In the northern hemisphere we are experiencing the stunning season of autumn. It is of course an oxymoron in that in everything that dies we are afforded great beauty to behold. This may in fact be the lesson for us all, to learn to think of death as beautiful. Okay, understandably some of you are shouting that death is not beautiful. Perhaps if we leaned into it a little more and looked at it as natural part of the process of life, part of the cycle of life, we would be able to accept it and all that it has to offer us.
What I have learned from experiencing the death of a loved one is to not take life for granted. Every day matters, every moment matters and to not leave things unsaid by allowing fear to get in the way. For me that is a beautiful gift. I now practice BIG LOVE. It can be messy, sweet, complicated, joyful, but it should be BIG. I refuse to play small. The world awaits and I may only have this one day.
One of my favorite poems is The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
This poem serves to remind me that my life is first and foremost what I make of it. Each and everyday I have a choice as to how I come to life. Even when touched by grief, we have a choice to remake ourselves and live again, to shine our light brightly. What will you do today with your one wild precious life?