YK’s 365 Release: Day 37

I recently saw a film clip where the interviewee said there are two types of people, those who have almost died and those who haven’t. Though I don’t believe life can be reduced to such either/or terms, I understand the message, and I fall in the former category.

A few years ago, I was driving home on the first freezing evening of the year in a November. The ground was damp earlier that day and had frozen slightly. I ended up hydroplaning into another car and eventually landed in the emergency room.

I waited in the emergency room for over 12 hours during which time I could feel my body systematically failing me. At first it was that I felt excruciating pain in my abdomen. I clutched it doubled over and the pain did not subside. I could no longer even stand. Then it turned into me not being able to breathe. I recall screaming for help, being ignored, trying to muster up another breath to tell the nurses that something was gravely wrong. I could only gasp. I remember tears filling my eyes and whispering my partner’s name, hoping she would hear me through the fabric of the universe. She was bartending that night and wouldn’t see that I was not home until many hours later. I thought of my mother on the other side of the world and was grieved. Then I started feeling something warm inside me, like liquid, filling my organs. My left lung had collapsed.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in that much pain in my entire life. I remember thinking, no one knows I’m here. It was right during the Thanksgiving holiday and most people were out of town. I also remember trying to send telepathic messages to friends for help. I remember feeling myself lose my breath, feeling my insides fill up with blood, feeling anger at not being heard, sadness at the pain. I also remember fighting to be conscious. I remember fighting to stay awake and to stay alive.

When I finally did get seen, the doctors immediately rushed me to trauma because they realized my lung had been collapsed for over 12 hours. The main doctor was shocked to learn how long I had been lying there waiting and said I could have died in the waiting room and that I was extraordinarily lucky. I remained in the hospital for 7 days.

That was a lesson not just in pain, but also in death. And when you are that close to death, your life does indeed change. I have a small scar on my side from the surgery that is a result of that experience. Once in a while I mentally note it to remind myself I must cherish this moment I am in because every moment is a moment I may very well have missed. I would say it took me a full year or two to actually embrace that I was that close to no longer being.

My awakening from that experience in combination with my awakening through mindfulness showed me that my purpose on this planet is to live a happy life filled with love. It is that simple. Just to love and bring happiness. Little things don’t matter and getting caught up in complications is unnecessary. People matter to me more now because I want them all to be happy too, and they are my connection to being alive. I also find that I am drawn inevitably to people that I know I have known in lives before this one because that is a lasting bond even beyond this corporeal body. These are people I instantaneously love already because I have always already known them. It’s actually an incredible experience when this happens.

Life is so short. It is too short to not be doing exactly what you want to be doing. It is too short to hold back on loving, to hold back on doing, to hold back on living. It is too short to hold onto the past. It is too short to not tell people how important they are to you. It is too short to hesitate. If there is something you want to do, do it. Please do it. Travel and see the world. Connect with people. If you meet someone you love, love them unconditionally with no strings attached, with all of your heart. Let people love you too, even if their ways are different, be understanding and compassionate. Open yourself up to everything. Everyone in my life has my unquestioning love. I will support you through everything you want to pursue. I will always listen to and hear you. Let people know you love them often. Be fearless, there is no time to be afraid. Always do everything with passion because every moment is our greatest gift.

It may be strange or unfamiliar, at first, to receive my life’s quest of unconditional and unwavering love. We are taught to question love and its intentions and I am so forward with my love and compassion. How can I actually love and care about everyone? I can because love to me is one and the same as life. I need nothing in return because I have breath.

Today I am releasing something not to a specific person, but I am going to let go of the ideas I have attached to it. It doesn’t signify death, it signifies life. It’s a breathing pump I had to use after my accident, to help expand my lung and make it stronger again. To me it has been a reminder that every breath is precious and I will never forget that. Love and live like it is your last moment and know that I love you, that I will fight for passion and that I will be fearless in it down to my last breath.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

3 responses to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 37”

  1. C. Sala says:

    This is a very powerful statement, and I am honored to have read this story of your experience. How fragile life is, I give thanks for you and our intersecting journeys! Thank you for being a fearless teacher. Blessings and love to you always, mi compadre.

  2. erica says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story, and the lesson of love that comes from this experience. I treasure this gift so very much, and I am very glad you are here to share it with all of us. I love you! -e

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *