I have only purchased one app for my phone. I find cell phones to be a necessary nuisance, helpful enough that I keep one, annoying enough that I keep it on silent. I don’t bemoan or resent anyone who has finally found love with their device. I get it. I just find it terribly distracting to the notes of life that I want to pay attention to. Then a friend forwarded me an article on a mobile app called WeCroak. I immediately realized I had been introduced to the perfect app.
The gist is this, after handing over a buck to WeCroak, you download the app and then five times a day you receive the following notification:
Don’t forget, you’re going to die.
Five times a day. The only other feature beyond this mortal reminder is that when you tap on the reminder, a quote appears from a poet, philosopher, author, etc, such as:
‘Let me respectfully remind you: Life and Death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. On this night, the days of our life are decreased by one. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed! Do not squander your life.’ (Evening Gatha)
My guest today is one of the creators of the WeCroak app, Hansa Bergwall. Hansa runs a PR agency and is a poet. Our conversation runs the gamut of from Hansa’s inspiration for WeCroak to quotes from RuPaul and Stoic Philosophers on death and impermanence, why I find this app to be most helpful in work meetings, and we try to crack the code why most of the users of WeCroak are under 35.
Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu (スティーヴン・マーフィ重松) is a subtle and winsome teacher. I had the privilege of being in the student seat last fall at a conference where he was teaching. The first words I remember him speaking were in reference to the Japanese word ‘ma’, which he translated as the space that is the space between things. Inviting each attendee to take on the practice of listening by feeling and holding the spoken words before responding. I remember letting out a big sigh of relief (and of celebration) and recognizing that he was not a typical presenter seeking to bombard listeners, but to create space. It takes a subtle artist to create space within another person, Murphy-Shigematsu is such a person. He expands the meaning of mindfulness into the embodiment of heartfulness, and structures his latest book, From Mindfulness to Heartfulness: Transforming Self and Society with Compassion in such a way to ground the reader in the basic elements of heartfulness and ways to cultivate heartfulness from which compassion action can spring forth.