Death Can Be Our Friend

By Mary O’Malley         

My beloved kitty Misty passed away on Saturday after 19 years of sharing her loving presence with everyone she met. My groups all begin with a meditation (oftentimes with Misty sitting in her Buddha pose on the arm of the couch), and I loved to say that she was constantly delighted that at least some people in the world had learned how to be as quiet and meditative as a cat!

To have death so close reminds me that one of the best friends we have in life is death.  Now, don't leave me here.  I know this is a topic that we shy away from.  But what if we understood that nothing can teach us more about joy and true aliveness than death!  We are usually so afraid of it that we don't look, listen and gather all the gifts it brings us.

So, for just this moment, know you are going to die and watch what your mind does.  It can go in two different directions - resistance and fear (which is what keeps us from being fully alive!) or it can acknowledge this truth in a way that reminds us of the preciousness of every moment.  That is what people oftentimes discover when they have a month or a year to live - that what matters is this moment - not all of the struggles the mind is busy with!

Know that one day this is all going to end and that after you read this newsletter, you are five minutes closer to that.  You don't know when that will be...none of us does. But allowing this truth in can open you to life in ways that you truly and deeply long for. 

If you are having a challenge with something in your life, stop for a moment and contemplate your death.  If you knew you were going to die next week, would you stay mad at your friend because he didn't return your call?  Would you sweat over those few extra pounds or be frustrated because you forgot something at the store and have to go out again?  We take our friends, our loved ones and our lives for granted and are thus only half alive. So whoever you are going to be around today, imagine that this would be the last time you would ever see them.  How would that change your response to them?  

To embrace death allows us to fully live!  Isn't that strange?  When we acknowledge death, we find that we are no longer afraid of life.  As we learn to live each day knowing it may be our last, we become more open, more adventuresome, more kind and more deeply compassionate.

So live your life fully.  It is going to end.  A wise person knows that their next breath isn't guaranteed (although we live as if this weren't so).  Don't wait until your death bed to wake up to life. That is what Misty has reminded me of.  Of the gifts that have come from her death, nothing is sweeter than the gift of remembering not to take any of this for granted!

Be light,  Mary

Quote:  "Know that one day this is all going to end...You don't know when that will be...none of us does. But allowing this truth in can open you to life in ways that you truly and deeply long for. ."  -- Mary O'Malley

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