What if you had 15 minutes to live? We often hear this question in terms of weeks or months, and our answer is typically focused on the people we'd spend time with, the places we'd like to see, the things we'd like to do that we never took the time to do. This is because with a "time limit" on our life, life becomes suddenly more precious to us.
There is a Native expression, "it's a good day to die." This isn't a deathwish by any means, but rather a reflection that life is good and I've lived it well. Few people can honestly say this, and that to me is a tragedy. Our instinctual reaction to flinch at the expression, "it's a good day to die" is a reflection of our not wanting to think about death at all, or seeing it as a bad thing rather than a part of the process of being alive.
But life in this form does end, and if we can healthily acknowledge that, it liberates us to enjoy it so much more. Would we really be irritated at things if we had 15 minutes to live? Would we hold the grudges we do? Wouldn't we rather be drinking in every moment, every sensation, every breath, appreciating everything and everyone around us?
We spend a lot of time skirting the issue of death because we don't know absolutely what it feels like or what comes after it, and that frightens us. But in doing this, we fail to see what it offers us while we live. Death is a gift to us now, because if we can accept its inevitability without all the fear associated with it, it offers us a chance to live.
Today, I invite you to think about these things. I invite you to try to think about death not as the big evil but rather as the ultimate cheerleader at the end of your experience here, cheering for you on from the "finish line" to live your life to the fullest. A healthy awareness of death -- just an awareness, that's all -- makes us more alive, more full of life, more of who we are here to be. And that, I believe, is the greatest gift of all.