I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but the other day I was driving to work and I thought to myself, “I could die right now and be completely and utterly happy.”
I realize that sounds wildly morbid, especially coming from someone to whom the “D” word (death) is spoken in a hushed, “Don’t say it too loud or it might happen” tone. I’ve always been terrified of death. Until now, I guess.
I’m not saying I’m no longer afraid of it. There’s so much life for me still to live, so much I still want. I’m far more afraid of the ones I love dying. But the truth is, morbid or not, you never know how long you have in this beautiful life before the lights go out.
This past Sunday I worked a 15-hour day, with an early morning the following day. I couldn’t help but feel eager and anxious for Tuesday, when I would finally be free of work. Then it hit me again. I could die tomorrow. I could die tonight. How tragic would it be if I died yearning for Tuesday? If I died not living fully, completely and dedicatedly here in this Sunday?
I remembered my state of fullness that drive to work just a few days before. I was so happy then, and nothing had changed but my physical circumstances. I simply needed to shift my state of mind.
We are powerful, incredible beings living in fragile, impermanent little bodies. Life has a fleeting and transient nature, but our minds and spirits operate as if they’ll go on forever. We have a sense of awareness that feels untouchable. The greatest gift myyoga practice has given me is the sense of comfort I’m beginning to feel in this body. Holistic comfort. Comfort in knowing the physical body is not my identity, that it will change, that it will die one day. Comfort in knowing that, while horrific and tragic things happen in the world every day, and that sadness will come and go in my life, I have this thread of awareness to keep me bound. I’m safe in my Higher Consciousness because there’s so much more to life and living and who we are than these bodies and the experiences we have in them.
I’m not religious, but I’m deeply spiritual. The guidance of my teachers and my yoga practice has given me a safe space to live within my own mind and body. I may have found open hips and a strong core through my asana practice, but my true yoga practice has led me to discover something invaluable: safety.
I’ve established a safe space in which to live fully in each moment, with every ounce of me, infusing each day with passion and purpose (assuming I stay in my practice and catch myself when I fall victim to monotony, yearning for a new day). We will all die one day. My friend recently posted an image and a quote that rung so true to this concept I’ve been chewing on. It was a beautiful pairing of quotes. Mary Oliver and Buddha.
“Tell me,” Mary Oliver says, “what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Below the text was an image of infinity, sky and land, stars shooting and light bursting. Across it were the words of the Buddha, “The trouble is, you think you have time.”
We are here on this divine planet for a short burst of time. We are meteors of human life. We don’t have the time to waste working jobs we loathe, surrounded by people who drag us down, doing activities that stifle our souls. We must live now. Live now fully. Chase what it is you’re passionate about, make the sacrifices necessary to do so, because you don’t know if you have tomorrow.
This is your one wild, unruly, divine and precious life. What is it you plan to do with it?
Photo credit: Peter Guinosso