I read, recently, of the death, at a tragically young age, of Spectator columnist, Clarissa Tan: Remembering Clarissa Tan, 1972-2014 and was, in particular, moved by one of her column’s: This coming year, I want to live, December 2012.
Just a few extracts give a flavour of her beautifully written prose:
I am not dying, yet I think much more about mortality. According to certain Eastern traditions, at the moment of death there occurs an unravelling — one revisits one’s life in reverse, unspooling from the Now into the Before, like a movie with the production credits rolling first. It is said that certain Tibetan masters even un-whirl as a ‘rainbow body’ — their decaying physical form spiralling off in a spectrum of colours, a kind of transcendental disco ball.
I think that, given another 1,000 years or so, I might perhaps manage to expire in the mild glow of a pale orange.
Her reflective and insightful thinking and gentle humour:
Quite simply, my past years have not been what I thought they were.
Cancer doesn’t make your life slow down. Instead, it puts you on the fast track — you have to decide, very quickly, what matters and what doesn’t.
Pain is surveying your body and the bruises and scars that now appear on it. Most stingingly, pain is laughing with dear friends, only to feel the pang of realising that nothing lasts forever.
There’s the pain that’s attached to an immediate situation, and there’s the pain of realising that nothing is happening as I planned.
In my frenzy to get everything out of life, I’ve often squeezed the life out of everything.
And the shocking, heart-felt poignancy of loss:
… now the light-filled moments of my life appear to me with a shocking clarity. These times hardly ever involve effort, and always involve people.
This coming year, I resolve to do more of the things that make me feel awakened rather than dead. I’ll lean into uncertainty a bit more, and see what treasures lie there. I’ll try to say what I mean and mean what I say. I aspire to open my heart as much as possible to friends, and to vulnerability, and to love. I want to fashion my own rainbow, my own groovy disco ball.
This coming year, I want to live.
Beautiful. I want my disco ball too: I’m rockin’ it in grey, black and purple.
This year, I want to live.
Please click thru and read the entire piece and more by Clarissa Tan. Her words will resonate with all but especially those of us for whom life is, perhaps, more precious through our own particular awareness of its’ limitations, compromises and risks.