One might think that a Blog about Mindful Dying would consider our Dying as a most important time. It is important, but how we die is a far cry from the importance of how we live. Yet, it seems that we, as a culture, are putting a disproportionate amount of resources into prolonging dying at the expense of improving the quality of life for those being born, and growing.
We have an industry devoted to elevating dying into a last great act of self-promotion. We’ve inserted pride into the most humbling experience of no control. We’re encouraged, pressured even, to have some sort of Advance Directives so we can tell those who will speak for us when we cannot speak for ourselves, what we want. Yet, we will have no control and so, perhaps, we’re better off having Advance Hopes. I hope people speak well of me. I hope there’s someone who cares. I hope, I hope, I hope.
This ‘One Year To Live Experiment’ Keeps Biting Me In The Arse
Being the introspective introvert I am, I’m often taking stock of where my heart and mind are in relation to being ready on any day, at any moment, to die. Until recently, the answer has been ‘yes’, I’m ready. It was an otherwise quiet, uneventful sort of day when my heart melted and I found myself saying ‘no’, I want to live for another 10 years, at least. And then… ‘do I want to live if it means living by prolonging my dying and requiring an amount of care that could exhaust the resources of those I care most about, and those for whom I want to live another 10 years.’
There is no time to waste. There is only now, to be the person we want to be. There is only now to start being more generous, kinder, and nurturing. And the clock keeps ticking. There is only now to put the angers, frustrations and disappointments into a mental box and tuck it away where they no longer control us. There is only now to soften our hard hearts so we may comfort those in our care. There is only now to give our children love, safety, and the tools they will need to thrive, not just survive. There is only now to demonstrate that generosity, kindness, and nurturing are more reliable then selfishness, bullying, and jealousy. There is only now to acknowledge that which we can change and that which we cannot. Whether we are born into royalty or poverty, we enter death as equals. We have only now to know that it is not what life brings us that defines us, but only how we respond to what life brings that matters, every moment.