I hope that if I die young my friends and family get something out of my early passing. Was I doing something stupid? Was I ignoring something, pretending it wasn't there? Was I not living life as consciously as I claimed to, missing the signs of what took me out? I would want my loved ones to take my death in to learn something from it, so they might avoid the same pothole in the road of life.
I had two friends over two years die from illnesses related to their not taking care of their bodies. Both were very overweight. Food was their drug of choice. It's mine too. I have to stay on top of it. When I become less conscious or deliberately turn my back on it because "I don't wanna!" I end up paying a price.
People die every day from addictions of every sort, of course. But, if we don't take deaths like Philip Seymour Hoffman's as our own little wake up alarm -- no matter what our drug of choice -- then we are missing out on truly seizing life. We have to stay awake!
I was dozing off on my own addiction. Training for a marathon these last two months, I've been excusing my eating. I'm hungry, I eat. But I've been far hungrier than ever with my training and plain old overeating in response. I used to have a hot and juicy relationship with hunger. The marathon training shifted that. I felt like I "needed" more. Not true. Overeating is overeating, and, for me, it's always about me stuffing feelings -- even as simple and direct as my fear of not being able to complete the marathon.
My fears scream out for ice cream. Hoffman's reportedly craved heroin. Honoring our addictions is honoring our humanity: the good, bad and the ugly. When we lose someone to addiction and feel deeply, that means our heart is wide open. It's prime time to walk inside and look around at what housekeeping we can do. The bigger the heartbreak, the bigger the potential for healing.
We pray that our beloveds rest in peace after they pass, and yet we have no blessing for those who continue without them to also rest in peace within themselves. One thing the last few years have taught me is that the more I take death in when it comes, the more at peace I am, with the death and with me.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.