#5 The Clarifying Power of Death
Categories BeingDoing

#5 The Clarifying Power of Death

Death is one of the great clarifiers of life.

If you want to know who you most truly love, then ask yourself: If I was certain I would die today, who would I want to call? Stop and truly think about it, and focus on “want” to call versus feeling “obligated” to call. Who would you want to connect with … one last time?

If you want to know what you value most, then ask: If I was certain I would die today, what would I do? “Organizing my earthly affairs” is not an acceptable answer, because that should be done already. (Note to self: Call lawyer about will.) What I ask of myself — and what I urge you to ask of yourself — is  how do you want to spend your last day?

These are important questions because, inevitably, the day will come.  On rough average, we come into this world with 28,000 days to make decisions about what we will do. Of course, the thing about averages is that individual experience is all over the map, which gives even greater urgency for asking “Who do I want to connect with and what do I want to do today?”

Comparing the desires for your dying day with your current “everyday” behavior can bring instant clarity. Life becomes crystal clear when seen through the lens of death.

I have pondered these life and death questions the past month, on this one-month anniversary of my father’s death. For one thing, I’ve clarified that I have no time for coddling small minds, nor will I waste time joining the shouting match that passes for civic discourse. There are pigs on all sides, and as the saying goes, “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”

Instead, I will continue focusing on the commonality that runs beneath our individuality, and appreciating the individuality within our greater commonality. That might sound soft to some, but if this turns out to be my last day on earth, I’d rather go out as a bleeding-heart libertarian than a stone-hearted son of a bitch.

How about you?