The Story of Be

Cassie Lim on the things that matter.

Cassie Lim on the things that matter.

“I was on the phone with a client when the ground began to shake. Panicking, I dashed out of the apartment and down the nearest stairway. It was the Japan earthquake of March 2011, and there were two stairways: one a fire escape and  one not — the one I was in. The building shook so violently I could barely hold on to the railings. I managed to reach the ground floor but the exit was locked. I was trapped, alone beneath a rattling building.

The worst thing about being alone was not having anyone toscream: ‘Ahhhh! What do we do?’ The best thing about being alone was having to face myself.  A big fear stared back: ‘Is this my final moment?’ Then I lost it. I started laughing hysterically, thinking: ‘So what if I was in fine clothes? So what if I stayed at a posh service apartment beside Tokyo Tower? So what if I had a great career and lots of friends? So what? Because if that building had collapsed, my life would have been forgettable. I would have been a pile of dust that had not contributed beyond myself — and perhaps my immediate friends and family.

The earthquake passed. I threw myself into work and fun to wipe that moment out of my mind, but it was a dark period. A hole was growing in my heart that no amount of fine living could fill. So little matters in the face of death, yet we strive in life for inconsequential things. The emptiness made me question many things. The most important was, ‘What the hell am I doing with my life?’

If ‘the night is darkest before dawn’ then dawn came as be movement, a social enterprise I created to encourage people to drop the ‘I’ in our lives. be celebrates the stories of those with the courage to be. With be movement, I hope to inspire people to strip away that which matters not, and to focus on what really does — what it means to be a human being.”

More on be at www.be-movement.com

– Cassie Lim, International Correspondent


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