or Thirteen Tips for Beating Back Death — Stick Optional
I woke up the other day with a Blood Sweat and Tears song, When I Die, in my head, one of those songs from childhood that stick with you like mice to a glue trap so, of course, I went to Youtube to listen, dancing around the kitchen while waiting for the coffee to brew as the cats looked on with mild interest and the dog, used to my morning dance routines, rolled his eyes and laid down on his bed, waiting for the noise to subside. Why the sudden preoccupation with death? Well, I just celebrated a birthday, one of the aughts, and no, I’m not going to tell you which, not that you can’t figure it out from one google search or other. If nothing else, aughts are a great reason to take stock of your life.
Now I’m not trying to be morbid, but I think we should all take a page from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and cast a long hard look at our own mortality, i.e., death. The Buddhists believe that only in looking at our own death can we live a good life, but I can’t even write the word death with ease. So I turn to music, and as death songs go, the Blood Sweat and Tears song is great one: upbeat, positive, we’re all going to go so we may as well have a good backbeat in our heads while doing it kind of song.
The day before I woke up with the Leon Helm song, When I Go Away, another classic.
Rather than think all these death songs are a shout out from my subconscious to pack my bags cause the reaper’s a’ comin’, I think it’s a clarion call to being present and living each moment to the fullest because, if the physicists, Buddhists, and Jeff Buckley are to be believed, all we have is this moment.
So here are my thirteen tips for, what? Beating back death? Living your best life? Sustaining happiness? Getting rich? Being content? How about all of the above and in no particular order.
- Be kind.
- Dream big and often, and as a supplemental bonus to this, you’ll get plenty of sleep which apparently we all need more than we ever knew.
- Read something that inspires you every day.
- Write your morning pages. A la Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, I write some morning pages every day. Out with the old, in with the new as Julia says.
- Ask yourself at least one hard question every day — and answer it.
- Laugh — a lot and with abandon.
- Move your body. Dance, jump, hike, bike, do whatever you like, but move it, baby.
- Be grateful. Everything matters. Not just dogs or cats or black lives or blue lives or conserving farmland, or reducing plastic waste, but EVERYTHING matters. Be grateful for it all, even the crappy stuff, because that’s where the lessons are and also what makes you like tempered glass — practically shatterproof.
- Hugs. Hugs are a superior form of communication, like a big security blanket, providing warmth and comfort without the need to plug it in. Give and receive hugs every day, pets included. You can learn a lot about a person from hugging them. My friend Monical likes to hug on the left side. She calls it heart-to-heart hugs. I love this.
- Pay it forward. This will help you as much as the person being helped even if you never even meet that person or know a single thing about them. Trust me on this one.
- Live life wide open. That means being vulnerable. If this scares you, suck it up. The only way to live life is with honesty, integrity and vulnerability, otherwise you are just going through the motions.
- Be like water. Drink it, conserve it, and protect it. Go with the flow. When you capture it in plastic bottles that one day end up in the ocean it somehow ruins everything. You’re made up of 72% water. Best to keep it clean out there so you can keep it clean in here.
- Breathe. Just breathe.
And that’s it, my best tips for living your best life in the best possible mind, body, spirit combination/alignment/state of mind. You’re probably already doing half the stuff anyway so just amp it up a bit before time’s up.
JK. Time’s an illusion plus matter is neither created nor destroyed. Your physical body is like one of those cool ice sculptures at a fancy Asian restaurant. Odds are your death transition is just going to be another version of you — like water transitioning from ice to liquid — so don’t get your drawers all up in a bunch worrying about it and go live your best life.
As always, thanks for reading.
pam lazos 7.11.21