Today would have been my brother Marks 61st birthday. 61 is hardly old these days. If anything it is considered Middle Aged.
Mark has been dead now for almost 7 months. He died as much from despair as he did from smoking. Mark gave up. He let the opinions of others define him. He let his fears limit him. Mark was afraid of a lot of things.
Mark was afraid of not being liked or accepted. He was afraid that he wouldn't have the approval of his father. He was afraid of risks and challenges.
You may get the impression that I didn't much like my brother. Quite the contrary is true. I adored him and miss him deeply. I, however have no illusions as to his character and the lifetime he lived. Loving Mark does not mean living in denial. Honouring him and growing from his death means that the truth of him needs to be known.
Mark needed to be liked. He didn't much like himself. He had no Metta for himself. When we have Metta for ourselves we are self contained. When we are the sort of people we want to be, the acceptance of other people is nice, but it isn't essential to our happiness. Having Metta for ourselves means that we actively exclude toxic people from our lives. We see the agenda of the toxic and their subtle, insidious undermining of our potential and then because we know that their opinions are baseless, we exclude them. Mark never did this.
Mark never pursued Metta towards his body by reading and then using the literature that told him point blank that his diet and addictions would kill him. The result was Mark suicided in the rather novel way using diet. A diet that ignores every nutritional guideline is one that is a weapon. Mark when he died had returned to eating only refined carbohydrates, sugars and red meat. Having had 3 heart attacks in the space of 6 months, Mark knew that this behaviour would kill him. He knew the opposite behaviour would keep him alive. He had seen me recover from Salmonella using a clean, green diet.
Mark let death limit him. He was afraid of it. This meant that he was a risk free zone. He dared rarely and achieved little.
Death can either limit or liberate us. Had Mark embraced death he would have cleansed his life of the toxic people in it and been liberated from their influence. Had Mark embraced death he would have cultivated Metta towards himself and engaged in healthy practices.
Because of Mark's death I am pushing the boundaries of my intellect, the need to become Doctor Russell Dunne has grown almost into an obsession. I am being the father and husband that my wife and children need me to be. I am pursuing the healthiest, most active lifestyle that I can. The body beautiful is very much on the way.
Because of Mark's death, when it comes my turn to become bones in the ground like he is now, and because we never know if today will be that day. I am seizing every challenge and living in a way that means my death will be regret free...both for myself and those I leave behind.