How do we prepare for our death or the death of friendships, of relationships, of a job or career?
Creation and death are part of life, yet we often do not prepare for the death of anything. While we spend time working towards creating new life, new careers and new relationships, we often don’t prepare for the end of life, careers or relationships. Frankly, if we are going to live the life that we crave, then we need to start preparing for the endings in the life that we have now, whether it is our physical life, our relationship life or our work life. We are skilled at preparing for the change of seasons of the earth, let’s get skilled at preparing for the cycle of life, for births and deaths and for the best living of every moment in between.
For our physical death, we should do the legal thing and the financial thing, making sure that others are taken care of and that the dissolution of our estate is about as painless as it can be for those we leave behind. There are several practical matters to address – how to dispose of your body – donation, cremation, burial. What’s next? The sharing of the estate – who gets what. Then the distribution of your stuff – are there certain items that you want specific people to receive? This is one way that we let others know that we honor our relationship with them. Many people use letters to do this more specifically. It’s a final way to share your love and your wisdom with those you loved in this lifetime. Even though this is all is a straight enough process, we often hear of people dying without a will and how that made everything more devasting emotionally, economically and legally for those left behind. Use that thought to kick yourself into action.
I get it. I have procrastinated as well. It’s, yes, admitting that we will die. It’s the paying attention to the details that must be thought thru. Not to mention, it’s often difficult bringing it up with family too! Kick yourself in the butt and just do it! Choose a date for completion and get started, sooner rather than later. You can find forms online and complete them yourself, or if your finances are complicated, make an appointment with a lawyer to get this process started. I find that the best time of year to attend to this process is in the fall before All Souls Day on Nov 1st. October isn’t just about costumes and ghost stories. Since it is a public holiday, it is easy to remember that each year we can update our will, our medical directives etc. It is also a time to meditate not just on death and dying but on how we want to live the life that we still have. To die without providing for those we love is neither wise nor loving.
Then what do we do to prepare for the dissolution of a friendship or relationship? Sometimes, there are legalities as in a prenuptial or business partnership agreements. We hope for the best and insure against the worst. Sometimes these dissolutions occur when feelings/emotions not expressed build up over time, then bang the emotional explosion occurs. Explosions cause reactions and sometimes the possibility of change has passed. Sometimes it is because our needs for each other shift. Other times it is that we forgot to love the other, actively love the other. To shift this means to shift to acting from the state of love. It is amazing how barriers melt when we act as if love is present. Sometimes real love arises again and sometimes acting in the state of love allows the separation process to be respectful and honoring for all parties. Perhaps these dissolutions occur because the vision that we held for the friendship or relationship, just doesn’t resonate for each other anymore. In most cases, before the time when change is impossible, we can pay attention to our sentient intelligence which informs us about what is life-enhancing or life-defeating for us. Then we must act on this information.
It is our sentient intelligence, which includes sensations, sensitivities, emotions, energies that arise from primarily from our solar plexus and our heart. This intelligence gives us information about what is occurring within and outside of our bodies 24/7. You have already experienced registers for situations/events/people that were life-enhancing as well as those that were life-defeating. Start paying attention to your sentient intelligence registers. They let you get out of life-defeating situations earlier and help you move towards more life-enhancing situations/events/relationships.
Now let’s look at starting a new relationship or friendship differently, so that both parties agree on a vision for a craved future together and over time can more easily hold each other to a realignment or reassessment. How do we create a vision where all parties agree on and hold? Over 2000 years ago the Essenes believed that our future can be created by two activities: 1- holding a vision in our mind of our craved future and 2- holding the experience of the end-state emotion in our hearts. The end-state emotion is how we expect to feel when we have our vision already manifesting in our lives. Then the Essenes advised us to act in the present as if the vision is already so. The end-state emotion is a valuable ingredient because we may not know exactly how the future will look but we do know how we want to feel. So even though the appearance may be different than imagined, we know that we have achieved our craved future when the end-state emotion is present and deep.
Do you practice experiencing that end-state emotion that you crave? To start practicing experiencing an emotion deliberately, the emotion of gratitude is a great one to start with. Feel the emotion of gratitude. If you can’t pull it up easily, then go to a memory of when you were grateful. Practice feeling grateful. It works the same for any life-enhancing state or emotion that we crave. Feel it sentiently. Then keep bringing it back to your consciousness to experience. It’s amazing how this practice of deliberately experiencing an emotion like gratitude somehow makes that emotion spontaneously be more active in your life.
Now, what role is your mind playing in this process? Our minds hold the vision of our craved future. This is good and maybe not so good. Let’s remember first that our brains are the most malleable organ in the human body. You can create new neural networks by just learning and/or experiencing something new. Yet our neural networks can also be like frozen ruts so we essentially are on ‘automatic’ per our reactions and our problem solving. If we don’t introduce new information/experiences into our lives, we repeat our historical habits and nothing changes. In those cases, we don’t see other perspectives or problem solve differently. If we continue to stand in our historical views and act from our historical habits, we are not going to create new life-enhancing relationships. What would happen in your relationships if you listened and responded to your sentient intelligence? What would you do or think differently if you provided your mind with new information or new experiences? How would your life be different?
How do we prepare for the dissolution of a job or career? Again, here, creating the vision and end-state emotion will help you move towards what you crave as a job or a career. Once you are clear about what you crave in a job or career, paying attention to those sentient intelligence registers can tell you if a particular job does or does not move you toward your craved future. Your sentient intelligence can tell you if there are changes in the business that don’t support you anymore. Once I had a new manager who, in turns out, did not believe that my function was needed. He didn’t say that out right, and he managed to eliminate my position within a year. If I had paid better attention to those internal registers of mine, I might have been better prepared when the announcement came. I may have already imagined my new career or job.
Pay most attention to those registers that let you know what is occurring within yourself. Tell yourself the truth. Maybe this job is not a career. Maybe you have gone as far as you can go in a certain career. Use your imagination to flesh out other possibilities for income and growth. I realize that looking for another job is not most people’s favorite activity. We often persist in jobs that are no longer a growth opportunity for us because we don’t want to go thru the ‘job hunt’ again. What if you spent time imagining how you might love to work with others, or with other types of supervisors or managers, or within another profession? Dream it, imagine it! Research might be in order or volunteer work in the field that you are considering. Paying attention to your sentient intelligence registers will make the whole process be both more informative and reliable.
The birth/death cycle is part of life. We prepare for births and we need to prepare for the deaths in our lives. It’s time to pay attention to these beginnings and endings, so that we can truly enjoy all those moments in between birth and death.