The UK’s integrative cancer care charityHelpline 0870 163 2990

All Blog Entries

Day at a time, The art of being truly alive, 17/5/2020

18 May 2020

A Day at a Time – A Daily Blog of Life in Lockdown

Normality – a day of normality on Saturday. I drove my son to visit his girlfriend forty minutes’ drive away. It was the first time I’d driven in 8 weeks and I had to think about where the controls were. Later that day, my sister and husband cycled over and we had social distancing tea in the garden. We were all very good and didn’t hug, because he is ‘vulnerable’ and I am ‘vulnerable’. I put this in inverted commas because essentially, we both feel fit and healthy but have illnesses that put us at risk of severe illness from Covid-19. At the end of the day, my husband went to pick up our son and I chose to meditate at the top of the garden. The road noise is back.

This morning, Sunday, I slept until 9 o’clock. Well, I first woke up at 7 am and thought I’d just lie there and do a gratitude practice, then I woke again at 8 am and thought I’d continue the gratitude practice…. next moment of wakefulness it was 9 o’clock. Whilst lovely to enjoy a lie in and tea in bed, I have really enjoyed the last 8 weeks of feeling fully alive and awake at 6.30-7.00 am that the threat of dying from Covid-19 brought me. Being in touch with my own mortality brings me alive like nothing else, and as I’ve said before on this blog, the diagnosis of cancer brought me this same feeling of being alive. Quite paradoxical really. The only deadline that seems to work for me is the ultimate one of death.

Any idiot can face a crisis –

It’s this day to day living that wears you out

Anton Chekhov 1860-1904

It is time for me to resume my contemplation of death and dying to keep this sense of my own mortality alive. Why? Because when I was living in touch with my own mortality, I was living each moment completely knowing and acting out of what is most important in my life. There felt an urgency to how I cared for myself and others and in my relationship with all things. It was crystal clear. I experienced the space to choose the appropriate response in each moment. Life flowed easily and beautifully. I was happy and felt fully alive.

Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.

Joseph Campbell

If this is something that interests you, I recommend a book by Larry Rosenberg called, Living in the Light of Death On the Art of Being Truly Alive. I took this book on holiday with me about 7 years ago and was reading it on the aeroplane sitting next to my sister, who has a real fear of flying. There was a lot of turbulence as we were flying into the mountains and towards our destination and the pilot had to abort landing twice and finally, chose to fly to another airport. My sister was almost screaming with panic and I handed her the book and all her fear melted away as she burst into hysterics with laughter!