September 29, 2011
A friend recently recommended a book that she thought I would enjoy. It is written by a woman who had experienced a cancer “scare”, and from this, she learned to celebrate life more fully. While I appreciate the recommendation, after reading the book and author’s description; I realized quickly that I have a difficult time relating to her personal experience with this disease in any relation to my own. Surviving cancer does not identify who I am individually. We are all trying to survive cancer.
Firstly, I hope that we all do not need to be faced with this to learn to celebrate life more fully. This lesson can be learned in the tiniest of ways; by a loving embrace, by comforting words, the beauty of nature, a soothing song, a nutritious meal, clean water, etc. But, unfortunately many come only to realize the true value of life through a trauma, or a personal loss.
Secondly, cancer has never scared me. I have never had a cancer “scare”. My body nurtured these cells, which were threatening my health, my life…but death also does not scare me. Faith. Faith. Faith. I am reminded of this as the autumn season reveals itself. Change is in the air, harvesting is in the air, and the earth is teaching us that our blissful bounty transforms on a regular schedule.
Many people rejoice in the fall season, but I have always preferred springtime. I realize that this is because I know that fall means that winter is approaching, which brings cold, ice, clouds, and layers of clothing and while I can appreciate a cozy, flirty boot; I’d prefer barefoot any day. I am however, seeing the beauty in our earth’s process of nurturing. The leaves don’t fall off the trees and dry to a dull brown just to remind me that colder temperatures are approaching. There is not a sense of “death” in this tree, or its leaves, but rather more “life”.
The tree has such innate wisdom, an instinct to draw its energies inward, and the leaves drop not to cease nourishment, but to continue nourishing deeper. The leaves will organically decompose, spreading all of these rich nutrients into our soil, fertilizing more plants and trees to produce fuller in the coming year. This is a cycle of life. This is our cycle of life. As challenging as it is to adopt this viewpoint about death…it is relevant. There is nothing to fear, unless you fear life, and true faith neutralizes it all. When this fear is relinquished, life becomes more vibrant and fuller.
Perhaps this is what the author of this recommended book had experienced. As well-stated in the Yoga Sutras 2:9; “Clinging to life (which) is self-sustaining, arises even in the wise”. Perhaps at the base of these fears is a false identification with the physical body. It is not only yours, but your body belongs also to your ancestors, it is a part of the same cosmic dust that makes us all. Recognize how our bodies and our trees are the same. Rejoice in the forever-going sense of life, and allow this faith to guide you through each day with celebration, instead of having the need for a hard-awakening into this realization. This life is short. Life is precious. Live hard, and love harder. Cultivate faith.