“I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I’ll be sending messages on a ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side. When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less important whether or not I am unafraid.”
Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals (1980) *
We are each promised a lifetime. It may only be minutes or 102 years. That is the only agreement death makes at the beginning of our lives.
It’s fall again. Growing up I looked forward to this, my favorite season of the year. I have always found great beauty and comfort as the light and overt power of summer yields to fall. There has always been more meaning in shadows than in the forms and objects that cast them. Fall will give way to winter. I love first snowfalls. They seem to clean the world. Fresh snow, like rain, has a beautiful fragrance. A stillness that the world has been quieted for just a bit. In this stillness we are offered to consider and reflect upon our lives.
In the shadows and quiet, death and I became allies many years ago. My cancer is just the latest life event to reconfirm our partnership.
We each have choices as to how we use our time and many developed gifts. I’m not a believer in natural talent being the great predictor of where our passions lie. I do believe in interests and imagination along with concrete daily actions and practices. I’m not suggesting “doing” our selves into exhaustion. We do that very easily. Instead, are we being and doing our most meaningful and significant births?
I have formed daily questions, working to end each day being able to answer yes. Did I spend time today doing what I really wanted? If I died tonight, have I emptied myself of the creations living in me? Have I found a life for them in this world? They seem to be such simple questions until time becomes an intimate stark deadline. It isn’t self indulgent either. No one else in the world can do the things that are mine. When I hold back, the world is cheated. There are acts of beauty and contributions that only I can make. Ones that are so unique the world is not only waiting on me, it is begging me to pour them out, to give them an existence.
Is my life filled with completions of my best work? Did I make that journal entry, take that photograph or make that recipe at sometime? Have I said the most important words I wanted to today? Did I write one story? Have I written every story that matters to me? Did I tell the people in my life the things I want them to know? Did I listen and somehow touch those who I dearly love? Did I extend myself to someone? Am I being the person I want to be? Can I rest in the sweet silence, now that I did not withhold today? Just the ones from today. Because tomorrow is not in my hands. Nor am I assured it will come.
Right now, in my life, I am naked. There is nowhere to hide. Fear is not an option. The many things that in the past held me back, things like reputation, failure, acceptance, ridicule, shame and pride no longer hold weight. I have no more time, even if I was granted all the time in the world. The biggest lie of all is when I say “I still have time.” No, I don’t. None of us do. We just have today. It is about being. Finding ourselves standing and growing roots into our deepest core selves and developed potential. We are all of ourself.
Death becomes our ally the second we end each day with our “being” intact, the moment all of our known visions and creations exist in the world. We can then move on with no regrets or laments for more time. Peace and grace are also our allies in this death. If our physical body no longer resides in this world, there will still be oceans of our love and our exquisite essence painted across the world.
Like Audre Lorde I do not wish to attempt cryptic messages from the other side, hoping someone will still want to decipher them. Please, when it is my time , let me journey beyond the physical, knowing, I did, “Die Empty”**
Blessings to all Bridget
I recommend the following two books:
*”The Cancer Journals” by Audre Lorde available on iBooks and Amazon
**”Die Empty” by Todd Henry available on iBooks and Amazon