100 • Cycles

Volume 10, Issue 01
February 23, 2024

Today, I am peeling a pomegranate. What am I actually doing?
I’m making a salad. Tabbouleh.
Is that really what I’m doing?
Ask me what I’m doing.
“What are you doing?”
Ask me what i’m really doing.
“What are you really doing, badriyah?”
Do you know how stars die?
The life cycle of stars is continuous. Stars are born from the coming together of ‘star stuff’ -
carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the other elements that make up everything we know. They
condense into each other and form what we call a star, and it continues to pressure itself into a
burning core that lights up the skies for billions of years.
When it becomes old, and it’s time comes to cease to exist, it takes the equivalent of a final deep
breath, then collapses in on itself. Its essence - its ‘star stuff’ - is released into space either to be
reincarnated into other stars, to wander around aimlessly, or to be attracted to other celestial
bodies, like Earth. In fact, 40,000 tons of this star stuff falls onto our planet, Earth, every year.
“It takes in the star stuff, but where does it go?”

Earth breathes in the star stuff and breathes it out as easily as we fill and deflate our own lungs.
Upon inhaling, all these elements, the oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and all the others,
make up everything we know. Our air, our trees, our mountains, our oceans, our skin, our senses,
our eyes, everything. We are made of star stuff. And when you’re one with the Earth, when
you’re compressed into elements, then when you are traveling through roots, then you’re exhaled
by a tree, and you join the atmosphere, the Earth will exhale you back into space. Where you
will, once again, be launched into the universe, destined to be part of the birth of a burning new

Your entire existence is an unimaginably tiny part of the massive life cycle of a star.
Ask me what I’m doing again.

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