When I was in my early thirties my sister in law passed away. She was 28 years old. A few years later, when I was 37, one of my best friends died suddenly, without warning. Each of these women left behind two small children.
The most amazing thing was, life went on. Each time I sat through the moments of processing these deaths, I felt as if the world should stop spinning, but it never did. Their kids woke up the next morning and had breakfast, played video games, and put on their socks. Their husbands eventually returned to work and the kids went back to school.
Many years later, the children of these young women have graduated college and have begun dating. Rarely do we speak of my sister in law and my dear friend anymore, although my home office has a number of pictures of my friend Cathy hanging on the walls. I think of them and their lives often. Their passings taught me to appreciate the fragility of life and sobered me up to the idea that our life here is limited. Both deaths helped push me to understand that I had a right to be happy and that getting a divorce had to happen one way or another.
I cannot say that my young sister in law lived before she died, although every fiber of my being wishes it could say that she did. I can say that Cathy lived more than most of me and my friends. At her wake hundreds of people, my friends and I never knew existed paid their respects. Cathy was into so many things. She took dance classes and crafting classes. She donated her time to her children's school and never missed a chance to go to dinner with us or any number of her other friends. Her smile literally lit up a room. She was an impeccable dresser and her nails, makeup and hair were always on point.
She also carried a lot of pain. Cathy was very overweight and had a difficult relationship with her father. He was critical of her and from time to time she would let us into her painful inner world. I wish I had more time with her. My awakening had just begun to go into full swing at the time of her death and I will always wish she and I could have learned to LIVE life to the fullest together, rather than having her death be one of the catalysts for me to begin taking my time on earth more seriously.
Our psychological selves might not consider thinking about our own deaths as pleasant. I get it. The ego surely doesn't want to die nor does our physical body, but nonetheless, our inner selves know our truth. Our time here shall come to an end.
Yesterday, in my hometown of NYC, 8 people were murdered by a terrorist. People like you and me, out on their bikes, enjoying the crisp Autumn weather in a beautiful city, minding their own business, run down in the name of hate. It makes no damn sense at all! My heart goes out to them as well as to their families and to the emergency responders and bystanders who undoubtedly will be impacted by what they witnessed.
The incident got me thinking about my sister in law and my friend Cathy. Once again the message showed up; our time here is limited.
I consciously live today with Cathy ever present in my mind. I live for her and I live for me. I know Cathy would have been so into enlightenment, childhood programming, and the law of attraction. She so would have soaked up understanding how being raised by an overly critical father caused her to become a self-critical, perfectionist who as a result struggled with food. I know Cathy would have been one of my loudest cheerleaders. I know it because even though she is not here with me physically, I can feel her spirit urging me forward. "Keep going Lee--tell em'--tell em' the truth," I can hear her saying.
Dear Ones, today is an opportunity to LOVE the abundance that is around you. Stop to smell the roses and the dog. Stop to taste the rain and appreciate that rain is our water supply after all. Stop to let crazy drivers pass you by. Send them love anyway. Stop to hold the door for the person behind you walking into Dunkin to buy coffee even if they seem ornery and self-absorbed. Stop to feel the cool air on your cheeks and appreciate that wind helps to pollinate our planet. Stop to say 'namaste' to your divine body that digests whatever crap you dump into your stomach. Stop to say thank you to the sun for being the center of our universe and for keeping the earth in just the precise proximity to it to allow for growth and expansion without burning us all to a crisp. Stop to say 'thank you' to the trees that give off the oxygen you need to survive. Just stop-stop--stop--shush--feel--listen--don't think--just stop--feel---look around you--soak it up--soak it in--this world has been created for you...It is a place to manifest what has been placed upon your heart...be thankful...be humble...close your eyes and connect to all that is--YOU ARE an extension of all that is. Your world supports you--even if you never realize this truth...
Dear Ones, today choose to LIVE and to be, just be. This IS living. Being is living. Soaking abundance up is living. Peaceful appreciation is living. Finding the bliss within is living.
Death comes for us all. The key to overcoming our fear of death can be found by way of learning how to live before we die.
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