As I find my way down this path of public speaking, my opinions, my topics and my style continues to evolve. The truth is, I am happy with the work I am doing but I feel that it has not yet reached the potential of where it needs to be...in all aspects.
Specifically regarding the content, though, I feel a deep rumbling inside me (and it's not my lunch) of ideas that are forming, attitudes that are sprouting, a message that is waiting to be heard. I feel in my guts that I am on the beginning of this journey and there is so much more to say that I don't even know how to put into words yet.
I was meditating the other day (yes, I am doing my homework and "finding the way back to me") and I think I heard a few whispers of that which is bubbling inside.
I have many interests, many things I believe in. All of those things are important. I can not deny, however, that the thing I find most compelling to ponder and to talk about is dying. Because of my experiences, it saddens me that we live in a culture where death is so hated and feared. It saddens me that we live lives of complete denial and only wrestle with the hate and fear when there is nowhere else to run.
If you had a child who was born with a condition that you knew would take their life, would you talk with them about it as soon as they were old enough to understand? Would you do your best to help them live a happy and fulfilled life in the time they had here on earth? Would you teach them about That Which is Important and place value on different things than the rest of our society? Would you do what you could to help them come to terms with and even accept their own mortality?
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, I have news for you.
We all have this condition. It's called the human condition. All of us will cease to exist some day, all of us live lives of uncertainty. All of us have the opportunity to use death's approach as motivation to shift our focus onto That Which is Important, to live fulfilled lives in the time we have here on earth and to come to terms, maybe even accept, maybe even embrace, our own mortality.
But what do we do instead? We buy into the hype. We believe our parents or our friends or our culture when it tells us that death is the worst case scenario. We deny death's presence until it overwhelms us with the pain and confusion of a great loss or our own impending end. We do not take time to make peace with death until we are in a death crisis. A death crisis is not a time to understand what death has to offer and this approach will only reinforce our culture's attitude of death as enemy. We wait to long to process the pain and grace of dying and so we never have a chance to take a more balanced view.
I find this sad. I find it silly. For those with the human condition to pretend that death is not real, to not teach our children about death's touch, to only see its presence as horrific, all of this I see as a counter-productive approach to life. There is an elephant in the room of each of our lives. Shouldn't we see what happens if we stop ignoring it?
So this is what I am beginning to understand. There are people who will read this blog post and find me to be morose, macabre, dark, sick, dramatic, rude, uncouth...I'm sure the list goes on. Those are not the people that are my audience.
What I know now is that, part of my work here, is to talk to The Children of Dying. The Children of Dying are people who, either by circumstance or curiosity, are ready and eager to learn the lessons death has to teach us, to speak of the elephant in the room and to make peace with the grief and the grace of death.
This might not be much to go on, but for now, this is all the rumblings will tell me.