Monday, January 25, 2010

Death May Not Be the Big Deal We Make It Out to Be....

I challenged myself to write only 500 words on what I believe about death. Here's what I came up with:

I believe that death is not the big deal we sometimes make it out to be. And I have learned this through the privilege of walking beside those who are preparing to die.

In 1989, I lost my own mother to cancer. Death was a pretty big deal to me then. Afterward, however, I knew on some level that my mother was just fine, probably in heaven. But I hadn’t yet sorted out what I really thought about death.

Then, a few years after mom’s death, I became a hospice worker. I never dreamed I’d learn so much by rubbing shoulders with the dying.

First and foremost, death need not be feared. Rather, when the time comes, death can be embraced with open arms. It is a time for reuniting with the spirit world from which we all come. It is a time for ecstatic celebration and home going. It is a time of connecting with the angels. As one woman posed just before leaving her body: “I see hundreds of angels!”

Secondly, the dying taught me “there is so much more than meets the eye.” I’ve heard about many mystical experiences while journeying with the dying. I have also had my share of such experiences. Once, I walked into a room of a man who asked me later, “Who was that woman who walked in with you when you came into my room?” I was speechless for a time, as I was not aware of anyone with me when I walked into his room. My own mother came to me once, too, through a woman who could read spiritual energy off of people. And mom introduced me to my unborn brother who was the one my mom had miscarried many moons ago!

Thirdly, I have learned that all of life is a kind of preparation for death. Shortly after my book, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE, was published, I met a young Buddhist volunteer firefighter in a health food store. We got to talking about life and death and my work. The young man exclaimed to me, “In Buddhism, birth is the hard part. Death is easy, because we have the rest of our lives to prepare for it.” Wow, what a concept: We could use the rest of our lives, especially our many goodbyes and farewells, as grist for the mill to prepare for the most important day of our life –- the day of our graduation from earthly life when we are free to release everything and everyone from our lives.

Finally, I’ve made the joy-filled discovery that all of life is interconnected. We are connected with all that is here on earth; we are also connected to all that is in heaven. The more we believe in this Magic of the Universe, the more it comes alive in our lives. The more we believe that synchronicity guides our lives, the more it does. Lastly, “Don’t die wondering," for we just may get exactly what we believe.

See a beautiful song I picked to go with this at my site.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Non-attachment Could Save Your Life This Year -- and Certainly Some Grief!

On this very special, first day of 2010, I invite you to think about how you might bring more non-attachment into your life. It could help you deal with all the changes that are taking place around us in these times. The following piece is called "Non-attachment." A brilliant and inspirational writer and hospice patient of mine, Niah Kinczewski, gave me permission to include it in my book, The Last Adventure of Life, before she died some years ago.

"Some people think that they need to hang on to what they have, for it may be the best they will ever get. If you are thinking about making a change, imagine yourself having something better than you have now. See yourself going through the process easily and feeling happy with the results. Imagine that this will be the best thing that has ever happened to you, even though you might not see why right now. Decide that you are going to trust in your ability to create your higher good, and look forward to the wonderful surprises that are in store for you. …
"Approach change as a great adventure. Believe that all change is for your higher good or it wouldn’t be happening. You can learn to cope with change in joyful, peaceful ways by trusting that the universe is friendly and that your Higher Self loves you and is looking out for you. If your personality isn’t willing to make the needed changes, sometimes your Higher Self will set things up so that change is made for you! Act upon the whispers before they become shouts; make changes your inner self suggests to you.
"One of the most difficult attachments to let go of might be your attachment to your viewpoint, beliefs, and judgments. You are always being challenged to think in new and expansive ways. The path is easy for those who have no preferences and opinions, for they are attachments that can take a lot of your energy. You can ?nd your preferences in even the smallest things, such as the way your food is prepared or the way you drive to work. It is important to discover which preferences truly serve your higher good and which are simply unexamined habits that keep you from discovering new, higher ways to be.

"Start practicing non-attachment by taking one small thing you feel attached to and pretending for one day that you are not attached to it. Become an observer and watch yourself. What habits and routines are you attached to? You don’t have to give up these preferences, only your dependence on them. Once you can be happy with or without them you are free; you can have them in your life or not, without being controlled by them. …
"You may have a belief that says, “If I act like myself, if I ask for what I want, I won’t be loved.” Tell yourself that you can have what you want and that people love you for who you are. You are freer to be creative, grow, and ful?ll your potential when you are not bound by what others think of you. Are the people you admire the most the ones who always seek approval before they do things, or those who trust and act on their own inner messages? You are not responsible for making other people’s lives work: they are! …
"Before you pour energy into changing or assisting people, let go of the need to have other people grow, appreciate you, or act in any particular way. Sometimes the strong desire to have them change may be the very thing that keeps them from growing. As you detach and stop worrying about them, they will be freer to grow.
"As you give freedom to others, you become freer yourself. Over time, people will come and go in your life, and one of the greatest gifts you give others is the freedom to go their own way. To serve others, you will need to learn to let go. Do not worry if some of your friends leave your life, for as you increase your vibration, people will either grow and stay in your life or leave. …
"Developing the quality of non-attachment will give you freedom, expand your world, and give you new opportunities to create and grow. When you aren’t attached to what others think of you or to having things be a certain way, you are free. You will have a sense of well-being no matter what the people around you are doing.
"Literally you create an energy structure in your cells and body that is called being in “a state of grace” when you can live each moment, full of love and joy, trusting that all in the universe is working in your best and highest interests! (Remember, life is meant to be lived in total freedom, and you do have the power to create a “happy ever after ending” to your new beginnings.) Freedom is then, being your Self and loving it!"
-- p. 162-163, The Last Adventure of Life, 2nd edition

If you'd like to see a short video on "Non-attachment" by Pema Chodron, I invite you to see my article at here.

Happy New Year, and Happy Non-attachment to us all in these extraordinary days! Dancing heart~~~