Exploring the Big Questions About Life and Death

Exploring the Big Questions About Life and Death

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”   

-John Burroughs

 “It’s so strange that autumn is so beautiful; yet everything is dying.”

In light of Autumn and Halloween and All Souls Day, this month’s newsletter is about a topic that may create some discomfort. But, yoga encourages us to look bravely at all of life, including death.

My mom turned 98 last Sunday. And that number can’t help but make me think about the time when she will die. She’s a pip, quite a character who frequently reminds us that ‘growing old is not for the faint of heart’. And sometimes she curses like a drunken sailor, really annoyed with the whole process because, we humans don’t necessarily ‘grow old beautifully, filled with light and color in our last days’.

We humans also tend to shy away from conversations about the dying process. For many of us death is a really uncomfortable subject.  As for my mom? She just refuses to discuss it, period!

An older woman, talking about death and dying on NPR  put it like this (paraphrased) ‘So, here I am, this particular collection of cells and molecules located in this particular space and time. And someday, these cells and molecules are going to disappear and perhaps rearrange themselves in some other space and time.’  I like this interpretation a lot.

Also, something that happened in my 30’s changed how I felt about death. I happened to be present at several births, and also with two people who were very close to passing…and the thing that blew me away was that the energy in the birthing rooms and the energy in the dying rooms were incredibly similar – they both were filled with the quality and the energy of transformation.

Death is the ultimate transformation.

But transformation can also occur in small steps.  Yoga shows us that transformation can happen breath by breath, moment to moment and throughout our daily lives. We can learn to create a sense of spaciousness, we can learn to laugh at ourselves and to forgive ourselves. And it shows us how to live our lives in a state of wonder, of affection and gratitude.

Do YOU think about, talk about, consider this topic?  Would love to hear from you.

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