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In recent months, I’ve found myself immersed in the contemplation of mortality. The abrupt passing of friends and acquaintances, seemingly healthy and untouched by serious illness, has left me grappling with the profound concept of life’s impermanence. In the beginning, I received this news with a detachment akin to hearing headlines on the news. However, as the list of names grew and the toll of loss mounted, genuine concern took hold. My partner, nestled in the same age bracket, stood before me, and the spectre of losing him loomed large. The mere thought of his absence sent shivers down my spine.

In times past, such contemplations led to a frenzy of emotions – tears, anxiety, and an enduring unease that spanned weeks. I vividly recall a previous instance when he fell ill; my distress was so intense that, once he recovered, I embarked on a quest to overhaul our lifestyle. The kitchen shelves brimmed with an assortment of vitamin boxes, each promising benefits tailored to specific conditions and age groups. However, this time around, the experience unfolded differently. I found myself exploring deeper, wanting to engage in a conversation about the inevitable: death.

This newfound curiosity went beyond personal preferences for his hypothetical funeral. I sought not to impose my wishes but to understand his desires. How did he envision his farewell? What arrangements would he prefer? Who would he want to gather in his memory? The dialogue commenced tentatively, his candid response: “I’ve never really thought about it.” While undeniably legitimate, part of me yearned for my departure to be a celebration mirroring my vibrant life. The prospect of a sombre service in a religious setting, replete with tears and alcohol-fueled grief, didn’t resonate. Our conversation had merely begun, destined to delve into specifics as we both pondered.

Traditionally, my cultural background shies away from discussing death – a topic that’s taboo, unmentionable, and capable of plunging conversations into disheartening depths. But let’s pause for a moment to reflect: Isn’t death an intrinsic part of life’s tapestry? Failing to embrace its existence leaves us vulnerable to unconsciously carrying burdens, clinging to relationships that no longer nourish our souls, and resisting life’s inevitable twists. The discomfort we encounter when life diverges from our expectations, the reluctance to release toxic relationships, it’s all akin to dying countless times within the expanse of our lifetime – often unbeknownst to us.

True vitality necessitates confronting those areas where life has been denied. The scars that compelled us to close our hearts and turn our backs on life in a bid to merely survive must be illuminated. By doing so, we can exist in a state of openness and receptivity, breathing in life’s essence to the fullest. The journey entails acknowledging these hidden corners, illuminating them with the light of understanding, and allowing life’s breath to reanimate them.

So, let’s ponder: Which stones are we willing to upturn? What facets of our lives are ripe for revelation and release? In embarking on this introspective journey, we grant ourselves the opportunity to breathe expansively once more.

Consider the moments where breath stagnates, where life’s rhythm is stilled. These are the telltale signs of areas in need of acknowledgement and release. By confronting these instances, we pave the way for a new cadence – a rhythm that aligns with the flow of life itself. In celebrating life’s vibrancy, we inherently acknowledge its finite nature. Embracing the full spectrum, from inception to conclusion, empowers us to embrace life’s ebb and flow with grace and resilience.

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