“Each of us is merely a small instrument; all of us, after accomplishing our mission, will disappear.”
–Mother Teresa, humanitarian
This has been an extremely trying week.
On Wednesday, April 20, Joan Marie Laurer—also known the legendary female wrestler Chyna—has been found dead in her home. When a friend of mine announces her death on Facebook, I don’t even believe him initially. In fact, we argue online until TMZ.com release a report confirming her death.
If that hasn’t been tragic enough, the iconic musician Prince has passed away in his studio in Minnesota the very next day. According to the media, he has canceled two concerts due to being ill and is hospitalized for a medication over dose. Those who spoke with him prior to his death state that he seems fine, so the news shocks his neighbors and depressed the entire world.
Unlike many of the celebrities who have left us earlier this year, Chyna and Prince are considered relatively young by today’s standards (the former was 45 while the latter was 57). Both seemed somewhat healthy despite taking medication and have been active up to their last days. On the flipside, both have been struggling with substance abuse issues that may have contributed to their deaths.
Regardless of how they occurred, these recent deaths now have me ruminating on mortality and my own life in general. Due to my beliefs in past lives and reincarnation, I do not believe that we simply disappear after we leave the Earth plane. I believe that our spirits move on to either become our spirit guides or to live another life to learn additional lessons. But our physical bodies and people’s memories of us will remain here on Earth as well as our contributions to the world—whatever that may be.
I will be lying if I told you that I don’t wonder whether my last days are approaching sooner than I hope. Like any person, I could never view myself as a person who would die, putting myself in situations that make absolutely no fucking sense because I somehow knew that I have been destined to make it out in piece. I would even go so far as to believe that if I were to die, I would do so by my own hands (these thoughts would come at the height of my depression, which I haven’t felt these days).
But I will thirty-five this year and, though I don’t fear death for the most part, I also understand that I (or someone I know) can die at any moment. With this in mind, I ask myself this question: if I am to leave this world today, what type of life do I wish to leave behind? Or what type of woman do I wish to become while I’m living and breathing? What will be my legacy in the here and now and what can I do to make the best of the life I have now?
I’m not referring to being remembered in terms of fame and fortune (though that would be awesome). But what can I do to make a life so epic in my own eyes that on my deathbed I can look back, smile, and think “Now that was dope ass shit right there.”
To tell you the truth, Reader, I’m halfway there: I have published my own political sci-fi novel, The One Taken from the Sea of Stars, host a radio show called The Bonfire Talks every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on WAYO 104.3 FM, write two blogs, and I’m now starting to see the fruits of my labor as far as getting my name out there. These are causes I could not even see myself making due to my lack of confidence. However, I know I’m not done yet and have so much to do as far as my personal and spiritual work. This is one of the reasons why I’m seeing a therapist and stepping up my Nichiren Buddhist practice.
Since I’ve begun doing The Work, I am able to look at why I am the way I am thus far. Why I have been struggling with mental illness for as long as I have. There have been various reasons, but for as long as I can remember, I have either shied away from my true power or have hidden it away so that others could bask in the glow of theirs. I’ve wasted time and energy trying to save others, doing for others while running on empty mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ve given people my body and allowed them to chip away parts of my spirit.
And there have been times that I have harmed someone in order to get the validation that I am enough. In other words, I have depleted uber amounts of time—most of the time unnecessarily.
So when I read about the deaths of both Chyna and Prince, I not only think about their contributions to this world, but the energy and time they’ve spent being themselves. Which is something I’ve always wanted to do just so I can experience life beyond trauma and mental illness. Therefore, I’m making a personal pact with myself: from this day forward, I will work to step into the glow of my own power and do everything I can to create and live the quality of life I envision for myself. I will no longer hide my talents but mold and shape them for the sake of being better.
Regardless of my spiritual beliefs, I will make certain that this life is not a wasted one. I know in my spirit that I am not meant to live a life full of regrets or mourning over my past or erroneous decisions. I am meant to be happy and to experience the life I imagine myself having.