Why would anyone want to take time to explore death, dying and grief?
Believe it or not, a fair amount of people are actually hungry to talk about death. However, some feel odd about wanting to discuss, some have not been given the opportunity to do so and others are unsure just about how to go about engaging in these conversations.
Death exploration can lead to a healthier outlook on life. A Necessary Conversation uses The 3-E's (explore, empower, enrich) the life, and end of life journey's. We have discovered that when people engage in these conversations, and do work around the fears, anxieties and wishes, more serenity and peace is found when they experience these life events.
Most of us have some kind of anxiety around death, dying and grief, but when our society denies or ignores these natural parts of life, we become ill-prepared for the emotions and reactions.
Death explorations allows us, in a safe place, to discover what our beliefs systems are, what are wishes are when entering end-of-life, while sharing these discoveries with our loved ones, and asking them if they are able to walk with us, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
We cannot change what we do not acknowledge. And when we don't acknowledge end-of-life matters, we deny ourselves and our loved ones the amazing journey to be present when the time comes.
Time - we assume we have all the time in the world.
We go about our daily activities, sometimes numb as to how we went from one activity to another.
Why is it important to value time?
Most importantly, because we do not know just how much time we, or our loved ones have left.
It is shocking when someone we know or love dies unexpectedly. We are left confused, shocked, angry. It is terribly hard to understand that one minute a person is on this earth, and the next they are not.
When someone has an illness or a drawn out death, again, we are often shocked at the finality of death. Some say, "but I knew it was coming, why is it so hard"?
Death is why we get to value time.
During life, and especially at the end-of-life, we tend to be gifted with an awareness of just how precious time really is.
We are all very busy, and as time passes on, there seems to be more commitments and requirements put additional constraints on our time. To be mindful of just how valuable, and limited, are time is, takes practice and willingness.
There is so much wisdom at the end-of-life, and the following article articulates 9 regrets that dying speak about. Their knowledge of what truly is important is so valuable for those living, if we just slow down and be mindful, that we too, can reduce the regrets of wasting time by focusing on:
Being more loving to the people who matter most.
Being a better spouse, parent or child.
Not spending so much time working.
Taking more risks.
Being happier and enjoying life more.
Living your dream.
Taking better care of yourself.
Doing more for others.
Choosing more meaningful work.
A Necessary Conversation encourages everyone, especially those that are healthy, to "Live Death Aware" so you are being more present in time and focusing time with those people or events that are meaningful.
Money can buy a lot of stuff in our lives, but it cannot buy us more time when facing the end-of-life (EOL).
It is often said that no one (on their death bed) has ever stated...."I wish that I had spent more time at work".
However, what has often been witnessed as one nears EOL, is people stating:
Notice the words "I wish". These quotes are expressions of those dying, of wanting to re-do some things in their lives.
It is NEVER too late to begin to "Live Death Aware" and to chose to use The 3-E's to Explore, Empower, Enrich your life journey (which will include death).
Be wise and gain a deeper understanding of how valuable your time truly is.
What does using time wisely have to do with being death aware?Everything!
Unlike other precious commodities, time cannot be hoarded, collected or bought. We are all equally given the same 24 hours a day.
Time is freely given to use, to use how we wish (of course, this really only applies after we balance all of our daily responsibilities).
After we finish our daily requirements, if we are lucky, we have additional free time that we get to decide where and how we use it.
When one "Lives Death Aware", one is tapping into the acceptance that we truly have very limited time. With this awareness, and if one chooses, one gets to allocate time with people or events that bring joy and contentment. One is also more conscious of what depletes ones essence, and therefore, we have choices.
To "Live Death Aware" is to live in the moment, not rushing through the day, focusing on what matters, consciously bringing contentment into our lives and being able to give back to others in a meaningful way.
"How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives" - Annie Dillard
Learn new ways to help you "Live Death Aware"!
Time - it continues to go on, regardless of what is going on in our lives.
When I was younger, I felt as if time dragged on. I couldn't wait for time to pass, because I wanted to get older. Now that Im older (Im not old) I feel as if time is going by too quickly. I want to slow it down. I want to enjoy the little moments. I want to breathe and be (I think this is what they call living in the moment).
Learning to stay in the day, is not always an easy task. I have to work at it. However, as time has passed (no pun intended) I have been given the gift of some hard lessons to learn that once time leaves, I don't get a redo.
Time can teach me about life, that is if I am willing to set some valued time aside so I can pause and reflect, and at times, meditate, just how precious of a gift time is.
Hopefully you will find a quote or two that reminds you just how time is passing and to be in the moment as much as possible.
Here's my favorite:
"Time is free, but it's priceless.
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it you can never get it back."
– Harvey Mackay
Each of us are given the exact same amount of time ~
24 hours a day x 7 days a week = 168 hours a week.
This time is for us to use, how we wish (after we finish our obligations of family, job, commitments etc).
However, we often live our lives as if we have all the free time in the world, not paying too much attention to how much time we spend on things, events and with people, that do not necessarily fill our hearts and souls with contentment.
Often, it is only in retrospect, and normally after a death of a loved one, that we tend to see just how precious our free time is. For a period of time after a death, we recalibrate our lives to meet our priorities of just what is important in our lives.
When we take the time for stillness, by focusing on the gift of time, we begin to place much more significant value in this limited resource, realizing that we get to choose how and where we spent our free time.
When I went to a Death Doula Retreat in Texas, I was introduced, in a deeper context, just how paramount the contemplation of focusing on death, in the Buddhist practice, is.
Death awareness is not meant to be focus on the morbid, or the sadness of death. It is mean to bring awareness to the forefront, on just how fragile and impermanence is in life.
How often do we feel that we have unlimited time, giving no value to the fact that we do not know when are time will be up.
The contemplation of death can bring clarity - reminding us of how and where we allocate our limited time is important. Death brings time into focus.
Death awareness can also bring compassion into our lives, as we begin to realize that everyone, including those we dislike, are human, and none of us do this thing called life perfectly. We are all flawed human beings.
By exploring death, dying and grief, and our relationships to it, will only help us in the future with how we respond when facing these experiences. Through work, which at times, may feel hard, we will be able to transform our being into kind and compassion humans. This is what death awareness is!
Im often asked, "Why would anyone want to live death aware? It's totally creepy"!
I get it. It seems like a strange thing to participate in.
To "Live Death Aware" is contrary to our social norms, and it is a concept that we are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with.
Our society tends to keep death, dying and grief in the background of our lives. We, most often choose to keep it out, until absolutely necessary.
As humans, we think, talk about and plan for most big-events in our lives, and our loved ones lives, so why wouldn't we think, talk and plan for one of the major life-altering events, such as death?
Death is one of the few things we will cannot avoid in life, yet most of us going into these experiences with little support, knowledge and awareness.
To "Live Death Aware" is to gain understanding and knowledge through necessary conversations that will help you to discover what is important, and how you can support a loved one when they are dying.
Death is guaranteed cycle-of -life event, yet most of us are limited in our understanding of what death means to us, and how it can shape our lives for the better.
Death awareness helps us to gain a deep understanding on how our time on earth is limited & finite, therefore bringing immeasurable meaning to our lives now, while allowing us to get profound appreciation of what is truly important in how we spend our remaining time.
Live Death Aware through A Necessary Conversation.