There must be some way to integrate death into living, neither ignoring it nor giving in to it.             – Audre Lorde

If we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well:  Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life. -The Dalai Lama

In an ideal world, I’d live out my 80+year life expectancy and die quietly in my sleep.

“She was healthy & sharp until the very end,” they’d all say.

But I’m trying something different here.  This time around, I’m practicing taking my final breath at age 43.

I’m participating in a “Year to Live” study group, based on the book of that name by Stephen Levine.  We’re a group of about 25 who meet once a month at the cozy Village Zendo in New York City.  We’ve all been given a hypothetical date one year later to die.

“What a downer,” some have said.

“Why on earth would you do that?” others manage.

For me, this is really an exercise in living.

It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but I believe that there can be no better way to learn to live fully than to live with a sense of the immediacy and the impermanence of it all.

After all, wiser men & women than I have undertaken similar quests since the beginning of time.  Many of them have been transformed by it.

I hope you’ll come along and join me for this journey.

*  To read more about how my blog came to be, please visit this post on “Daily Kos” by the ever-insightful blogger citisven.

Ps-  I also have a new blog:  Beyond Siri.  Hope you’ll sign up here and join the conversation!