There’s nothing like the death of someone close to make us stop and pay attention to our own lives. I recently lost a friend to suicide. What can I say about that? I have so many different and conflicted feelings at the moment I barely know where to start, but the thought that keeps coming to me, at 2am, at breakfast, on my drive to work, as I drift off to sleep, is a determination to focus on creating a joyful life for myself. It feels like the most important thing I can do right now, for myself and for my friend.
This is not my usual state. I’m a procrastinator. I have allowed life to take me, like the currents on the sea, kidding myself I’m going with the flow. In reality I’m scared. Scared that if I take a chance, go outside my comfort zone, I’ll get burned. It’s bound to involve pain of some sort. It’s much easier to stay cocooned and safe.
The death of David Bowie this week got me thinking about the song Under Pressure co-written by Bowie and Queen. I love a song that speaks the truth.
Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on the fence but it don’t work
You can do this for a while, but the Universe will come along and kick you off that fence to remind you why you’re here.
When this happens the pressure can feel overwhelming. Is it possible to rise above the situation, get clear about what is really required of us, to focus?
Anything I can do to connect to my higher power, my creator, has to help. Any practice which allows my mind to get still, will allow this reconnection. It may be yoga, meditation, swimming, creating art, being in nature, walking, gardening or singing. Over the years I’ve tried different things, until I’ve found what works for me. I try to make time to regularly practice maintaining that connection to sustain me, to keep me on track and focused.
Of course I get distracted or derailed but I believe it is our birth right to live a joyful life.
At the end of last year I had the honour of listening to Denise Hagan talking about her life and singing beautiful songs. Denise was diagnosed with a life threatening illness in her twenties. This was her wake up call. Out of this situation came the album For Those Who Hear.
She said that she knew the only way to beat this illness that the world might call incurable was for her mind, her body and her soul to be in complete agreement. I had never thought about that before but that’s exactly the level of total focus required to change your life, to save your life.
I wondered what it was that made her so determined to live when so many others given the same news, prepare to die.
I think we should give Bowie the last word.
Why, why, why?
Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?
‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And it dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Watch Annie Lennox and Bowie sing Under Pressure for a tribute concert for Freddie Mercury in 1992.
Read more about Denise Hagan at http://www.denisehagan.com/