At the end of your life…

dying

You lie dying on a bed. Do you speak about politics, religious intolerance, race or cultural issues and differences? No! You speak about loved ones. You tell stories of your lovers and spouses. You share about your childhood. You do not listen to this timeline full of sensational news. You don’t care what is happening out there. The world becomes very small and you only want to know about places far and wide that you didn’t get to visit. You express your love of sunrises, fast cars, delicious food and beautiful company. You marvel at the journey, often with regret and other times with admiration. Politics, war, judgment, bigotry and intolerance do not matter at this time. They are not held captive in your presence. Why? Why do we give so much energy to those things that will not reside in later years when we will be ready to transition into death?

Make your thoughts count. Create energetic moments that will transcend your existence when you are in your last breath. You are the creator of your reality. At the end of your life you will remember the first pretty girl you kissed, the first hands that touched your body with love, the way your body felt in youth, the puppy you got that Christmas, the horse ride you took in that trip, the way your child felt upon your chest…. You will not care how much money you owe or if you cleaned under the bed or if there is expired food in the pantry.

Life is a precious commodity so use it for greatness. You will want to know that you mattered, that you loved and were loved deeply, and that you will be missed for who you are.  Make moments count so that when you are ready to embark into the light you will feel joy and not sorrow; love and not hatred, admiration and not regrets.

Spiritual Direction

humility

Note:  I wrote this a year ago today.  I dreamed about this last night. I don’t know why. I suspect that my re-birthday is to blame! The lessons I learned from DEATH are just as intense and valuable as the ones I am learning from LIFE. I am not the same person I was a six months ago. I am not the same person I was when I returned from the ultimate space of LOVE. I continue to learn from this experience as intensely as I learn from living. I cannot tell you what to do. I cannot tell you how to live. You are the only one who knows what you need. I can only show you what I live through my spirituality and my humanness. After my awakening I promised myself that I would love as profoundly as I felt loved in that moment that I died. I swore I would bring that sense of divinity back and it’s been a constant reminder that in one second life can change. Do your self a favor and live like if you are dying. It won’t matter what you did a year ago, tomorrow or in ten years. I will forever be grateful for the guidance and the knowing that all I am and forever will be is the embodiment of true love. In the end that is truly all that matters…to me.  And here is the story:

In a few days it will be a year that I died in the emergency room. One minute I was having chest pains, the next paralysis and finally a moment of leaving and visiting the other realm. It took months of me finding grounding in my body. I felt like I could not fit. I couldn’t grasp returning to the human world. All fear and anxiety had disappeared. All dreams, expectations, and purpose fell to the roadside. Those things that caused constant worrying somehow seemed mundane. Living was mundane, without meaning. My poor fiance couldn’t deal with this new woman. My best friend was fearful that I would return to the world of the dead. It was a constant source of questions, “Are you okay? Do you feel alright? Do you need anything?” I cannot begin to imagine what they witnessed and how they felt through it all.

I would stand in the dead of winter watching the wind go through the trees. I could spend hours listening to the earth stretching, hearing colors, tasting the land like something from a metaphysical movie. Life was surreal. I couldn’t relate to this place when what I witnessed in those moments of meeting Spirit was the most magical experience I could ever imagine. And, for the skeptic in me, if it was my imagination then I would rather that other place over anything here on earth.

Spirituality is a personal facet of my life. It is a path that I try to move through while fully being present in my human form. I am not a religious person, but have studied several religions and philosophies throughout the years. I pick and choose from belief systems those things that feel right. Spiritual direction is for me to travel and often in a lonely manner because let’s face it, spirituality is personal. It is intimate. But, everything I had believed until January 15, 2014, was incorrect. I didn’t see Jesus Christ. I didn’t see Buddha. I didn’t see any of the great masters. I didn’t see a tunnel with loved ones waiting to walk me down the spiritual hall. I only saw love and light. I was engulfed in the warmth of universal ecstasy.  I was in the arms and presence of Source.

Those first three months of 2014 required a constant taste of humanity. I had more Spirit than Ego. I had more essence and love than ever before in my 46 years. I had more presence. I had an infinite amount of time. Although the days still had 24 hours I was able to stretch them into infinite space. I returned with a high pitch that became a meter for b.s. I could read people’s thoughts. I returned with so much love that I would cry just holding a book, a plant, my lover’s hands, my child’s words over a phone call, the cat purring, the dog placing his head on my lap, and anything that came into my space with any feelings. I had a really hard time connecting to my humanness. I had an impossible struggle feeling the hurt that people constantly carry in their hearts. Life is not meant to be such a struggle…but here we are pursuing the impossible with tenacity and hardness while forgetting to breathe the privilege of being alive. We have little gratitude for who we are and what we are meant to be…Divine Spirits having a human experience.

On March a close friend allowed me and my best friend to go stay in her brother’s home on the outer banks of North Carolina for a weekend. I walked the cold beach. Its vacancy allowed me to be again with the earth away from the freezing weather in the mountains. I wrote. I rested. I shared stories with my friend. We cooked. We danced. We walked by ourselves along shorelines. I was once again held by the grace of Spirit, not only for sustaining me through this return in human form, but for allowing me to want to stay here. I got another chance! I have had several of these in my lifetime. But, I had never returned from the Omnipotence presence of love.

Love transcends all. It sees no color, no race, no discrimination, no age, no faults, not a thing. Love sees you and me and this marvelous experience we get to call Life. And, when we embrace it with complete and utter compassion we are returned to a place of mysticism, mystery and the wisdom of time.

As months overlapped, new responsibilities took hold of me. I became more human again. It no longer takes me hours to fit my essence inside of my body. I wake naturally tugged in it. I have had struggles and questions and disappointments, but I’ve had grace and love guiding me along the way. I don’t know why I died. I don’t have those answers. I don’t have direction for another. I am reminded that I have to work on my own journey constantly finding a footing. I overlook things because ego is constantly monopolizing my rational brain. After dying I try to step back and allow the signs of spirit to guide me. Sometimes in seeking, fate hides all resources. We are forced to take new direction.

The other day I told a friend that I felt like there’s no way I could help another. If I can’t get my own crap spiritually aligned how do I give advice to another suffering from lack of direction? Then it came to me: spiritual direction is about allowing our higher self to find the answers. We reach in and find the truth from faith and intuition. I cannot guide you without you allowing your own guidance to align with your wishes. Somewhere inside you have all the answers. I will not tell you what you need…but I can give you examples of what has worked for me. I can hold your human hands while cradling your heart with a whisper, a touch, a sweet smile and let you know that you are not alone. That’s all I can offer you.

You have to let go in order to begin living. Living is a courageous act balancing the physical forms with the spiritual ones. Allow spirit to guide you. It’s always there. We are made from love, to love, and be love. Mucho love to you, darling!  Begin with loving yourself!

Dying to Live

dying to live

We die a little every day.  We are born into a journey of endings.  Things begin and end.  We don’t know the day we are to transcend or leave this place.  Our existence is not written with a known expiration date.  I have a HUGE issue when doctors tell a patient, “You have two months to live.  You have an X amount of time.”  This act stops the person from living.  It stops becoming about life and all about dying.

A friend of ours was here for a few days.  He has cancer.  He’s dying.  He knows it and so does everyone else.  I am dying as well.  I might have a day or I can live 40 more years.  I have no clue when it will happen.  I am not focusing on that last moment.  I am living to the best of my ability with the days I get gifted every morning.  But, seeing him living fully these past few days…well, a part of me struggles to accept that he has days counted for because of a disease.  He’s healthy.  He is brilliant.  He is tenacious and hysterical and is living on his terms.  I admire him to a degree that I didn’t know possible.  He isn’t just existing waiting on a deadline.  He is moving through these days waiting on the gift of miracles surrounded by love.  Ultimate time tells everything.  And time, my friends, is also our ally when it comes to truly accepting and letting go!

Somehow we get so focused on the end.  We forget that every second is a new beginning.  We try to control our lives and others fearing the moment we are to die.  I am not afraid of dying.  I am afraid of not living fully.  I am frightened of not sucking the joy out of this journey because of a bad day or situation.  I am terribly mortified by the thought of taking another day for granted because of obstacles.  I want to live.  I want to live like I haven’t wanted to live before.  I want to meet like-minded people with laughter and intelligence.  I want to hear their stories.  I crave to touch and love and dive into their journey.  We connect this way. So…NO…I am not afraid of physical death.  I am, however, consciously aware that I forget to live every second to the fullest.  I forget to breathe and let go at times.  I allow my humanness to take over and I get angry for a moment.  This passes.  And, when it does I recall lying on a hospital and returning from my own short death to find that life is precious.  What a gift!  What a magnificent ride!

We entertain anxiety because of fear.  We fear because of not being able to control.  We control because we have been taught that we have a say.  We have a say because we are programmed to believe that the ego can actually fix things.  In the end it’s all a lie.  We can’t control anything.  The illusion of life is based on internal experiences of the outer world.  Our perceptions guide us and in moments make us very ill.  We have no say or control.  All we can do is travel with our heads up, love, laugh and truly learn to live.  We are not merely existing.  We are surviving all that is thrown our way and we should be spiritually evolving because of everything that we experience on the path of life.

My friend is dying.  His presence allowed me to stand back and watch grace and how it looks to know that there might not be a tomorrow.  He is doing it with love, laughter and faith.  The shock of his illness allowed ego to die first.  Now, it’s just a matter of releasing all control and moving through moments with acceptance.  We can all learn from the ones whose days are expiring through illness. He might have days or years.  His timing is in the hands of God.  These folks who have so much to conquer become our biggest teachers.  Mine left a few hours ago and I will forever be grateful for his time.  I love you, Dun.  Thank you!  Until we meet again…soon!

Life is a Salad Bar

salad barLast night my best friend and I watched the endearing movie, “Heaven is for Real.”  It’s a story about a little boy who has a near-death experience and goes to heaven.  At the age of four he teaches those around him about faith. After the movie Bobbie asked if after all these months I can still feel things that I did when I came back into my body in January.  I explained to her that I would never be the same prior to that date.  I have no fear of dying.  I also have no understanding of what others experience.  Anything and everything I knew before January 15, 2014, is null and void. My participation, involvement and personal narrative have nothing to do with anyone else.  No two people can experience exactly the same thing. Every action and circumstance is different.  Our lives are as unique as fingerprints.  My faith has been strengthened.  My ability to reason has been rewired.  And, my knowing of what I knew to be true has disappeared.  I can read things from a year ago and I cannot relate to the b.s.    I know nothing.  I knew even less then.   Every rough edge in my being seems to be smoothing out.  I returned with a deep compassionate heart for me.    Always having been the worrier of everyone else, I realize now it has nothing to do with me.

I was once standing at a salad bar.  My children were all getting the same toppings, yet every salad was different.  We all had the same ingredients but no two salads were identical.  That’s life!  We can all share the same jobs, family, losses, circumstances, course of events, and so on but no two lives are identical.  It is foolish and arrogant to say that “I know exactly how you feel” or “I understand completely.”  Impossible!  We can empathize and sympathize with one another but our emotions, decision making, processing, and a million other factors make it impossible for anyone to know “exactly” how you are feeling.  Besides I truly believe we all have the answers we need at all times.  All we have to do is get out of the way and let Spirit guide us.  If you are fortunate enough to have someone listening to you as you process an issue you will come to the conclusion on your own.

We are here on borrowed time.  Even with time being a huge illusion it is still the indicator of our livelihood.  Eighty years (if we are lucky to live them) is not that long.  In the scope of desires, dreams, and wanting to live fully that seems like a really short lifespan.  At the time of death things that mattered in our lives seem insignificant.  It’s all about lessons, experiences, and the connections we make while here on this planet.  I am often reminded of Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying” and how perception plays a huge role in the way we live.  If you knew you had an expiration date what would you do differently?  How would you live the rest of your time? Would you consider it a privilege and gift?  I bet money wouldn’t be an issue, or the degrees you didn’t get, or even the material life you thought was important.   But, you might look back and regret not saying more “I love you’s,” “I am sorry,” “I am proud of you,” and so on.

Heaven is for real.  You create it every day.  Hell is for real as well.  You create it every day.  You get to choose which mental location to live on.  Do you want joy or do you want hatred?  Do you want peace or do you want war?  Our internal factors are a switch away.  You get to decide how you live your life.  And, if you believe for one minute that you cannot change the way you are living, then sweetheart, you are definitely living in hell.  Let divine wisdom, God, and your faith dictate the way.  What others say or think really does not matter.  Be aware of the endless possibilities in your dreams!  Awake each day to being present and the amazing gift of another day.  You came into this world knowing your mission but have forgotten it for a bit.  Sit and search for your truth. You got this!

Catalyst

Reading a wonderful book today I recalled a memory that seemed to come out of left field.  It had nothing to do with what I was reading, yet I sat looking at the sun melt the snow on the deck while returning to 2008.  I had just remodeled my kitchen in Orlando and was making homemade French onion soup, carefully sautéing the onions while my children waited impatiently for dinner.  The phone rang and my sister shared that my mother had cancer and that it had spread to her lungs.  She had just returned from the doctor and the prognosis was not good. She would die in a few months. I didn’t understand what she was saying. My mother had already been cleared of cancer for several months.  I stood there moving the onions in the pan, the smell infusing with thoughts and the misunderstanding of what I was hearing from her.  I kept saying with each addition of detail, “I’m not understanding what you are saying!  (As she continued to repeat the same message) I will call you back later.”  I hung up the landline and my ex asked what happened.  In my state of denial and rejection for bad news I answered, “Something about Mom having cancer again.  I don’t think that’s right. God only knows what is really happening. ” I kept on cooking, stirring the broth, seasoning the pot.  I stood there in my beautiful new kitchen wondering what else I needed to make before setting the table.  Grief becomes a game between highs and lows, denial and acceptance.  The sorrow didn’t hit me for days, weeks perhaps, and the affirmation that my 82 year old mother was not immortal.  Since that day I’ve never cooked French onion soup again.

Why did this memory visit today?  I don’t know.  I believe it has to do with letting go, the admission and gaining of spiritual truth as I continue to clean the imbalance and metaphysical stagnation in me.  This is happening lately with thoughts coming and going; memories visiting and leaving without emotions; and the honoring of what is and isn’t working in my life.  But grief…well, that’s one of those that arrives with beautiful messages lately.  In the face of grief we become helpless, often tittering on hopeless wonder.  Death is not the only catalyst for grief: the ending of relationships, careers, finances, spiritual growth, and an array of life changes.   In all senses grieving is a must.  Where there is exhilaration there is the opposite of sorrow.  Duality exists.  We are made of it.

As I allowed the scene to unfold I caught the clarity of light on the pond, dancing with the wind while creating little diamonds on the water.  I smiled wiping away the soft tears in fallen reflections.  Grieving parts make a whole because you are never at a complete loss of those things or people.  They live through memories so vibrantly.  You can choose to relive the sorrowful parts and then move on to the joyful ones.  The more aware you become of thoughts, memories, moments and being present the easier it is to allow the visit of each emotion.  Honor them.  Sit with them in grace.  Allow them to enter those rooms that you have shut tightly.  Nothing lasts forever, even those fears that paralyze the spirit momentarily.  They shape us into depth, softening edges, and growing closer into Divinity.  Discarding those parts of life create stagnation.  Don’t let them end up in a land field of regrets!

~ The Sky is Everywhere~ (by Jandy Nelson)

“grief is a house
where the chairs
have forgotten how to hold us
the mirrors how to reflect us
the walls how to contain us

grief is a house that disappears
each time someone knocks at the door
or rings the bell
a house that blows into the air
at the slightest gust
that buries itself deep in the ground
while everyone is sleeping….”