Messy Paint Brushes

an editorial by Joe Kiefer

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Lately I have been spending some time pondering death, not in a morbid way or anything like that. My attention has been on the inevitability of it. The acceptance of the fact that no matter what I do or how much I learn that death will some day come for me.

Remembering my death is actually quite liberating. Quite a few of the things that used to matter to me no longer seem so important. The flat tire does not set me off in a direction of blame of resentment. Not getting the last biscuit at dinner doesn’t send me into a rant about entitlement. Allowing the way someone else thinks about me determine how I feel about myself? Yuck! It doesn’t matter.

In centering myself and accepting my death I am free to live. That sounds counterintuitive to me, too. One of the biggest takeaways from exercise is that my current experience as a breathing, feeling, thinking man does not need to be one of pre-death but can be one of fully embracing living. Being alive does not have to be lived out as a prequel to my inevitable death.

As an artist, I can, when I remember, live in such away that my life is art. How I deal with each new situation is important. Remembering to experience what I am experiencing, to feel life and all that is as it is, has the feeling of creating but not so much as the creator doing the painting. It feels more like what a brush might feel, full of color being dragged across the canvas leaving behind its mark. The brush does not dictate to the creator. It works in harmony to allow what is to be.

Gratitude and paying attention to the things that matter like family, friends and quality of life are the things I want to focus my attention on. Nothing will go to my grave with me except for a few secrets. Everything else will be left behind. My experiences are for me to know now.

May my brush always be ready and full of color.

By spending time with my death I am learning how to live.


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