Art by Lou Benesch
I’ve somewhat affectionately called my new home in Bali the “house of death”.
Within the first two weeks of moving in, a cave swiftlet bird flew into the bedroom in the gloaming, perched on the bamboo-thatched wall, and was still hanging there the next morning (though its soul had departed).
The following week, I found one of the large elder koi fish floating dead one morning in the small pond that forms a moat around the kitchen.
There have since been dragonflies peacefully nodding off in the afternoon sunlight and any number of iridescent, dismembered moth wings found on the stairs each day.
Apparently, this is just life in the jungle. It’s life everywhere, of course, but we’ve built such convincing death-denying fortresses all around us…
It has taken three car/bike accidents over the past five years to more fully grasp the vulnerability of my own perishable nature and the crumbling of my walls.
To our inner protector selves, the risk of revealing the softness of our underbellies in the face of our mortality is (seemingly) life-threatening.
But the risk of not opening our hearts is waking up just as the sun is setting and realising we sat on the sidelines, never really allowing ourselves to fully participate in this one precious life.
In the words of the poet Pádraig Ó Tuama:
“…you must accept change
before you die
but you will die anyway.
So you might as well live
and you might as well love.
You might as well love.
You might as well love.”