I love it. This is just such a peaceful mindfulness exercise in how you are thinking about all this. I plan to incorporate it into my own meditating, which I pledge to keep trying on and on and on.

One of my mindfulness exercises focuses on family history and DNA. I think about how the DNA making me think — and breath in and out properly — comes from countless generations — stadiums full of grandparents. If you dig into their stories, more than you care to imagine endured burdens, traumas, and pains to ensure that you are alive. I have been blessed to get to spend a lot of my time investigating these ghosts.

The more I marvel at their perseverance, the more I wonder how they dealt with depression, because all the way back to the first people who stepped foot in the country, my family had members taking their own life. My great-uncle (many times great) George Barstow was a Puritan who took his life after a conflict with the church. Apparently, Puritans taking their lives was common enough that Massachusetts had to pass a law in 1660 about how people who died by suicide would be buried…as a discouragement to the action.

My brother also took his own life. Knowing this really, I mean, really, runs in the family, I am trying to appreciate at the cellular level, the DNA level, just what being alive means.

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