Dying to Live

Life and Death go hand in hand: the constant relationship we all exist in. Always there, regardless of whether we mindfully breathe deeply or take for granted our breath; always there whether we feel less than well or very well. All other relationships exist within this primary one. 

In this attraction of opposites, death however leads the way, it knows there is only one way out of here – whether our time here is long or short. Yes, it’s a dance and our one little life is at the mercy of death’s next move. In between there will be the twists, the sudden turns, the mistakes, and the moments of perfection until the finale. Death is holding all our hands. 

Many would say we live more fully when we are dying but some live everyday in that ironically dark enlightenment: everyday we are dying. I’m envious of those who treat every day like one little life. I swing between the yesterdays and the tomorrows, like a cat on a hot tin roof with the present. 

So shouldn’t we live fully everyday with this knowledge – the kind of knowledge we should swallow like a supplement every morning to start our day. Today I’m living but I’m also dying: maybe this might steer our life journeys and choices better. Maybe we would all live more consciously of what we do and say to ourselves and others if we were to swallow that bitter sweet pill every day.

Yes, death will always have the upper hand but whilst living we get to choose (nearly always) what to do with life as it presents itself in moments. Every moment gives us a chance to change, to get things right, to make things better, to learn. The alternative is to remain the same and keep getting things wrong. Every moment is an opportunity. Change is possible with choice. Death may be leading but we can meander. 

Over the last few years, I have dealt with many owners who treat their animals terribly. There is a sameness to them: a moral disability, emotionally blind, a darkness: nearly soulless. Their potential to cause suffering: enormous. Did I or anyone I know ever get anywhere when it came to changing their minds to bring about a change in behaviour: No! I remember one time myself and my friend accidentally admitted to each other, how we prayed one elderly owner who was so cruel to his animals, well, we hoped he would die – such was the level of pain he caused animals. Death couldn’t come soon enough for his animals. 

How do you change the mind of someone who causes so much suffering and death? How do you change the mind of someone who neither fears the living or fears dying? What ‘weaponry’ can you use? Most of us don’t know their ‘language’ and it’s a language that most of us don’t want to learn. What do you do? 

Many people in Ukraine have decided they would rather die fighting to save their country than live under Putin. Understandably so. Many of them are dying to live: many will die to live freely in their minds whether that is a day more, a month or forever. They are dying to live fully. Symbols of good amidst evil; symbols of courage when faced with unimaginable terror.

But buried deep, a Russian and a Ukrainian soldier will be the same people: dead people. We all will be the same people. It is what we leave behind that will leave our mark on others, on the world. Many will inherit what we have passed to them, projected onto them, and that lives on until one day no one will remember our names. 

One day no one will remember our names. 

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