I recently had an experience that made me emotionally ponder the fragility of life. As a result, I found with a happy feeling that I was not afraid to die. I thought about it and felt like I had no regrets, that my conscience was clear, and that doing everything with love and from my heart is all I can do. I can strive to be true to my soul and to not hold back, and the rest is mysterious.
Obviously, this is not a gloomy post. I am extremely fond of being alive and doing my thing. I plan to be around for a very long time and be as useful as I can. But it was interesting to discover that I was not afraid of dying and felt at peace.
The first time when I discovered having no fear of dying was when I was in Southern China years ago, in the middle of nowhere, attacked by a stranger. I remember very vividly how it was unusual but not terrifying at all. That time around, I was mostly feeling surprised but not scared until the intellectual understanding kicked in. All clearly ended well, before and now. Life is good.
But it added to the story that I meant to send a few days ago (while simultaneously shortening it because I feel like being concise for a change).
This story is about the feeling of goodness and human ability to heal, feel love, make changes, and be whole.
A tangent: Malidoma Some, the Dagara elder whose work I like very much, wrote about the initiation rite that the boys in his village have to go through before they can be considered adults. It is all very involved, and his work is available for those who have the curiosity—but one of the things that I found incredible and significant was that in a very complex sequence of challenges, many of which life-threatening, the very first challenge required that the boy would find in himself the place from which he would feel absolute love. He was required to do whatever it takes to get himself in a place where he would experience the full and outworldly love that nourishes the soul for a very long time.
Without that core, without knowing what it feels like to be loved and accepted in totality—and being existentially valid in absoluteness, we are damaged people.
That, I believe, is the reason why it’s often difficult to give ourselves the permission to do things with love—and also why those of us whose parents have given us that feeling of total acceptance, usually find it easier to overcome challenges when things get tough.
So what do we do if as children, we weren’t shown that feeling?
What do we do if when we were growing up, our parent didn’t see us for who we are, or maybe they weren’t very happy themselves, or perhaps they were extremely imperfect in their behavior or in how they expressed their love?
I believe that when it is the case, we are given a precious opportunity to be the ones who break the cycle. I believe that we have the full power to mend what’s broken. I believe that it’s a good task to have, challenging as it is.
I believe that we have a tremendous power of renewal, of straightening things out and restoring the joy.
We are authorized to create the change for the better.
We have the right to heal.
We are alive because it means something.
It really does.