Today in my Zoom call quartet, one person mentioned an anecdote from Frank Ostaseski’s wonderful book, The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us about Living Fully. He’s in a consignment shop with his daughter when he realizes many of the items for sale wear tags “As Is”. He thinks how great it would be if each of us wore a tag saying “As Is”, and believed it.
We decided our little group should sport t-shirts pronouncing, “As Is”.
As I peruse The Five Invitations once again, I come across two death poems from Japan where the tradition is to write a poem on the last day of your life or soon before.
Here is the death poem of Dogen Zenji who died in 1253.
Four and fifty years
I’ve hung the sky with stars
Now I leap through –
Here, with a different tone, is the death poem of Moriya Sen’an, who died in 1838.
Bury me when I die
beneath a wine barrel
in a tavern.
the cask will leak.
And with that, I consider how we meet the moment as it comes, honoring gathering and scattering as One.