I hear my clients say…..
“When I’m driving, I am terrified I’m going to be in a horrible accident.”
“I fear I’m going to find out I have cancer.”
I hear a lot of worry from my clients about death anxiety and health anxiety. These are really scary thoughts that are ultimately about feeling totally out of control. But on a larger scale, accepting our death as part of life has a lot to do with how well we’re living.
I see a correlation in these anxious thoughts about dying from those who feel like they’re not living their truth or living their life to the fullest. That something is missing or they’re waiting to make change. They’re waiting for the right time to start something. Start a new job, start writing, start painting, take that trip, improve their relationship, start living a full, joyful life.
When we are not living our purpose; our truth with a capital “T”, there’s a part of us that feels like we’re wasting time. That if suddenly we died tomorrow, we would feel like we didn’t do what we came here to do. That we left things undone.
The illusion is we all feel we have more time. So we learn to tolerate things that aren’t working. We think we have years ahead of us to change those things, fix those broken parts and pieces, take those leaps of faith – ‘we can do that later.’ ‘We have time.’
But then we lie awake at night and ruminate on how we’d escape if our car went off a bridge!
That’s our subconscious screaming at us to WAKE UP and start living! That the time to make change is NOW.
The other illusion is we have to do more and be more. We don’t. But, that said, there’s a dichotomy that lies in the balance between BE-ing present with what is and striving to realize our highest potential.
We find out where that line is drawn by tuning in to our intuitive knowing. Our gut level hunch will guide us here.
Ask yourself these questions and listen for the truth; am I living a wholehearted life? Am I doing what I came here to do? Am I living my life from love and not from a place of fear? When I wake up every morning, am I feeling a sense of purpose? When I go to sleep every night, can I gently remind myself that what I’m doing and who I am is enough?
If we’re not living a fully self-actualized life, if we’re just tolerating a job for the paycheck, or we’re longing to do something more and we’re not doing it, I think death feels a lot more frightening to us.
For years I worked with hospice patients. I was a music therapist, bringing my harp to the bedside. Those sessions were so intimate and sacred. So quiet and profound.
Ironically, working with the dying, taught me how to live.
I learned that life is made up of relationships and simple connections. It’s all about the moments in between the big events. I learned about how the joy of life lies in the sanctity of the pause, the moments we pause and take notice to imprint something beautiful. The expression on someone’s face. The wonder of nature. The discovery of a child learning something new. The color of the sunset. The sound of the ocean. The gratitude for what is.
I know this much is true, the fears we spin about looming death become less invasive the more we focus on living our life in a rich, full way.