.Life Itself: You are going to die.

“There is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and never return” – Marcus Aurelius

Maybe you have had many ups and downs in your life lately. For me, last week was rather overwhelming and packed with events, changes, and adjustments. I am strong. I can deal with it all. Until I just cannot. I was near tears the other day when I entered the Yoga studio for my morning class. It was absurd to cry, I knew that, and yet I felt it in my throat and eyes: the beginning of tears forming and a whimper, which I tried to let out undetectably and quietly but it then began to pace. I do not want to narrate too much about the cause of my state but in addition to my struggles, another 25 little things had gone wrong that day and it was not even 10 am. I just felt like crying and screaming.

My favourite Yoga instructor gave me a hug and said in her rather harsh voice, “Daniela, all this does not matter because don’t forget, you are going to die. We all will eventually. Now wipe away those tears!” I froze, sniffled and considered her point. I saw the days of my life and struggles stretched out in a long, looping sort of domino trail; some happy, some sad, but all lined up nicely in pursuit of a finite conclusion in the end: death. And guess what? My shoulders released. I exhaled. Who cares if X, Y, and Z happened and if A, B, and C will ever happen.

One thing I know about my life. I tend to get caught up in things that do not matter. I may get caught up in some angry thought, voice or in minutiae or in stress or in tons of things that ultimately are not that important. This reminder of my teacher made me take a deep breath and I realized that everything is and will be fine. I don’t have to engage in certain thoughts because I don’t have time for this. I just move on.

Yeah, but the problems are still there, you may say. Yep, you are right and it is not that being angry does not matter, or that bad luck is not important. It is just that death puts all those things that we think matter in perspective when they are pumping cortisol through my veins (which ironically can kill us) like there is no tomorrow.

When I got this reminder today that I am here for just a limited time it was startling and sobering. It also loosened the knot in my chest, dwarfed it with eternity, and made this moment at the Yoga studio just very even sweet. My Yoga instructor encouraged me to just soak it all in, to pause and consider whether what I am doing is in pursuit of something that matters to me. I guess it is somewhat a litmus test for internal alignment rather than Downward Facing Dog.

Life itself is our most unreliable narrator. No one knows where the story is going nor who the heroes in it are going to be; if there are too many or maybe just a few. This is life. And this is what it does. Sometimes, life brings you to your knees. It sometimes brings you lower than you can think you know. But if you stand back up and move forward, if you go just a little further, you will always find love. Life is full of surprises. Every single day and whatever worries us today, will too pass. Nothing really matters anyway.

Fun fact: If you don’t have a spiritual Yoga teacher as I do, there is actually an app you can download that reminds you that you are going to die, ha! It is called WeCroak. Get it here.

Stay happy. Stay healthy. And smile.

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