Posts

How Do You Face Transitions in Your Life in This New Year?

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.

Patt sunflowers

The Great Adventure from Birth to Death

It probably took around nine months for you to be born here on earth. As you were growing in your mother’s womb you were not terribly aware of what was happening in your parent’s life.  Well, as you can imagine they were making important preparations for your arrival. For your great adventure, your parents were building a wonderful nest for you with toys, clothes, etc.  For some your mother had to wait more than nine months or you may have popped out early. She had to become very patient and adaptable for your intended arrival time.

Very similar to your birth is another major event in life which is your death.  In contrast to building a nest at birth, at the time of death you are letting go of the nest of things you have collected over the years. Like birth, death also has its own time as to when it arrives.

Both of these transitions cannot be controlled. Your pregnant mother may feel that your body has a mind of its own as you grow in the womb. The dying person may experience the dying of the body as something they cannot control.

As the time comes for your birth, your mother may worry about the process of giving birth, “Will it hurt? Will I like you when you arrive? What will you be like?” Also your mother worries, “Will I have supportive, nurturing, people to help me?” She may have feelings of fear and growing anxiety. In the same reality, the dying person as they approach death may have similar anxiety with many of the same questions. The truth is that the body knows how to give birth. If interventions are kept to a minimum the process of birth has its own rhythm and process. If there is too many interventions the birth process can become very difficult. In the same way too many medical interventions can prolong the dying process and interrupt the natural inner experience of the dying person.

As with the birthing process, fear and confusion by family and caregivers about what is happening as dying progresses can not only interfere with the process of the person giving birth to their dying, but can create uncertainty and inappropriate actions from the family and caregivers.

Surrender, patience and letting go are needed in both birthing and dying.  In the end as you go through the positive nature of this transition called dying, no one will be able to change the way you feel or how to deal with your fear or uncertainty except yourself. Learning to face your death without fear is like learning to be separated from your mother at birth and facing the fear of a confusing world.

Just as we have the gift of birth we have the gift of our death. Both birth and death and what happens in between we call our life. Learning to accept all of it including death is the great adventure. Kahil Gibran in his book, The Prophet said, “You would know the secret of death, but how shall you find it unless you see it in the heart of life.”

the adventure of life as a sunflower

In my book, Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying and Awakening, I have created a guidebook to help us prepare for dying and accept death as part of this great adventure of life.

Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening will be released in September 2017. I invite you to pre-order now on Amazon.com.