Lying in bed late one night watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday is where I met Michael Singer. The guest on Oprah’s latest show, I sat mesmerised as she interviewed this quiet and humble man. I have a love hate relationship with Oprah’s show; I love it because I am learning about so many incredible and uplifting stories and their story tellers, I hate it because I usually end each episode buying all the books they have written!
Michael’s book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself is now on my bookshelf after that particular Oprah show. Oprah read out a passage while interviewing Michael that stole my heart and became locked in my thoughts.
No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same.
As Oprah paused, so did I. It was a light bulb moment, a switch being turned on. Here sat a man I knew nothing of, at all, yet his words spoke so loudly they were almost screaming at me to change my perception on life.
Let’s say the Angel of Death comes to you and says “Come it is time to go.” You say, “But no. You’re supposed to give me a warning so I can decide what I want to do with my last week. I’m supposed to get one more week.” Do you know what Death will say to you? He’ll say “My God! I gave you fifty-two weeks this past year alone. And look at all the other weeks I’ve given you. Why would you need one more? What did you do with all those?”
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Chapter 17.
What did you do with all those weeks? Lately I have been twirling around a thought in my head and it often starts to stir late in the afternoon and stays with me till I fall asleep. The idea of our reality is something I have always questioned. What is real? What defines anything as being real? Most nights, I fall asleep thinking that reality is nothing but fleeting. Hardly here long enough for us to touch it, let alone hold on to it. What is real and long lasting is our memories. And it is here that the lesson of death becomes intertwined.
What do I remember? How do I want people to remember me? What will my boys remember about their childhood? What will they remember about their mother? Nathalie Brown wrote one of the most moving posts about parenting and memories, a post that not only resonates with me but it rings so true to what Michael writes about death.
Yes, I want to show my boys everything that is real about me, the crazy, the organised, the overly happy and the sometimes very sad. But I also want this outlook on life to be my guide. On the days when it does feel like it is too much, or too hard, or I am just too tired – I will take that extra moment to read another story, give another hug, to say I love you again. For it is these moments that when I face that Angel of Death I know I would wish I had another week for.
I am letting go of everything that is not important. I will not wait until that last moment to let death be my teacher.
This was the last Conversations over Coffee link for 2013.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of such inspiring conversations,
can’t wait for next year’s conversations!