5 minute read
I have a morning ritual that keeps me in check. Once the kids are fed, and the coffee is poured, I sit down with the newspaper and flip directly to the obituaries. I skip right past the fear-inducing manipulation of the “if it bleeds, it leads” stories that infest our newsfeeds and instead go straight to death. It may sound incredibly morbid to you, but for me, it’s the perfect reminder at the beginning of the day, that it may be my last. I like reading the beautiful, heartfelt words written by loved ones for loved ones. It helps remind me to be more kind, patient, and present with myself and others. Then I flip to the word jumble and hope for the best.
But today was different. Staring back at me from the obituaries was not one, not two, but five deaths that were marked “unexpected”. So and so unexpectedly passed away… five. Different. Times. All I could think was, whether it was their own doing or their own time, we’re all going to die. All of us. That’s a truth that is sobering and incredibly terrifying for the general population. But why does it have to be that way? Why do we have to view death in such a frightening and anxiety-inducing way?
We spend so much time on life and the minutiae of every day living that we lose ourselves. If we spent a bit more reflection on death, we might be able to demystify it and use it as a way to help us instantly re-prioritize our lives and re-ignite our souls. Here’s to celebrating life by thinking about death. How do we want our own loved ones to celebrate our lives when we are gone? Are we proud of the person we are? Are we taking creative risks that may initially scare us but profoundly fulfill our soul in the long run?
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
As much as we may disagree on a bajillion hot-button issues and minor pet peeves (open mouth breathing, anyone?) the one thing that’s not up for debate is that none of us know when we’re going to go.
It may sound dismal but it doesn’t have to be. (I just wrote “diesn’t” by mistake). Maybe today you spend 15 minutes to find your own “Diesn’t list.” The list that as the author, Todd Henry says allows us to “die empty.” This is the list that “diesn’t” come with you to the grave. This is the ultimate collection of a bucket list. We’re not just talking skydiving and seeing the Grand Canyon. We’re talking about deep-seated desires that have always been inside of you but may have been sidelined by this thing called life. We’re focusing on the people in our lives who matter more than we can find the words to describe.
We owe it to ourselves and each other to just freakin go for it and make a non-negotiable soulful list of where we need to dedicate more time without caring about what others are doing or not doing. We’re way too far each others’ butts. Focus on your own butt today. What makes your heart sing and your butt swing? Whatever that “it” is, give yourself permission today to do it for 15 minutes.
This is your moment to spend some time alone to be honest with yourself so from this day forward your regrets lessen as your revelations soar. You may surprise yourself at how you redefine “revelation.” It may not be as jaw-dropping as you once thought. Laying in the grass and looking up at the stars may be your lightning bolt moment reminding you how much you love your husband or how grateful you are for your health. Revelations are extra-ordinary, but if we’re not in tune to them, we take these everyday moments for granted and find ourselves laid out on a deathbed of regret.
Let’s throw a pinkie promise out into the ether that we will do our best to pay attention; to look up; to see. We will dethrone our Queen Busy and joyfully appoint our Queen Be. And most of all, we will wholeheartedly vow that when all of this blissful living goes out the window during moments of fast living, that we will be kind to ourselves and whisper ever so lightly, you’re human. And when all else fails, a sunny walk through a cemetary may just do the trick.
Coco (2017, Directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina) Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.