Friday, September 7, 2012

A Matter of Life and Death

i think most of us have heard many times in our lives to get our priorities straight.  when we’re young it probably has to do with grades in school and partying or figuring out what we want to do with our lives.  when we get older it probably has more to do with money and jobs and family and friends (and figuring out what we want to do with our lives!).  

the month of august shifted a few priorities for me, and as important as it is to be persistent and persevere through hard times, it’s good to recognize when some things just have to be let go of.  

some people have yet to experience the death of someone close to them.  i’ve dealt with it a lot, and as hard as it is there is nothing quite like it to inspire “getting your priorities straight.”  there is a pureness of emotion, a recognition of fragility that is both terrifying and liberating.  when someone is suddenly gone that was just there a minute ago, the things that aren’t really important just fall away and there’s a strange peace that comes with it.

this last month i watched one of my best friends die.  i wasn’t there the moment it happened but i was in the hospital almost every day, and being on tour, was often rushing straight from there to a gig, or to the studio.  mary was the coolest lady.  she was the kind of old person that would complain (grumpily) about how grumpy other old people can be.  she had a memory to challenge an elephant’s and was an amazing story teller even though she was never trying to be.  she was just recalling her life and one memory would lead to three others and i loved to listen.  she loved the doors and thought leonard cohen was the sexiest man ever (it was definitely the voice :), aside from her husband, to whom she was happily married and remained crazy about for 64 years.  they had the kind of marriage everyone dreams about having.  they had a lifetime of working together and appreciating the hell out of each other, and never lost their sense of humor, right up ‘til the end.  ("what was your name again....?" rod would often ask before kissing her hand.)

it’s been said a million times and a million ways, but when it comes down to it you just never know.  i had a realization on this trip, which shouldn’t really have been a realization at all, that every single person that has ever lived on this earth has also died.  every single one.  

“getting priorities straight” for me is asking the simple yet difficult questions, every day, that if today was the day, if this was the moment, could i die happy?  am i doing the things everyday that are true to myself and my soul and my purpose?  what things would i regret not having done?  who do i need to reach out to and tell them i love them?  

we are so afraid of death, and many of us spend our whole lives trying to avoid it.  it’s so interesting to me though, because actual death is a moment.  just a moment.  one moment you’re alive, and the next one you're not.  and regardless of your beliefs, either you’re finally out of this human mind and body and are on to the next leg of the journey, or the lights are out forever and you’re done.  either way, how can either of those things (or any other outcomes i can think of) be nearly as scary as we make them out to be?  

i am beyond certain that most of us live our whole lives without really knowing what incredible miracles we are capable of, without understanding that living in an infinitely expanding universe means that we are infinitely expanding people.  love and creativity are energies powerful beyond belief, and i believe so much that we need to trust them unconditionally.  we can't only trust when we see exactly how things are going to work out.  i believe they are the key to unlocking our full potential and genuine happiness, yet we are so eager to let everything stand in the way of them.  do we think that if it's not our fault we didn't fulfill our potential and lead joyful and creative lives, if we can blame someone else in the end (the world??), then it will make it all easier?  that it will make death easier?  

i don't need to have all my dreams come true in order to die happy.  i do need to know that i was walking in the right direction.  

what if today was the day?  what if this was the moment? 

mary mason :)