Do you think that life is a “gift”?
Do you feel grateful to be alive?
A few years ago I was helping a client work on her fear of flying, using guided imagery techniques. She was an upper middle class woman with a happy and healthy family, and she felt afraid of dying because she loved her life so much. At the time I was about to begin my seventh year of my decade of hardships, and I could not relate to her fear of dying because I no longer felt attached to my life. After a session with her, I reflected back to happier, easier times, and I remembered a time when a younger me was the one sitting in a therapist’s office working on my own fear of flying…
Many people say we “should” feel grateful to be alive. They say that life is a “gift” to be treasured. Recently I sat with a dying woman who was over one hundred years old. She told me that she was trying to keep alive… and she died the very next night. When she told me that she was trying to keep living, I thought, “Wow, here she is on her deathbed (literally) and she is still hanging on to life.” Once again, I could not relate to how attached she felt to her life.
As I explained in a previous post (“It Is Your Duty To Live”), I would never commit suicide, and I am not depressed. (I get situationally depressed at times, such as during a Fibromyalgia flare-up, but I am not depressed in general.) I love my friends and family dearly, and I enjoy many things in my life. My gratitude lists are quite long. I am basically a happy person, but ten years of hardships have taken away my attachment to life, and have made me question why we are here on this planet.
On Mother’s Day I shared a post (“Something All Eight Billion Humans Have in Common”) about how we were all born from a mother, and one person commented, “Without our consent.”
I usually reply to comments, but that one just stopped me cold. I still can’t think of what to say in response. I am guessing that perhaps that person is not currently thinking that life is a gift to be grateful for. As a parent, it makes me ask questions like, “If my children do not appreciate their lives, am I somehow responsible because I am the one who chose to give them their lives?”
Many spiritual teachers in India talk about how special and precious it is to be born as a human being. I’m thinking maybe that was true four thousand years ago when there were a lot less humans on the planet. Now that there are eight billion of us, how special is it, really?
Perhaps my inquiries are entirely colored by this past decade of hardships. Maybe this next decade will be easier and my views will change again.
I would love to hear your views on all this. Do you feel grateful to be alive? Do you think of life as a gift?
Do you celebrate each sunrise?
Do you feel grateful for each new day?
Sunrise photo by Anish Nair on Unsplash