The Peak of Life


This past week there was a death in my family. My Grandfather, at the age of 98, passed in his sleep. I’m grateful for so many reasons: 98 was a beautiful, long life. 98 made it easier to understand that death was near. And 98 years gave us ample time together - which made his passing hard. No matter the age, it’s hard to loose someone you love.

While Gramps passing was much easier than my own Father’s, it did kick up memories of sadness from that time…and fear. Deep seated fear for my own inevitable passing.

The great sages refer to every aspect of life as practice; practice for the peak of life. Cue the reason I get on my yoga mat.

My mat is a mirror to my life. It’s a reflection of how I react to everything, including challenges. Through practice, I’ve learned my first reaction to stress is fear and through practice, I’ve given myself tools to deal with this fear - all in preparation for the greatest moment of life, the pinnacle of it, the greatest ecstacy:

“One who has become capable of witnessing life has become capable of witnessing death because death is not the end of life; it is the very culmination of it. It is the very pinnacle of it. Life comes to its peak in death. Because you are afraid, you miss. Otherwise, death is the greatest ecstasy, the greatest orgasm there is.” Osho

Happy Life, Happy Death

I grew a new freckle last year. 

I decided to watch it for awhile and a few weeks ago, I thought I should show my naturopath. After taking a good look she said, “you should get that checked out. There’s a few colours in it and the borders are slightly irregular.”


I arranged to see my doctor the next day and within a week, I had an appointment set up with a specialist 2 weeks later.

Within those 2 weeks, I went on the Internet. I Googled “new freckle” and found a matching image to mine; the size, shape and colour were all the same. This freckle on the Internet was melanoma and I was convinced mine was too.

I was crushed. I wanted to have a family and a long life. I wanted to spend years more evolving my teaching and energy healing.

Who knew 2 weeks could go by so slowly?! I was a day ahead and the damn calendar was a day behind. It just couldn’t keep up with me so instead, I had to slow down. I had to feel each crushing moment and continually catch glimpses of my new enemy.

Depression kicked in. I had low energy and didn’t quite know how to go on with my new freckle’s presence. I felt so alone. My husband was supportive saying no matter what, we’d get through this together. But he didn’t have melanoma! He wasn’t going to die! This was my journey.

What were my options? Did I want to go through with chemo (what I assumed would be my treatment), or live my life out doing everything I’ve always wanted? I wasn’t sure. Typical of me, I wanted to do both.

2 weeks crawled by and the time came for me to see the specialist. As if my wait wasn’t long enough, he was running behind and I had to wait another 40 minutes. When my name was finally called, I went in and introduced him to my new freckle. He took his magnifying glass; “let me take a look at this.”

He took a deep breath.

I think I stopped breathing.

“This looks like absolutely nothing,” he said.

I almost kissed him!I was emotional and felt my throat swell. I walked out of his office in a bit of a daze, but with a new perspective: I was going to live. And I did.

…Until the next morning.

My eyes slowly began to open. I saw the light-too bright, and I felt the softness beneath me. I woke up intensely sensitive to everything around me, seeing it, smelling it and hearing it. I pondered the whole event and realized that I’m still dying… and so is everyone else.

The path to death is an equal playing field, cancer or not. Death’s mysterious surprise can come at anytime - and it’s guaranteed to show up. I suddenly felt so alive.

“What the hell am I doing when I’m not making the best of a situation?!” I thought to myself.

I hopped out of bed and took a deep breath that took in my surroundings- and my life. Like any other week, this one brought challenges. As they came up and even sometimes stopped me in my tracks, I compared each challenge to death. The ‘challenge’ quickly switched to a blessing.

I went to my yoga mat and challenged myself. I compared the burning in my thighs, the tightening of my abs and the shake in my upper arms to not being here at all. My challenges became a celebration.

It didn't matter if I wasn’t in the final pose, I was just so happy to be able to try. As Leonardo da Vinci said:

A life well spent brings happy death,

so too, does a yoga practice well played bring about a happy savasana (final pose).

It’s a perfect mirror to my experience of life. If I practice making the best of a challenge on the mat, when I step off the mat, I’m more able to make the best of other challenges. That’s why it’s called a yoga practice.

So now I like to think about death sometimes because it makes me feel really alive.

Why else have we been given the gift of life, other than to live it?