A good day to die

The bronze Spirit Warrior Sculpture by Ogala artist Colleen Cutschall at the Indian Memorial. Little Bighorn National Monument, Montana.


I can hear the followers of Camp Liza canceling their subscriptions as I write.  Because who wants to read about death?  The fact is, if you think about death, like the Buddhists do, you will live ever so much a more beautiful, rich life. And we all want that.

So today, let’s think about death.

This post is inspired by the accidental death of a friend last week. It was a day like any other. An artist, he went to work. A big machine fell on him. Yup.

At the wake, everyone was seeking solace for themselves from the widow, instead of directing their energy to her suffering. It was that close to everyone’s lives.

“Today is a good day to die” is attributed to Chief Low Dog of the Oglala Lakota tribe in 1881. He yelled it to his warriors as they charged General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The Lakota “won.”

A good day to die means that you are living your life so fully, so realized, with no regrets, celebrating, revealing your true self, that if you die today, you would feel satisfied, knowing you had really lived your life, a life according to your essence and desire.

Well, I think I flunk in this department. I cannot say this of myself. I’m unsatisfied. I have put things off. I have not taken risks that as I look back, I should have. I have lived in pockets of fear.

A good day to die also refers to the issue of having everything in your life in order. You’re living full and clear. It’s not just that your will is written and the bills are paid. Living orderly, by which I mean, clean with yourself and others, has a big impact on your state of mind and the quality of your life.

We meditate, we read spiritual books and do spiritual practices. We constantly say to each other, “live in the present moment, it is all we have.” We think we have it figured out, and then BOOM! Someone dies and we freak out. Every single time it is a shock. And it shouldn’t be. It’s the only sure thing in life. It’s the only promise we get when we’re born.

I wake up and think, “today is not a good day to die.” It gets me busy being me. I am still wanting, wishing, lamenting. I better get crackin’! Time to manifest.

Yesterday, “I didn’t really do anything.” In reality, I had a rich morning meditation of knitting. I worked out in the pool. I read a book that was so beautiful I had to put it down every so often to bear the beauty of it. For my late Saturday afternoon lunch for one, I prepared an artful composed salad with things I had purchased earlier at the Slow Food market. I wrote. I Skyped with my cousin. I made a frosty, sexy margarita after the sun went down and watched some episodes of Friday Night Lights that a friend turned me onto. I assembled a light supper. I fell asleep with my cat and the large ceiling fan spinning overhead.

And today, I talk to you. That’s “all” I have at the moment. It’s everything.

xo Liza

PS  I visited Little Bighorn National Park too quickly last summer on my road trip through Montana. I long to go back and spend more time, hiking the hills, getting my fill of this holy land. And I will!

My lovelies I hope you stayed with me in this post. Aching to hear your thoughts in the comments box below. Are you living the life you really want to live? What’s missing and how can you manifest it? Sending you wishes for a beautiful day. Please– if you like being part of this thinking community of witty, intelligent, stylish women who want to live and love big, enter your email so you won’t miss a thing.


18 thoughts on “A good day to die

  1. How coincidental! I am on a road trip right now and just visited the Bighorn Battlefield yesterday taking the same photo of that beautiful sculpture. Walking the trails you see all of the markers where both Native American warriors and Calvary soldiers fell in battle. I visited the site decades ago when it was called Custers Battlefield and it was a very one sided version of what happened. It was good to see the whole story told.

  2. beautifully stated; sounds like a wonderful day and many more to enjoy…and just what was that book that made you stop and take notice?

  3. My husband died on May 5th. I held him in my arms as he drew his last breath. I go to bed every night without him. I wake every morning without him. My heart breaks morning and night. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I fill my days with busy-ness – shopping, grandchildren, family, friends. Recently, I have been second guessing myself because I wasn’t doing things the way he would have done them. I wasn’t making decisions as he would have. Then I told myself that I had to live my life according to what was best for me. I had to make decisions based on what was best for me. I have to live my life to be the best me. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on death. A wonderful way to start my day.

    1. Sharon, thank you ever so much for sharing your story. You are brave and strong. May 5 is so recent… all you have to do is be gentle with yourself! Be proud that you lived, “until death do us part.” And yes, your life is yours to live, exactly how you like it. Listen to your dreams.

  4. I live with my own mantra…. No regrets. Always follow your heart ❤️ Live with kindness,grace and decency. Be the best person you can EVERYDAY. Take chances, so what if it doesn’t work out – at least you gave it your best. I’ve learned to never let anyone change who you are and what you value.
    Live a beautiful life make the most of the simplest things. As I get older I’m more connected that ever to the great outdoors and thankful for everyday, sun, rain or snow as we all know it can change in a heartbeat.
    Jo xx

    1. Beautiful, Jo… and so YOU. Thank you for your words. The simplicity of them is profound. And oh so helpful to everyone. xo

  5. Liza dear, so well said! thank you so much. Yes, it seems everyone has to manifest her own suffering, forgetting the widow and the young girl. this strengthens in me the importance of personal practices, being prayer, meditation, selfless service, hatha yoga, so we can give in moments of grief, never forgetting that we are the other.

  6. Liza – beautiful piece, and very honest, thankyou. You are very hard on yourself though, to say that you have ‘flunked’. What I perceive from your insightful posts is someone who is always doing her best to live a rich and fulfilled life – and our best is all we can ever do.

  7. Hi Liza

    Each day is a gift!

    I celebrate with my loveones and friends as much as I can.

    Hoping your feeling better each day.

    Maria E. Cervera
    Miami, Florida

  8. Lisa,
    Thinking of you today. Wishing you wellness, joy and peace.
    No words of wisdom, just heart felt positive thoughts coming your way
    Isn’t this an amazing journey?

  9. Often when as I sit in a comfortable chair at the very hottest part of the day, I gaze across the patio and out into the garden. It is a calming and beautiful site. Then I imagine a hooded figure coming up the path. Head down, the figure walks with great dignity and is not at all alarming to me. But I know who it is. The figure will hold out it’s hand to me and I decide: do I take the hand and just go, do I bat it away, do I jump up and run? It is up to me to decide: is it a good day to die?

  10. I appreciate everyone’s comments and would like to add, I have just started watching Friday Night Lights…OMG, I love Kyle Chandler…and the whole show.

  11. My best friend and neighbor for the past 57 years died(June19). And your writing made me appreciate her decision, as it was a good day for her. Although she has left us all heartbroken, I can see when she was hospitalized she knew she would not be leaving. She was the most bravest person I have known, she just knew. I miss her so very much, but I know she wants us all to live our lives to the fullest.

    1. Trina, thank you so much for your words. Heartbroken, yes, I can feel it in your words. How fortunate to have a brave friend to show us the way to live and die. I had such a friend who passed a year ago. He’s teaching me still. Be gentle with you.

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