In a cloud of smoke


“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson


This is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite authors.

It is also one of my favourite pieces of advice about life and living it.

When someone tells me, either through voice or writing or otherwise, how life should be lived according to them… I listen, consider it, appreciate it, then continue doing things the way I am doing them because my life is mine, and their life is theirs, the twain have met but only in passing… have shared a moment, a perspective, and moved on.

Sometimes someone says exactly what I need to hear because I am doubting my own way of doing things… they echo my own thoughts and I listen, consider it and appreciate it very differently as it says – continue doing things the way that you are doing them as this option suits you and the way that you are.

We all have ideas about what life should be or should not be, of who we should be or should not be, of who others should be and should not be, how others should live and should not live, of how we should live and should not live…and so on.

Sometimes we view our ideas as being written in stone…

Sometimes we know that they are ideas…

To be expressed, shared, there to inspire one way or another, fluid, elemental…

That they can change like the shape of smoke, the shape of clouds…


“You are sitting and smoking; you believe that you are sitting in your pipe, and that your pipe is smoking you; you are exhaling yourself in bluish clouds. You feel just fine in this position, and only one thing gives you worry or concern: how will you ever be able to get out of your pipe?” ― Charles Baudelaire


9 thoughts on “In a cloud of smoke

  1. I’ve always loved this Thompson quote. Sometimes, when life is hard and my emotions feel like a tornado, I remind myself that this is natural. Life is not neat and orderly. It’s messy and mysterious. So, if things feel chaotic and we feel uncertain, it doesn’t mean we are doing “it” wrong. Life is just like that.

    I often think the greatest ills are due to believing we are supposed to master life. Like throwing a lasso over a wild beast, we’re supposed to tame it. And due to that faulty thinking, we can think we are failing- doing “it” wrong. In actuality, it’s the opposite. It means we’ve thrown ourselves in the ring. What’s better than that?

    This was my “that’s it!” moment for me, in my early twenties:

    “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
    ― M. Scott Peck


    1. I agree wholeheartedly with that -> I often think the greatest ills are due to believing we are supposed to master life. Like throwing a lasso over a wild beast, we’re supposed to tame it.

      I think that we need to learn to ‘master’ ourselves, but I see that as being more about awareness and understanding of ourselves than control and dominance. Know your ‘beast’ your ‘wild’ side and understand it. The wild beast within us is beautiful.

      A couple of my fav ‘life philosophy’ quotes come from Martha Graham:

      “What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.” ― Martha Graham


      “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.” – Martha Graham

      We are who we are… and that is our greatest challenge and adventure 🙂


  2. Love that picture 🙂 It has a magic energy for me. One of my favorite quotes about life is Rumi’s The Guesthouse. I had that shivering spark feeling you describe when I read it for the first time. Felt like he is telling/comforting me: Do not worry about the many messengers who bring along their things to your door. Embrace them, they are part of being alive… (Changed my blog’s name and adjusted e-mail, thought the older comments would adapt, too, automatically but they did not. Am not yet so experienced. Well 😉 )


    1. Thank you 🙂

      Rumi is a wonderful source of words of wisdom. Simple, straightforward, deep and poetic.

      WP is glitchy and doesn’t deal with change smoothly… kind of like humans… we learn by doing 😉


    1. Thank you 🙂

      The first time I read that quote it sent a shivering spark of ‘That’s it!’ through me. Suddenly everything made sense and was copacetic. I’m not anywhere near as adventurous as Hunter Thompson was, most of my adventures are tame and rather dull compared to his. I like to experiment with life and living, but it’s mostly due to being accident prone both physically and verbally. Tripping over things and falling into stuff. I used to try to be other than as I am because I always seemed to get everything wrong, one mistake after another… then I realised, that’s me, that’s my way. I used to hate being me and now I love it (with the occasional daily moment of wishing I could be someone else because being me can be annoying).

      My body is not getting to the finish line in one pretty and well-preserved piece, it actually surprises me that it is as intact as it is. Sometimes I try and do something ‘healthy’ and I end up making things worse. I bought an inversion table a while ago to help with my back, the footholds broke and dropped me on my head – I did buy the least expensive one I could find so… my bad. – but still, that’s the sort of stuff which happens to me whether I’m being cautious or not. So… might as well just have fun with my life and myself as is 😀

      You come across as being great fun to be around!


      1. Thank you! I think I am, actually. Like yourself, I’ve learned that conforming to some sort of arbitrary social context is not really for me – our bodies are meant for living! 🙂


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