Category Archives: engaged

Why Death is One of Our Greatest Teachers.

 

Living life with the end in mind is the most powerful route to personal freedom and authenticity.

I absolutely love the work I do. Companioning individuals as they grieve the loss of a loved one has been the most powerful, heart-wrenching, enlightening, and meaningful “work” I have done. Bearing witness to one’s stories of loss and heartache is an absolute honour and privilege, for I know that delving into the depths of one’s grief is the hardest thing one can ever do.

Doing this work has made death a constant companion. It’s ever-present reality in my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the fact that one day my life will end. At first, admitting this was terrifying. It evoked panic and a feeling of being trapped, with no hope of escape- and truthfully, it still does on some days. But, with loss comes forced reflection and subsequent insight.

It is for this insight I am extremely grateful for it has made clear to me that this life is a gift, never to be taken for granted. We are privileged to be here and to be given the opportunity to become the fullest expressions of who we are.

Here a few of the radical shifts/insights that have occurred in my life:

  • Everything is a miracle.

Living with death as an all too tangible reality renders everything and every experience miraculous. The “little things” become the “big things”, and material things lose their value. We also begin to recognize the mere chance by which we were granted this life, and as such we can see with greater clarity that we are not here by accident.

  • Gratitude expands

When we recognize life is a privilege, gratitude expands. Everything of which our life is composed becomes “thank you worthy.” We become grateful for what we have, and especially for the people who surround us. Death also allows us to become less inhibited, and simply say what’s in hearts. It becomes easier to declare our appreciation for the people we love, for we recognize that there may not be another chance.

  • Love and connection becomes all that matters.

Death makes love, and our expression of it, our highest priority. It becomes infused in everything that we do, in every choice we make, and in every interaction we have with others. It allows us to recognize that our attentive presence is what counts, for it through this attentive presence that our love is conveyed. It becomes about fully engaging with every single moment by acknowledging that time is a finite resource. We recognize that one’s time (an expression of love) is the most precious gift one can give another, for the giving of one’s life in this way, signals that the other matters-and that’s all we want to know at the end of the day anyway.

  • You are here to be the fullest expression of yourself.

Authenticity becomes fundamental. Death allows us to disengage from the (false) fear-based thoughts that so often limit us, thus allowing us to become the fullest expressions of ourselves- in an unapologetic way. We recognize that are here to learn, to teach, and ultimately, to expand. As such, living out our passion becomes essential to our personal sense of well-being.

 

Gratitude: A Love Note to Life.

Cottage

If you and I are friends on Facebook, you have probably seen one of my many gratitude lists. I write them frequently and typically with a sense of abandon… it is literally my soul on the page, summed up into words that always seem somewhat inadequate to express what I feel. An attempt to convey this seemingly inexplicable connection to life… to spirit… to goodness…to love. To express a  feeling of being nurtured, supported and fulfilled. An expression of the knowing that life, ultimately, has my back.

I’m not saying that bad and painful things do not and have not happened to me… they absolutely have. But, what I have found is that the intentional practice of gratitude allows me to better delve into my pain. It has provided me with a life preserver of sorts. A thread to grasp in moments of overwhelm and the seemingly unbearable. A consistent reassurance that there are moments of untainted good in the bad. Its reliability is empowering. It simply requires a commitment to the willingness to notice.

I started my intentional gratitude practice approximately two years ago, at a time of great emotional upheaval, and I can say that without a doubt that it was, and still is, one of the most powerful practices that has helped me on my journey of embracing a life of fearless authenticity. The practice has helped me to more purposefully engage with the now. It allows me to embrace the moment completely, dropping my worries of what is to come. It also has enabled me to form more authentic and meaningful relationships with others, because I’m more connected in the moment- attuned, engaged, and present with that person. Incredibly powerful stuff. Gratitude is no longer I feeling I experience only upon reflection… it now happens in that very moment.

Gratitude keeps us alert to the miraculous. 

The more intentional we are about it, the more we find to be grateful for. It radically shifts our focus. It transforms. It allows us to recognize the beauty that resides in every kind word, every compassionate action, every moment of laughter, every hug, every interaction, every moment of stillness, every gorgeous view. It reminds us that life is a privilege.

Suddenly, we begin to feel overwhelmingly abundant. Happier. More peaceful and at ease with life. Nourished. We begin to recognize the power that we each have to shape our lives.

Ultimately, we all hold the power to choose the lens we are going to wear.

And so, in the spirit of this post, I am inviting you to sit in some deep gratitude. I challenge you to name at least three things you are grateful for right now.  Claim it, state it, declare it. Don’t hold back.