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.