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Chapter List

Meeting Your Edge   2
Taking Care of Our Opposition  4
Dying to Live  8
Quitting Without Being a Quitter  10
Waking Up in the Nightmare  12
A Reality-Unlocking Intimacy  14
Inviting Our Pain onto the Dancefloor   17
Gratitude in the Crunch  24
We’re at One Hell of an Edge   26
When Familiarity Vanishes  30
Signs That Your Shadow is Showing Up  33
Only the Broken Wave Can Know the Ocean  38
What Happens After We Die?  40
Cellular Immortality Ambitions: Cancer Unpacked   42
Elderhood: Off the Freeway  45
Fuck Perfection  48
Greed for the Roses Weds Us to the Thorns   50
Don’t Numb Yourself to Your Numbness  53
Misogyny on the Hot Seat  56
Creativity Unveiled   59
How to Have a Conscious Rant  62
Spiritual Dynamite  64
Hope is Nostalgia for the Future  69
Boundaries and Holy Ground  70
Being Unthreatened by Feeling Threatened  72
Grace: Sacred Intervention  74
The Navigation of Turning Points   76
All in the Blink of an I   79
Embracing Insecurity Secures Us  81
The Meaning of Meaning and Beyond   83
Aging and Conscious Complaining   87
Evaporating Boredom  89
The Ultimate You: God in the Second Person   91
Alignment with What Doesn’t Decline  96
An Inside Look at Choice   98
Remembering to Remember   104
Outgrowing Tribalism  106
No Longer at a Loss About Loss   109
The Anatomy of Intuition  111
Elderhood: A Downshifting Upgrade  117
Not Letting Our Past Colonize Our Future  118
Meeting the Abyss   120
Feeling Unsafe Versus Being Unsafe  122
Death and Mystery  124
The Dreamer Is Also Being Dreamt  126
Magic Remains  128
The Certainty of Uncertainty  130
We Are Not “In” a Body  132
Who Has Room for Emptiness?   134
The Future’s Not What It Once Was  136
The Epicenter of Loss  138
Sacred Detox  140
Elders Outgrow Growth  142
The Limitations of Limitlessness  144
Misspeaking About Misspeaking  146
Nothing But Mystery  148
Ordinariness as a Shadow Element  151
Prayer and a Deeper Prayer  154
Taking the Hand of Elderhood  156
Our Final Chapter  158


There’s a heart-aching — sharp, tender, deeper than deep — that both shatters and reassembles us. Such raw beauty accompanies this, such exquisitely painful gratitude.

Infinite is this beauty. Upon its shores we break and spill, again and again emptied of the familiarity that self-centers our days and ways. 

So very soon we are gone, like dreams vanishing before the arising of morning’s habits. Did we leave a mark? Only wing-prints in boundless skies, tracing quickly evaporating goodbyes. Tombstones soon but stardust. Our life is our signature.

Such raw beauty, beauty to die into, beauty both to bow to and to be, beauty that simultaneously outlives us and is us. Beauty that breathes us here, beauty that outlasts every appearance.

Death makes Life worth living fully. Death makes beauty unspeakably obvious. Death makes love unsurpassably important. Death gives all the same opportunity. Death leaves no one out.

Life is, among other things, a Near-Death Experience.

The passing of all things, openly felt, breaks our heart open to what matters most of all. Only through intimacy with dying and Death do we find intimacy with the Deathless.  

Gazing into soft blue sky, dissolving and reappearing in the grace of its vast embrace, making room for all its clouds, whether they are weeping or thundering or dancing.

Beauty beyond beauty continues to strip us bare, revealing that we are more than we can imagine.

This we at essence cannot help but recognize as we die into a deeper Life, becoming personalized clearings for the Beloved. Unparalleled openness, owned by none and belonging to all.    

Avoiding Death deadens us.

Are we not dying to really live, to come fully alive? Dying to stop pretending that we are not pretending? Dying to fully embody the Life we were born to live?

Such dying is but birth, a labor of love, making room for a deeper Life. The tenderest upstart green cracks open the concrete seas upon which we get shipwrecked.

The messy miracle of birth unravels our straitjacketed identity. We both bleed and soar, waves breaking on ever-virgin shore, dying into the Undying. 

Silence is our witness. Silence has seen it all. Silence cradles us. 

Death doesn’t happen to Life. Death serves Life. The beauty of it all, the hyperbole-transcending majesty and wonder of it all, both brings us to our knees and wings us.

We go from survival to living, and from living to being lived, and from being lived to Being, losing everything along the way except what most matters.

Loss breaks open our heart, dissolving its armoring. Loss — the heart of impermanence — gives beauty its true depth.

The fire in the dying poet’s eyes makes ruggedly transparent art of his ravaged face. He cries out, his words the last sigh of a vagabond wave, seafoam dying along some midnight shore. His freedom is in having no choice. His love empties his mind and leaves his body see-through. His final poem is a sadhappy releasing of all that he took and takes to be his. 

And what is his message for us? Let your heart break, let all things awaken you, let your life be beauty in the raw, needing no frame to be art.

And all the words die so, so soon in an avalanche of silence, their sound and meaning and audience gone. But how they danced and gave birth in their bright sliver of a moment! And how we danced and loved and wept and blazed in our brief time! 

The door is, as always, already open. Openness awaiting openness. The invitation that will not go away. We are, all of us, now and ever now, dying to live.

Let us not wait any longer. Let us do what it takes. There are not higher stakes.