If you pay close attention to your life for just one day and make a point of noticing how death serves you throughout those short twenty-four hours you will be shocked and surprised to see how much your living depends on dying.
This may initially sound very dark or macabre, however if you do choose to pay close attention for only one day you will begin to see how important death is to we humans – it may even change your fear and denial of death into a type of reverent appreciation or perhaps even gratitude.
Look, we are at the top of the food chain. We have no natural predators of any consequence that could put a dent in our population aside from perhaps acts of nature or ever morphing viruses. From our lofty perspective, it is as if we have put ourselves above death and somehow we will ultimately master the evil Grim Reaper. We are absolutely out of touch with the natural cycle of birth, life, and death.
It is only 9:31 am PST on Wednesday February the 3rd, 2015 and I have already witnessed lots of death. Here look and see;
- Upon waking I took my daily supplements, all natural, so plants died in order for me to take good care of my health.
- I made a smoothie for my family and me. Oranges, strawberries, peaches, and bananas, all organic, gave their lives to feed us and give us life.
- I fed the birds and squirrels nuts, seeds, and berries – more death of plant life so our backyard animals can live.
- I noticed bird feathers on the ground, the damn neighbors cat killed a bird so it could eat and fulfill its life.
- I am at my favorite teashop and yes even more death, this time of tealeaves so I can enjoy a fine cup of Chai tea.
- I will have organic chicken stew for lunch. Yes, more death, carrots, potatoes, celery and a once living chicken have given up their lives so I can survive and live yet another day.
- I noticed the wood siding on my house and beneath the wooden structure supporting the home that I live in. Yes trees gave their lives so my family and I can be sheltered from the unrelenting spring rains here in Maple Ridge.
- I noticed 8 bags of compost waiting excitedly by our raised bed gardens soon to be turned into the soil in which we will plant our seeds in, seeds that will grow this spring and summer season. Yes, more death! The compost is dead plant material and this dead stuff is what my vegetables will be growing in, vegetables that we will eat in order to keep us alive for another Thanksgiving.
All this death and it is only 9:30 in the morning!
Yes, all this death and I am totally alive and vital, fed and sheltered. I am so grateful!
So grateful for death?
Yes, death feeds me, gives me life. I am so very grateful for the trees that give me shelter, the plants and animals that give me food – life energy so I can experience the magic of being here and alive in my very real and human life.
Will I be able to hold this feeling of gratitude when loved ones die? Well I have, my dear sister Jody’s death inspired my life and though I miss her deeply I am grateful for her passing. Her very death breathed new life into me – read Chapter One page 3 and 4 of my book When Death Speaks for the full story.
My father’s death, my dear friend Stasi’s death, though significant losses, breathed life into me in the form of gratitude. Gratefulness for having known them, for the lessons they taught me that have impacted my life in wonderful ways. Sad events, hell yes and yet at the very same time life affirming, and, life giving.
When I am closing in on my own death will I be able to hold onto this feeling of gratitude for death, death that is all around me has fed me and is now ‘eating’ me?
That’s my goal.
Good luck to you all as you explore the meaning of death in your actual life. May you too find a deep sense of lasting gratitude by welcoming death back to life where it can take up it’s rightful and important place.
Birth = Life = Death.