The Five Remembrances:
The Five Invitations:
1. Don’t wait.
2. Welcome everything, push away nothing.
3. Bring your whole self to the experience.
4. Find a place of rest in the middle of things.
5. Cultivate ‘don’t know’ mind.
Frank Ostaseski, The Five Invitations; Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully
The teachings are for the purpose of giving us the right understanding. If we don’t understand rightly, then we can’t arrive at peace.
Waiting to return to the veterinary hospital, the only thing on my mind was an intense drive to pour through 17 years of photographs. Annie and her “brother” Max, John’s son, John and myself. All the adventures and non-adventures of daily life. Photographs triggering sensory impressions stored in my tissues of our lives’ story. Grounding my heart to the truth: I had worked hard to be the dog mom Annie deserved.
She became obsessed with eating, hunting for any bone in the bushes on our short walks around the neighborhood. I had been afraid for years she would eat something on a walk that either would poison her or asphyxiate her. In the end she died from eating a bone that became caught between her stomach and duodenum. I did my best to protect her all these years but could not prevent the last couple of days of her life in a kennel at the veterinary ICU.
Absolutely everything in this universe is subject to change. Coming home without Annie there, waking up without Annie there, I feel so much sorrow. It is a un-ignorable reminder the practice is to be intimate with the nature of the universe.
Practice is intimacy; life and death are intimate”