Words of WonderWHY NOT? – Julia Fehrenbacher

If death is inevitable, if it is a sure
thing that this face, these hands,
this body that holds a lifetime of this living,
will, someday, no longer be here,
if you don’t get to take a single thing with you —

then —

why spend a moment more refusing,
worrying about who might disapprove,
measuring every move
as if there is some fixed formula you must
find? Why hold tight to anything?

Why not, instead, love every honeyed drop of yourself,
why not leap into life—belly-laughing
and light, light like the soft kiss of moonlight,
light like the light that you are,
have always been, will always be—

why not take this quickly passing day
by the hand and dance
like there’s no tomorrow? And if you’re too tired
to dance, why not rest lightly here
just as you are?

by Julia Fehrenbacher


I remember as a teenager the Christmas speech of the Dutch queen including the following sentence: “It is the approach of death that makes life even more precious”. It was the first time that this idea landed with me and it hasn’t left me since, although there have been times it’s been more, or less, in the foreground.

Recent events of loved ones being closer to that passage into the great unknown, have brought it very close to home again, and so the poem by the wonderful mindful poet Julia Fehrenbacher struck a clear chord. And the poignancy of the first lines touches my heart directly – it’s real, and it includes absolutely everyone I know and love… It also made me smile to see the link with the poem Fay shared a while ago: The Dakini Speaks. Same theme, different tone of voice, similar invitation: to dance!

Or to rest. And I don’t find it easy to value rest as much as ‘dancing’, or doing in some way… and I think I may not be alone here. Recently I’ve received no less than three recommendations for the book Rest as Resistance by Tricia Hersey, you’d almost think the universe is trying to tell me something! I guess it’s the same principle that leads many people to struggle prioritising practice: it seems like doing nothing, and therefore can’t be much valuable or important. But what if dancing and resting was like the in- and outbreath, and a full, well-lived life included a good balance of both… indeed, why not?!


PS if you’d like to explore how to live well so that in time we can die well, there’s a course on that very topic, you can read more about it here

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash