January is a threshold of time as the old year dies away and the new year is born. A new year offers a threshold of hidden potentials, meanings, purposes and transitions.
This year I went to three events where we did rituals of letting go of 2017 and imagining our dream and intentions for 2018. At each event I released illnesses, troubles and regrets into the fire. Then I wrote down my dreams and intentions for the next year in order to make this new year meaningful in order to experience a sense of happiness and joy. Writing down my dreams and intentions will help me revisit my intentions at the end of 2018. By this time in your life you have been through a few of these year end experiences and have made many new year transitions in your life. But more than just a new year reflection, transitions are a major part of our process of living day to day.
However, you may not have considered that your birth, the beginning of your life, was your very first transition. Your birth is similar to opening to the transition of this new year. Each year is a new opportunity to be “born again”. Beyond your birth the next and final transition in your life is the major transition of experiencing your death. Dying is like releasing the old year. These are the two major transitions that are the most important moments in your life and each is a major transition of the purpose and meaning of your existence. Amazingly, beyond these two markers we go through beginnings and endings all through our life in the form of minor to major transitions never thinking that if there is a beginning of a transition there is always an ending.
Consider for yourself these two major moments of transition in your life. I am fascinated by the rituals that exist at the birth of life. A pregnant mother begins to nest and gather what is needed for the arrival of the baby. Whereas a conscious dying person reverses the process, instead of gathering their nest they give things away and get practical matters in order for their family so they can complete their life.
Another similarity of these two transitions is that a new mother may wonder if she has room in her heart to love the new being when her baby arrives. The dying person wonders how to let go of the ones they love.
In both the birthing and dying process fear and confusion can interfere with these transitions. These same fears occur with the mother frightened of the pain of birthing and the same fear in the death process for the person dying as well as for the family and the caregivers. It is surrender and letting go that are needed both for dying and birthing. In the end, you can experience the positive nature of both these major transitions if you prepare for them, just as we prepare for all the minor transitions in our lives.
As I’ve indicated above, in each of the birth and death transitions there is a need to preparation. Let me give you an example of a wonderful end of life preparation for a dying person. I received a beautiful note from Meriel who had read my book Embracing the End of Life. Meriel gave an incredible description of how the information from the book allowed Meriel to help her dear friend make her transition consciously and in peace. Meriel said, “the suggestions in the book of what a dying person close to death would want to hear was especially important”. She also included the idea that, “planning how one would like to orchestrate their final days/passing and after death is seemingly so important and not just the legalities but all the details of one’s choice of environment and the people that will be there.”
We make lots of preparations for having a baby but how about making preparations for the end of our life. Meriel showed the importance of preparation for her dear friend.
For the transitions coming in this new year remember it is the preparation, the thought and the awareness that will help you prepare for your final transition. A very blessed New Year to each of you.