- Don’t wait.
- Welcome everything. Push nothing away.
- Bring your whole self to the experience.
- Find a place to rest in the middle of things.
- Cultivate “don’t know” mind [sometimes called “beginners’ mind”]
Five invitations to live fully.
Five invitations to make friends with everything.
Five invitations to get up close and personal with your own demise.
When I mentioned to friends that I planned to read The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully while touring La Gaspésie, I later learned they were worried about me. They watched me whirl around all summer, at times looking strained, and they worried why I would choose the topic of death over a mindless summer novel.
I admit that I did overwhelm myself all summer. Looking back, I spent a good portion of the summer acting like a “victim”. Ironically, I was being the victim of too many good things. Too many business prospects coming out of the woodwork. Too many fun summer things on our bucket list. And that endless string of hot summer days. And all those beautiful flowers to grow and sell for Les fleurs de Lali. Poor me, right?
In truth, I regularly make myself a victim of my own ambition through my attachment to being productive all the time. I was fearing what would happen if I slowed down or stopped for a while. I desperately needed a break, a pause, a rest but I wouldn’t give it to myself. I do feel sad about that.
What am I trying to outrun or outsmart anyway? Death? We all know how that will go!
So that brings me full circle. The book reminded me of many beliefs I support and of the five invitations that I welcome. When I am conscious, I clumsily practice living in the moment. I remind myself often to welcome everything, even if ‘a crowd of sorrows robbing me of my furniture’, as Rumi speaks about in his poem The Guesthouse. I sometimes show up bravely and with vulnerability. And when I am my most conscious self, I bring curiosity and wonder. Resting in the middle of things…ahem…we’ve already talked about resting ☹.
I assured my caring friends and can assure you, that my curiosity, fascination even, with death and dying comes from my desire to live my life fully.
I want to live a long, loving and abundant life. However my life unfolds, I believe my path is in the practice of these invitations. And I’d add a sixth: Play and laugh in almost every situation.
Will you accept these invitations? Please RSVP… at least to yourself.