eyes, you know exactly how the day is going to go … and you’re right.
  • If ever you happen to notice today’s date, you’re completely shocked.
  • The same words keep coming out of your mouth.
  • You know about twelve colors … like, really know them. Well, maybe only four.
  • You don’t own or use a dictionary.
  • People say, “You haven’t changed.”
  • You no longer look in your own eyes or at your own butt in the bathroom mirror.
  • Your life has more caution and explanation than curiosity and exploration.
  • You’re getting hurt, but you’re not moving away from the situation where that’s happening.
  • You haven’t looked at the sky without thinking for a really, really long time.
  • Gravity trumps taking a stand.
  • You always tell your hairdresser just how you want your hair done rather than asking the professionals to just do their thing and make you look great.
  • There’s no time for a phone call to someone you just thought of fondly.
  • You know exactly how old you are.
  • You don’t express your opinion until you’ve read the latest press on the subject.
  • Every father reminds you of your father.
  • It’s been a long time since you’ve made a mistake.
  • You don’t know what color your underwear is today.
  • You feel embarassed when someone tells you about something great in your neighborhood that you’d not yet discovered even though you’ve lived there for quite awhile.
  • You’re not getting what people are communicating. 
  • You don’t taste your food.
  • People don’t listen when you speak.
  • You don’t hand your fate over to knowledgeable and caring folks like dance instructors, waiters, salesclerks when shopping for jeans, or your spouse.
  • You go on smell, and keep returning to the same places over and over again.
  • Your life is pretty well setup, but noone is living it.
  • In your fridge, there are only condiments.
  • You can no longer belly laugh on the spur of the moment.
  • You don’t make music.
  • When someone asks, “Why?”, you know the answer.
  • You haven’t drawn your thumb slowly over your lover’s cheek recently, and you don’t really know what colors their eyes contain these days.
  • You can’t tell if you make a difference.
  • You look like all your friends.
  • You have no control over the speed at which you drive.
  • Children and lovers irritate you.
  • Whether it’s vibrator or vivacious, vim, vigor, and vibrance, or pistol or passion, purpose, power and pep, those “v” and “p” words make you nervous.
  • Your ribs don’t expand when you take a breath.
  • The same thing, same dynamic is happening in every area of your life.
  • You can’t remember when you learned anything from someone much older or much younger than you.
  • People from other countries are “foreigners”, and, even if you notice them, they don’t interest you much.
  • Your clothes don’t fit.
  • You have scars you’ve never shown anyone.
  • You’re waiting for something.
  • You’re dry and all shrivelled up, or dry and hardened. In any case, there’s no juice.
  • You don’t talk back.
  • When someone kicks you, you do nothing.
  • If you happen to roll into a ditch, you stay there.
  • If you happen to be at the top of a mountain, you don’t look around.
  • You’re brittle and crack easily.
  • If you break open, dust and mold poofs out.
  • When someone calls, you don’t answer.
  • You don’t get warm or cold.
  • There’s no point. Neither is there direction.
  • You don’t show up.
  • When you look in the mirror, there’s noone there.
  • Your face doesn’t move.
  • Noone looks at you.
  • The people around you are known by their function, like furniture or appliances.
  • You make no messes; and you clean none up.
  • Time is up.

… and if any of this rings true … I say that you might not be all completely dead.

I say that you actually do have the Possibility of Being Alive. You clearly couldn’t have gotten this far without it.

later came: part 2, 3, 4 and 5

Future Potential Inquiries: What is this rut and who put it here?, Useful Collusions



1. Ben - January 22, 2006

You go snow tubing instead of skiing.
You plan for three days to get to the mail box.
You know junk food makes you feel bad and you eat it anyway.
You know you feel better after a work out but don’t.

2. Yvonne - January 22, 2006

You eat only toast.
Noone calls.
The grass keeps growing, and you don’t even care.
You no longer hear the nasty squeak from the font left corner of your car.

3. Amy Jussel - January 22, 2006

Absolutely loved this post! I’ll try to add some thoughts later, but to stay in theme I’ll add…”He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” ~Harold Wilson More later, Amy

4. Yvonne - January 22, 2006

Everything around you is really, really quiet.

People you used to know deliver plastic flowers once a year, and you can’t even bring yourself to say: thank you.

There’s something quite heavy sitting on your head, and it has some words on it, but you can’t read it.

5. John Dimof - January 22, 2006

you realize suddenly that your eyes are closed.

…you don’t know what a url is

6. amyjussel - January 22, 2006

You say ‘how’s it going’ and don’t wait for an answer.

You view the sparkling Caribbean from a catamaran and it looks black & white.

You join the dining dead of restaurant partners that eat in silence.

You find chirpy annual Christmas letters annoying.

You toss invitations in the recycling bin, often unread.

You listen to DMB’s “Grey Street” and discover it’s your anthem.

7. Yvonne - January 22, 2006

You don’t dream at night.
Noone ever gets a personal letter from you.
There are no photographs of you from the last several years.
There’s no “flow” in your closet, nothing borrowed from a friend, nothing loaned to a guest.
Everything is finally figured out.

You’re out of memory.

The in-box is maxed out, and noone is emtpying it.

8. Pamela Truax - January 22, 2006

I just signed up for Integrative Coaching program with Debbie Ford and did the shadow workshop and my life will never be the same. I have few of these complaints, thank God! A transformation program is right around every corner, pick one and plop your deadbeat body into a chair and look to the front of the room. Just SITTING there will change your life, if you could do that. Landmark Education, Living with Reality, Shadow Workshop – pick one! 🙂 I met Yvonne in one and she is AWESOME! Miss you, Yvonne. Good job here!

9. Andi - January 22, 2006

You don’t spend money on adventures you can’t justify.
You don’t laugh when the rain gets you soaking wet.
You’re annoyed when friends and family don’t buy the items you carefully put on your birthday/holiday “wish” list.
The station on your car radio hasn’t changed in six months or more.

10. Yvonne - January 22, 2006

You can’t find your heart.
It’s dark all around.
The people you dine with, sleep with or who laugh at your jokes are also dead.
Your party clothes just hang in the closet; the good china and silver never see the light of day.
You don’t make up new words.
You don’t notice when someone is about to die.
There’s noone looking out from inside your head.
You say, “That’s nice.”

11. billdaul - January 23, 2006

Yvonne…you are right…this is a great entry…as long as I can read I “supppose” I am alive. 🙂

12. Yvonne - January 23, 2006

What I was trying to get to is the automaticity, how life can seem to go on, you can even be participating in some way, and then suddenly you realize you weren’t even there for much of it. Must’ve been dead, I say. That’s what I’m attempting to distinguish so then I have a chance of being more alert to those signs.

Another good inquiry would be: How You Know You’re About to Die.

Then maybe further distinction of “living” so I started a post on that too … 

More for How You Know You’re Dead:
– You clothes are all black.
– You lay down a lot.

13. Conscious Connections » Signs of Life - January 23, 2006

[…] Reflecting on the How You Know You’re Dead post, I can see that I still am not completely clear on when I’m really, really dead. Seems like if there’s the slightest response, then there actually is some life there. Like being irritated, or noticing something.  So that is what we are investigating here … […]

14. sharona - January 23, 2006

You know you are dead when:
1. The Steelers win the football game and you’re not cheering wildly.
2. Stories about your youth are easier to share than what you did yesterday, or even last week!
3. A private room with your very own bed and no sharing with a roommate is more appealing than being in a room full of people committed and IN ACTION to transform the world. HA!

15. Yvonne - January 23, 2006

And Verna emailed:

This was so DEPRESSING! Please quick – before I keel over – do the list for how you know you’re alive… as in “this list makes me want break things?”

My reply:

What do you mean? Did you find out you were dead???

Don’t jump! See new post: Signs of Life 

16. Conscious Connections » Brer Bear’s: Oh Man! This is Really Livin’! - January 23, 2006

[…] This conversation started with How You Know You’re Dead and when we’d had enough of the blazing truth in our faces, we moved onto Signs of Life, from which we’ve graduated, though not fully, to this further distinction of “really livin’.” [Some people just can’t be with reality! So …] On to fantasy! Inspired by Brer Bear who, when getting a perfect back scratching from one of the other creatures; wriggled into it saying in a low and lusty growly voice, “Oh man! This is really livin’!” […]

17. William Nelson - January 23, 2006

You know you are dead when:
– You want to add to this post….. and then decide not to!

Hey Yvonne, in case no one has said this to you lately: you’re pretty cool.

18. Yvonne - January 23, 2006

Yes, Bill, that’s fab: Lack of willingness to participate – a definite sign of being dead! Superb addition!

19. amy - January 23, 2006

Frankly, I find this all amusingly uplifting, which to me is clearly a sign of life, Brer Bear! And Yvonne? You’ve brought many spirits alive with this post…Reminds me of that Evanescence pop tune, “How can you see into my eyes like open doors—leading you down into my core—where I’ve become so numb —without a soul my spirit sleeping somewhere cold—until you find it there and lead it back home.” Blog on! Will add to the signs of life thread soon…

20. Yvonne - January 25, 2006

Verna replied to #15 above via email (this is funny):

Oh that was no surprise – I have been for a long time. What is agonizing is that so many other people know about this.


And I replied, also on email:

Yes, and frankly they are all inspired by it, because in spite of you knowing for sure you are dead, to others you are clearly alive – strange ain’t it?

21. Yvonne - January 25, 2006

You can’t locate your voice.
You have a dance card but there’s nothing new planned on it.
You lost your best friend’s phone number.
What you say isn’t true.

Geography stops you from doing what you love.

22. Conscious Connections » You’re Happy, What’s Wrong With You? - January 27, 2006

[…] That Dead blog that hasn’t let me alone since I wrote it, and I replied, quite deliberately and with a big smile, “I’m alive.” […]

23. Conscious Connections » How You Know You’re Dead, Part 2 - January 27, 2006

[…] This thing has just not let me alone. So here’s the latest: […]

24. How You Know You’re Dead, Part 5 « Conscious Connections - February 1, 2010

[…] Dead, Part 5 March 26, 2008 Posted by Yvonne in Distinctions. trackback Continuing from : part 1, 2, 3, and 4 … this download came in the middle of Valentine’s Day night – […]

25. How You Know You’re Dead, Part 4 « Conscious Connections - February 1, 2010

[…] How You Know You’re Dead « Conscious Connections – February 1, […]

26. How You Know You’re Dead, Part 3 « Conscious Connections - February 1, 2010

[…] Posted by Yvonne in Distinctions. trackback What is it about this conversation (see more at part 1, 2, 4 and 5)? Seems there’s still more to see about how un-alive life can be […]

27. Yvonne - February 1, 2010

why do people rate efforts to increase vitality such as this post “very poor”? could it be that they have lost their sense of humor or maybe they are just too dead to appreciate it … Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches tightest. … so I’ll take it as an indication we hit a nerve and the sourpuss isn’t totally dead after all!!

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