Life is breath many would agree with this! Of course life is breath!! None possibly would say no to this view. If one stops breathing for a while, would one still be alive? Try cease your breath for awhile. is life a breath? If life is not the presence of breath, what then is life? Release your breath, are you still alive? What then is death?
Absence of breath? of course not. Can a dead person breathe no matter how short? Maybe one should make researches on that for an informed conclusion.

I have seen persons, though “living” but long dead. I have equally seen souls long “dead” but still living. At what point does one draw the line between death and life?

Ten years ago she ceased to breathe. No one saw it coming. The news of her “death” threw many into an emotional torture. Days before her passing unto glory, she was seen distributing cold Sobo during Christ the King procession. Nothing in and around her suggested any form of illness. Strong in her gait, unassuming in her carriage and cheerfully diligent in her distribution of Sobo drink. Her “last” days were quite memorable little wonder the news of her death came like a lightning, hitting everybody that encountered her those few days like a thunderstorm.

Nothing defines what life and death are more than the few memories she left in the minds of people before passing on.

Lady Elizabeth Olubumi Omoteleola Amusu nee Olaore died ten years ago but still lives in the mind of people whose good nature and comraderies left good and fine smelling fragrance with.

She lived to live. She did not live to die. She died to live. She did not die to die.

Our life here on earth has often been discribed as a morning dew evaporating at the rising of the sun. Such a discription places a time limit to our life on earth. It limits the meaning of life to only a physical movement of body and mind.

Life is much more to it, it goes beyond the restrictive human discription of it, to a larger understanding beyond ones human intelligence.

Life is larger than human knowledge. It is more than history, far above the postulation of science.

It is beyond living in affluence, above having properties and much more than the joy of having friends, children and well wishers.
No one that lives his life around these ephemerals, weaves it into a tapestry of worldly consummation and indulgences lives on after passing on.

Each time we drag our fellow human beings to the mud, smear them with the stench and ooze of our bad breath of greed and overbearing nature, each time we throw around our self worth with an intimidating flounce, each time we step out with a renewed vigor to rub in the inadequacies of others by our supremacist mentality, we live to die eternally in their space.

Each time we look at the less fortunate ones in our community, whose eyes are dimed and dulled by hunger and lack without lending sympathy and empathy, we live to die eternally in their space.

Each time we place our maids and guards far below our children, treat them like one piece of dirty rag that worths nothing, we live to die eternally in their space.

Each time we ascend to a higher and influencial position either in the society or in the office, using it as tools and channels to defraud, enrich, victimize and dehumanize, we live to die eternally in the space of the society.

Life is not life without love and sharing. It is not life without a compassionate expression of feelings. It is equally not life without, self giving. Even in the midst of classic and exotic pleasures life is not life without self sacrificing for the sake of others.

The life of Lady Amusu made me realize that buried below six feet is no barrier to living in the consciousness of those living above the six feet.

Sadly, we have reduced life and living to what one can possibly achieve materially. Life and its meaning for the majority are better viewed and appreciated from the lenses of material accumulation. Anything less, becomes meaningless.

Life is character, life is Integrity, life is love, it is how one makes others feel the good sense in their life no matter how bad their life may seem. Life is compassion, it is sharing, it is all about the joy spread than the harm inflicted and the brags and pride flounced.

Life is not what we experienced and achieved while alive, it is more of the good things that would be said about us while below the six feet.

Life is not about ones fleet of cars, mansions, certificates, children and bank deposits, as good as they are, however, life is about the good epitaphs people would possibly pen down on ones tomb.

Life is not about intimidating people with the heavy weight of ones accomplishments, no it is about the use of such to put smiles on their faces unconditionally.

Each time I look at the rat race of humans, chasing and dragging things of lesser importance with strength and power I see a life well misplaced.

The Zik, the Awolowo, the Chinue, the Ikemba, the Martin Luther King Jr, the Mandela, the Pope John Paul, the mother Theresa etc are all remembered today not by the number of children, fleet of cars and estates in their names but more of how they made people and nations feel.

They continue to live in the consciousness of all of us above the six feet as long as there is a place called earth.

Wealth and fame they may have achieved. Their strength to continue to live on in the mind of people is much more in how they touched life and shaped nations positively than the size of their material gains.

Once there came to the court of the Prince of Birkasha a dancer with her musicians. Admitted to the court, she danced before the Prince to the music of the lute and the flute and the zither.

She danced the dance of flames and the dance of swords and spears; she danced the dance of stars and the dance of space. And then she danced the dance of flowers in the wind.

After this she stood before the throne of the Prince and bowed her body before him. And the Prince bade her to come nearer and he said unto her, Beautiful woman, daughter of grace and delight, whence comes your art? And how is It that you command all the elements in your rhythms and your rhythms?
And the dancer bowed again before the Prince and answered” Mighty and gracious Majesty, I know not the answer to your questionings. Only this I know: The Philosopher’ soul dwells in his head, the poet’ soul is in his heart, the singer’s soul lingers about his throat, but the soul of the dancer abides in all her body.

We are dancers in this life, we are all called to dance with Integrity, love, compassion, honor, dignity, selflessness. Until we get to this point of dancing with all the positive energies in us, we may as well dance and dance wriggling and twisting our bodies without being noticed.

Simply put , life is about dancing to the admiration of people, not out of self glorification, patronizing and mere self indulgence but out of selfless and oftentimes unconcious desire to put smiles on people’s faces. Anything short of this is mere self exercise that has no space in the consciousness of others.

Life is not a dew that evaporates, it is an ocean that dries not. It is a sun that sets even at its dawn it continues to shine in the mind of people whose light was and continues to be a positive energy to.

I dedicate this piece to the peaceful repose of Lady Elizabeth Olubumi Omoteleola Amusu nee olaore whose life still shines among those living above the six feet.

She danced the dance of life with her whole body, till today she lives in the space of all those that watched her danced ten years after.

Jarlath Opara

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