the inevitability of death

“Fiercely wanting, as we all do, just a little more life.”

Mary Oliver

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the inevitability of death. Most of the time I (we) forget about it, and it is kind of for the best. Would life be as enjoyable if you were remembering every moment that at any moment, you could leave it? In fact, you definitely will leave it. It is the one guarantee we have. We know nothing for sure, except that we will die.

It is this fear of death, I think, that often shapes our lives. Our values and beliefs are a reckoning with the fact. Some of us choose to believe that there is a life after this one that is far better than what we have now, (and with that we believe there is an alternate after-life that is far worse than what we have now.) Some of us believe there is absolutely nothing. Some of us are unsure. But all of the stories we tell ourselves are a way of feeling safe now.

It is important to feel safe. When we feel safe we are able to explore, to take risks, and to create. But also, it is important to examine the story that we are telling ourselves about safety. Is it allowing us to live a freer, more beautiful life now? Or, how is it shaping our lives?

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