It seems it still takes Death to break me. This ego of mine, it covers itself oh so quickly. Layer upon layer of ‘worry’ and defensiveness and grasping, and trying to make things ‘work’. A brittle shell builds that gets me to feeling that I have to walk carefully in this world, lest I break. Sometimes I forget that the point is actually to break. I have played with the notion of living with this shell instead of being so resolutely committed to breaking it… It’s not for me, it’s not sustainable or deeply loving in the slightest. (I actually have a Death wish… It’s here.)
We talk about ‘recovering’ from things, from illness, from the deaths of loved ones, and a whole host of other things we unconsciously label ‘tragedies’… and the breakdown of the word only just struck me. ‘Re-cover’ – Cover again. I don’t want to recover from the things that have most broken me. I want the brittle, defensive, addicted-to-the-trivial parts of me to stay shattered. I have had brilliant, life-changing moments of living heartfully, lovingly, honestly, and intensely out in the ‘open’, and I have let them change my life. I have let them radically change my life… And still, every now and then, I turn to find a thin veneer building up between me and the world. Sometimes I sit looking through this pane of glass for a while… Until Death comes back to visit me again, in guises great and small, and I wordlessly cheer as, with a quick ‘Tap’, another barrier to Life and Love falls away.
Death gave me and my shell another quick, shattering ‘tap’ last night through the words, story, and presence of a man named Christopher Aiff*. At 21, his story of living with, and through, cancer that’s been labelled ‘terminal’ broke me. In the best possible way. He reminds me of a lot of things – he reminds me that wisdom and age are so barely related. He reminds me to stop obsessing at all over this attachment I have to this idea of being in an ‘intimate relationship’. Life is an intimate relationship. Love is never lacking, it just shows itself in different forms. He reminds me to be more open and deep with my expressions of love; to stay connected to the depths of this work of being human. It’s the only work worth doing.
Dear man who I’ve never met,
Thank you for being such a brilliant mirror for the love in me. Thank you for being raw and open and honest and drawing me back to my depths by being willing to go first. The world has infinitely more expressions of love in it because of you. Thank you.
‘The decision to be positive is not one that disregards or belittles the sadness that exists. It is rather a conscious choice to focus on the good and to cultivate happiness, and genuine happiness. Happiness is not a limited resource. And when we devote our energy and time to trivial matters, and choose to stress over things that ultimately are insignificant, from that point we perpetuate our own sadness and we lose sight of the things that really make us happy… And rationalize our way out of doing amazing things.
Dying doesn’t have to be a bad thing… It is in fact a necessary thing.
I want to be remembered as someone who… Did their best.’
– Christopher Aiff.
* You can watch the his video here or Youtube search ‘Christopher Aiff’.
*Everyday Love – 100-day Living Book Project #3*
Day 6 – Monday 25th March 2013