My how time flies. I can’t believe it’s almost July. I’ve often wondered if it’s true that time seems to go by faster as we get older. It certainly has seemed that way to me, but of course it doesn’t. There’s still 24 hours in a day. What I’ve come to realize more fully is that when time went really slowly, it was when we were children. We had fewer responsibilities and we played a lot more than we worked.
As adolescence, young adulthood, and full adulthood gained their lead on us, we are faced with many responsibilities – not just work and financial commitments, but also the culpability we have toward ourselves. As we age, we give more thought to who we are, why we’re here, and where are we going? We worry a lot more: about our children, our retirement, our health, and depending on how old you are, our death.
Death becomes much more of a reality, the older you get. And it’s not as morbid a thought as one might think. It’s interesting to me that one of the most taboo subjects to talk about is death. And yet, it happens to all of us. It’s like the elephant in the room. I went into a bookstore a while back and it was a very hot day. An older man came in and the owner of the store said, “I understand it’s a hot one out there.” The gentleman replied, “Sure is, but it’s better than the alternative” (in other words, dying.) Of course, I had to ‘pipe up’ and say, “Who knows? Maybe not,” which was followed by 2 people looking at me as if I had 2 heads.
And I guess I did have 2 heads because I have 2 minds about the subject of death. On the one hand, I know that all of us have lived many times before, so the death experience isn’t new to any of us. On the other hand, WE DON’T REMEMBER IT! Therefore, there is an element of fear of the unknown. Most people tell me they’re not as much afraid of death, but of dying and what that will entail. I would have to agree with that, but I think there’s also a twinge of fear about the dying experience and what it’s going to feel like.
I never knew when I started this newsletter that I was going to talk about the most un-talked about subject in the world. I had a whole other topic, but this is where my mind is going and my fingers on the laptop are following suit.
I have to admit, since I’m turning 70 this year, I actually think about death quite a bit. Knowing how quickly time passes, I could have very little time left in my life. My mother died at 82, that would mean only 12 more years if I followed her time line, which I have no intention of doing. But it’s an eye opening moment when one realizes how life goes by in a flash. And that’s why I’m thinking of death more often: because I’m thinking of life more often . . . and I like that.
There is an exercise I do in my workshops that is so very thought provoking. It’s a visualization that asks the participant to look at their life as a movie. So you picture the day you were born until the present day. See it as a quick time film. You may linger in a few places, but just let the pictures in your mind roll forward as you go through your childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and adulthood until you get to the present day. Then stop! Take a deep breath, and then see your life as a movie from today to the day of your death. See it as you want it to be. Put in every nuance of what it is you would love your life to be until the day you leave this Earth. Then stop and take a deep breath.
Now ask yourself this question: What would I have to let go of NOW in order to fulfill the future life I have envisioned for myself? Whew! That’s a big question, but an important one. And for me, that is the only value of thinking about death. It helps us to think more about our life and what we want for ourselves. Our life is precious. I ask myself: What do I want to change? How am I going to change? When am I going to make that change? What do I want to do before I die? What do I want to continue doing now until I die? What is important to us? How would we like to be remembered? Are we living our truth?
So, when I catch myself thinking about death, I automatically think about the fullness of life. There is no sense of macabre in that moment. It’s just a case of becoming more present in my every day life. And then it occurred to me just now that this is why time goes so slowly for children: because they are totally engrossed in the present moment. There is no past, no yesterday. There is no future tomorrow going on in their heads. They’re just being happy in what’s happening today. Right now. They are just awake in the present moment, until they’re not.
It should come as no surprise to me, and hopefully to all of us, that when I stay more awake in the present moment, it seems as if the day lasts longer. I know it doesn’t, but it’s a wonderful thing not to have my mind running in and out of the past or the future. It’s a wonderful thing to stay right here, right now. I feel more peaceful, calm, and not in a hurry to make the day or anything, go away. I’m just accepting where I am, no matter what that is. It’s where Life really happens, because it’s all we have.
And if I can continue to keep remembering this more often, when the time comes for me to leave, it will just be another present moment that I am embracing with love, peace and joy. Nothing to worry about. Just another adventure on the horizon waiting to welcome me with open arms.
I have been thinking a lot lately of what it means to get to the next level of our growth, not only individually, but as a species. This is partly so because I will be giving a weekend workshop at the Sophia Institute in Charleston, S. C. on June 22 and 23 on this particular topic. I hope you will consider joining me for a fun-filled and insightful workshop. But, in general, I do think a lot about going deeper within myself and getting to the next level of my growth. I do this because each time I move through one level to the next, my happiness, my peace, and my wisdom expands exponentially. My life just keeps getting better and better no matter what is going on personally or what is going on in the world. I have learned that for me, getting to the next level of one’s growth is what being here is all about.
I’ve come to realize that life is all about levels. Levels are like stages. We go through various stages in our life, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We start out as infants, then move to toddlers and young children, then school-age children, teenagers, young adults, middle-age adults, and finally old adults. And then what? Then we die and become youthful spirits who eventually plan out their next lifetime based on the next level they need to get to in order to evolve. And we repeat this cycle over and over again, until we finally start to awaken and remember that we’re here on this Earth plane to grow as a human being and evolve as a soul.
This is the best reason I can give to answer the question of: “Why bother working to get to know myself better? I know enough. I don’t have time for that. I have too many other things to do and it takes too much effort. I’ve got a life to live, you know. So for someone who may think like that, my answer will always be the same: “The reason to consciously work on yourself to get to another deeper level in your life is because it’s why you’re here in the first place. We are here to get to the next level of your growth. There is nothing more important than for us to evolve.”
Now, I know that most of us don’t remember this consciously. But we don’t need to know the details of why we’re here. What we do need to know is that working consciously on our self and getting to the next level of our growth is paramount to our happiness, our health, our relationships and our evolvement as a soul.
So much of our identity is wrapped up as a human being that we’ve forgotten that the life we’re living is only temporary. Well, we haven’t totally forgotten. In the back of our minds, we know we’re going to die, but most of us push that thought out of our mind. And yet, if we thought about our impermanence more often, we might just think more about our life in the present moment and how to make it a more joyful one while we still have time.
And so the question I ask myself quite often is: What is it that I want more of and how do I get it? And as I’m entering the last quadrant of my life, I no longer want more things. I have enough. I want more wisdom. I want to be less fearful. I want to feel safer in the world. I want to love more deeply. I want to give myself away. I want fewer regrets. I want to feel loved by others. I want outbursts of laughter. I want less tears. I want to move my body more. I want to love my body more. And yet I also want to keep remembering that I am not body. More than anything, I want to remember that I am a soul first and a human second. And in that remembering, I want to live that truth as best as I can.
In order to have all these things I want, I have to be willing to work on myself and get to the next level of who I am and what I am all about. And if I can do that consciously, I am way ahead of the game. I have found that working on myself consciously and lovingly has helped me get to levels I never knew were there. And what I have wanted so badly has come to fruition. So, the joy and the laughter, the letting go of worry, and the feeling safe in the world has come to pass because I feel safer within myself due to working on getting to the next level of my growth.
And I’ve come to realize that getting to the next level of one’s self may not always be a totally new level we haven’t experienced before. It can be. But it can also be a new level of understanding of an old issue. There are so many levels to get to. And one of the greatest discoveries of working on ourselves is that the more we practice, the easier it gets. And the easier it gets, the more fun we have working on ourselves. And then the next level gets easier.
And before we know it, we find that we feel lighter and freer and more joyful and loving. And when we put that kind of energy out into the world, it has impact on the positive mass consciousness that needs us so badly.
Knowing ourselves on a deeper level and experiencing new levels of knowing who we are is, in my humble opinion, the most exciting adventure of our lives. I hope to see you at The Sophia Institute in Charleston in June to continue our growth together. For more information on my workshop or to register, go here.
The other day as I was going to work, a thought popped into my head, and I always listen to the thoughts that pop into my head. I do this because if it’s a negative thought, I know it’s my ego trying to drum up some drama. But if it’s positive, I hear it as the voice of my soul telling me something I need to hear. And the thought that popped into my head was this: “Something wonderful is going to happen today.” Wow. I loved that thought. I immediately felt a burst of energy. “I wonder what it is?” was my next thought. I had a renewed sense of excitement because when I get those kind of thoughts, they always come true.
I was actually headed to the doctor’s office for my blood work before I started my work day, and was running a little behind. I began to notice that I was hitting every single green light on the way there. This rarely happens and I arrived in record time. “I wonder if THIS is the wonderful thing,” I thought. After all, it was a little thrilling sailing through those green lights with ease. I barely sat down when the nurse called me in. “What, already?” I thought. I was immediately introduced to the new phlebotomist who would be taking blood that day. I told her I usually have the needle put in my hand because my veins are deep and thin. I have had many phlebotomists who want to be the hero and try sticking me in the arm, but her response was, “Great.” And within one minute I was finished with hardly feeling a pinch. And I thought to myself, “Hmm.I wonder if THIS is the wonderful thing that is happening today?” After all, green lights, no waiting in a doctor’s office, and no pain being stuck with a needle isn’t such a bad day. So far everything felt pretty wonderful. BUT, is it the really big wonderful thing that is going to happen today?
As I got to work and opened the car door, I stopped in my tracks. The sweetest little song was coming from a little bird in the tree next to my car. Its melody was so intricate and beautiful, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of joy and gratitude in my heart. I just listened and thanked it for its wonderful gift. I then did what I always do when I get to work. I open the main door, and say hello aloud to my beautiful office space. “Hello my dear office. Thank you for being here.” And I realized that I feel the same thing I always feel when I enter my office space: I’m happy and peaceful. I love being there.
As the day passed – and it was a long day, I honored each and every person that came hour after hour and I felt thankful for them all. It’s like each one of them has their own special ingredient they offer for a beautiful stew at the end of the day. Once again I felt gratitude for their story and our work together. “THIS has got to be the wonderful thing that is going to happen today,” I thought.
As soon as I got home I greeted my family and went upstairs while my husband prepared dinner, (now that’s quite a wonderful thing), and I did some painting and came downstairs to a beautiful dinner prepared with love. And after dinner, I remembered the thought that had popped into my head that morning. And I realized that the wonderful thing that I thought might be big and shiny or profound, never came in that form. Instead, this had been one of the most wonderful days of my life because I paid attention to the wonderful things that were already there. The traffic lights, the new nurse, the lack of pain, the amazing patients I have, the job and office that I love, a husband and pets that I love and adore, good and healthy food prepared for me while I find joy in creating. . . you know. . . a usual day. A normal day that was no longer normal. The “something wonderful that was going to happen to me,” was not something outside of me. It was a heightening of my awareness of just how beautiful life already is and how wonderful each day is if we just recognize it as such. Can you imagine if we were to do this every day? That kind of gratitude and awareness could change the world.