Friday, June 1, 2012

Death: The Great Adviser

In the last three months I have lost two young friends to cancer.  One was 43, the other 39.  It wasn't the tragedy of how cancer can strike anyone at any age, or the immense personal loss of those who loved them that  stuck in my mind.  I came to understand the fleeting nature of human life a long time ago.  The thoughts that keep circling in my mind are the lessons that we who are are left can pull from these seemingly random acts of early demise.  So does death have lessons to teach us?  Can death be an adviser on life?  Can pondering our own death give us valuable insight into how to live?  The answers are all a big loud, "Yes!"

Here are the questions that will drive you to fully live your life, compel you to love more, forgive everything, and really be your authentic self.

Before you die, is there anyone you need to apologize to or to forgive?   If the answer is yes, then begin the process.  To apologize or make restitution you will have to connect with the other person.  To forgive, you only need yourself, since forgiveness is a one person act of releasing the resentment in your heart.  The other person has nothing to do with your attachment to this resentment.  It is time to heal these wounds and save the relationships worth saving.  Or, let it go.

Before you die, is there something you always desired to experience?  No matter how young you are, make a bucket list.  If you don't start early, you may never get a chance to do all the things you dream of doing before you die.  If you start now, at least you will have the opportunity to cross some things off that bucket list.  

Before you die, really take the time to get to know who you are.  You are unique, fascinating, and a child of God.  Discover your innate abilities.  Perhaps it is art, music, or being a great Mom.  It might be your ability to listen to people or you unwavering passion to follow your dreams.  Each of us is different.  Find out who you are and then let your life be an accurate expression of yourself.  When we are true to ourselves, we enjoy life much more.

One of the biggest lessons that we can gain from death is the realization that we are still alive.  Because we live, we still have choices.  Once we are dead, there are no more chances to change into the person we were meant to be, there are no more chances to love more, to pay more attention to our loved ones.  But, luckily, you are here right now, with a chance to really live your life by the choices you will make today, and each day on that you are privileged enough that you wake up in the morning.  Choose to live life with peace, love, and happiness while you still can. 

So, what can you learn from death?....How to live.

Laura Barrette Shannon
author of Be Happy Now book

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