Make Life Not Death

(Written at the beginning of Covid)

I woke up this morning ruminating on the song “how wonderful life is. How…Screetch…! (add sound effect)! Well, no I didn’t. I actually woke up with water in my eyes thinking “WTF has happened to this world and what does it have to do with me? Is the world as we know it really coming to an end?” I never remember my dreams but I often wake up in moods that tell me I was processing something important. At least something that felt important in the middle of the night during my half awake state. This morning the big IT seemed to be about loss. Covid-19 has opened my heart to fear and loss. This morning my mind was a fog as my eyes welled up with tears for no apparent reason. As far back as I can remember I have always been prone to tears. Over the years I have considered it a malady of some kind and certainly a nuisance. Today it just seemed like sadness. I just let it happen. If nothing else, crying is a release and for me a reality check.

Many times such occurrences have ended up giving me insight but this morning nothing seemed to come to mind. I remembered how taking a hot bath used to settle my mind and body. I haven’t taken the opportunity for baths for several years, but moving to a new residence gives me easy access to a bath tub and I took advantage of it this morning. As I lay there I could feel my body and mind relax. The words “make life not death” came forward.”

Seems like a cliché – But it reminded me of a deep seated value – the life I live is my own. I create my life in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. Life is always uncertain. I have no control over that. I live my life and the result is either more life experience or less. I literally have a choice to make life by being open to life experience or to make death by withdrawing into my self and shutting down life experience.

“Make life not death” seems in some ways self absorbing and arrogant when I consider how much Life my life has lived. I have always thought that “touching life” or “aligning with life” is the more proper target. Compared to many other people I have not experienced much death. Socially I am privileged. I have always had what I needed – food, love, and houses to live in. I am not poor. I have not experienced great tragedies in my life. So “making Life” has been relatively easy compared to what so many other people in the world have had to deal with. Because of that I have a sense of responsibility to “make life” and I consistently fail to live up to that responsibility. Perhaps “make life not death” is the same as “Make Love not War”. It seems to have the same sentiment. I never love enough. There is too much to love. The loving never ends.

I’ve always believed that love is what creates Life.

I think I know why I cry now. Making Life is the only productive activity. The only one! And it is fairly common and many times overlooked. It is precious. It is Love. I cry when I fail to Love and it puts me in touch with the tragic loss of new life. A missed opportunity. It is an existential loss which over comes the moment for me. It is a deep well, full of confused thoughts and ungrounded searching. Over time the loss may be (will likely be) replaced by existential love (acceptance) which also moves me to tears. Neither of these experiences seem to be in my control as they are totally dependent on the environment and the other people involved. They often happen suddenly and unexpectedly like the onslaught of covid-19 or the birth of and then unexpected isolation from a new grandchild.

Seems so ironic that having waited so long for a grandchild whose arrival was never a certainty that covid-19 now makes being with her impossible. I love being with Cleo, The energy she generates is precious. She creates life every where she goes – constantly learning and emoting, Making Life not Death. She may be a good teacher (model) for me. Sometimes I “well up” when I think about her and the possibility of not seeing her for a while makes sad me and angry.

How did such a world as this evolve that makes relationships so important in the process of making life? In fact maybe it is relationship that creates life itself and the absence of relationship that makes death. My relationships are what make my life. My relationship with everyone and every thing, even the people I do not know.

Making Life seems to be the same as “Being in Relationship.

Make Life not Death is my new mantra. It helps me focus on looking for that spark of love in any event or occurrence; for the green tips of skinny branches preparing to leaf; for the moment of potential before the turning toward life or death.