We had two great breathes last Sunday. It’s heartening to see familiar faces each week, to share so deeply with people from all over the world. This week the theme of death, dying and letting go seemed to hover in the air.
None of us really ever know how long we have on this earth, and yet our mortality can be something we both take for granted and shy away from speaking about. When we breathe, we become very aware of the bridge between life and death; the breath.
Anthony’s latest mail out says more:
“I thought about death today. It’s been coming up a lot – parents of friends, friends themselves, and it seems like every day on Facebook there is the report of someone’s passing.
A couple of months ago I had a reading from a well-known astrologer. He talked about death, that it may happen to me on January 4th 2020, that I should be ready.
I am not sure that I am.
Neither am I ill, at least not that I know of, but after that reading my first reaction was denial, followed by a growing temptation to explore it. Hopefully the inquiry I undertake will be blessed with the luxury of my living past the due date! Perhaps I will thrive onwards and the words I heard will prove to mean something else.
For me, it is a welcome moment to bring death into my life. I talk about the exhale and how we can be more aware, and now is my chance to live that awareness again. How does this feel for you? Do you ever contemplate your own life and death?
Speaking for myself, it’s definitely a big change to contemplate my passing. I have always associated my life with expansion, and even as I sit in my 65-year-old body, I still seek to deny its diminished capacity to play, run, ski, swim and make endless love. Gladly I have found the myriad of ways to make love I had never thought of before!
These last two months have changed everything. It’s not a dark cloud that hangs over me, but a reminder to live the next nine months as if they may be my last. Sound morbid? Maybe, but it really isn’t coming from that place. I don’t want to be indulgent, maudlin, sentimental or negative. In fact my life has moved away from these possibilities and as I include death in my every day; my noticing has changed completely.
Allowing death’s presence brings a brightness to every moment that I have. I stop and take a breath more frequently. I wake up in gratitude for another day to frolic and play.
There are also preparations to be made, material arrangements that would be of no concern to me should I be gone, but I realise how important they would be for my family. I want to be ready, and I also want those around me to be prepared, and as much as I wish to accept that death may come from a grander design, I would like to have my own hand in it too.
As I savour these moments with my dear wife Amy, in our group breathes and our classes, in walking in the country, and talking to my children and those I love, the mundane takes new meaning. Colours brighten when you don’t know how much longer you will see them, sunrise becomes a miracle every day. If I say ‘goodbye’ or ‘see you later’, a part of me ponders whether it will prove true.
One day it won’t, for any of us.
Yesterday I sat down with Amy, and asked if we could spend a minute looking into each others’ eyes. We stopped our busy lives to be together, really together. Darting eyes teared up as we settled into the intimacy we all too readily skip over on our way through another hectic day.
This is what happens when we embrace death every day; a depth emerges, a sense of gratitude becomes ever present. May we learn about these things before we are forced to.
With blessings and love,
P.P.S. Check out Stephen Levine’s book “A Year to Live”. It may change your life!