When we are young, so many of us stop following our own internal compass towards the things that cause us to feel alive in favor of the approval we get from adults around us when we do what they want us to do instead. To survive this self-abandonment, we tell ourselves that those things they want us to do make us happy. But what really makes us feel good (like a drug covering up the pain) is having their approval. But eventually, just like a drug, their approval cannot numb out the pain. The side effects become too much to live with. We realize that we may have external approval for the choices we have made in life, but something is missing. We do not know what we like and don’t like. We don’t know what we want.
If we try to numb out this internal pain for long enough and continue to ignore our internal guidance system, our soul will create a crisis for us to try to get us back on track. And sometimes, this crisis brings us face to face with death. We are match to this experience because we have been preventing ourselves from really living anyway. We have been living a waking death. I have spent countless hours at the bedside of people who are terminally ill for this very reason. And those who tend to recover are the ones who can manage to let the visitor of death educate them about life. The ones who let a brush with death bring them back to life. The bottom line is that when a person is terminally ill, priorities change. And they change into what they always should have been. The absolute gift of surviving a brush with death is that you can make this change in priorities without being physically ill or dying. You then have a shot at really living.
Some of us are catastrophe thinkers. We feel we are always mentally and emotionally in a life or death scenario. And we are always living life like tomorrow may never come. The downside to this is that we are not happy because we are always in a state of fear. If you are this kind of person, I urge you to watch 2 of my videos on YouTube. The first is titled “How To Stop Worrying”. The second is titled “How To Stop Expecting The Worst”. The upside to this is that we often live our lives like tomorrow will never come. And it is this mentality that we can teach the world. It would benefit all of us, but especially those of us who feel like our life is routine, empty, stuck and unfulfilling, to start to live our life like tomorrow may never come. So, I’m going to give you a practice. This practice is to be used as a tool to get your life back on track. I urge you to throw yourself into it with vengeance.
Close your eyes and imagine that you died yesterday. It’s over. How did you die? Try to see the way that you died and try to see who was there with you when you died. What circumstances surrounded your death? Spend some time really making this imagined experience believable and real to you. And when you are ready, I want you to ask yourself the following questions…
- What do I regret the most about my life?
- Who do I most want to say I love you to?
- What am I incomplete with, or what do I desperately wish I could have gotten complete with before I died?
- What was I the most afraid of? And if I weren’t afraid of those things, how would my life have been different?
- Regardless of what my priorities were while I was living, looking back on life, what do I now see is the most important thing in my life?
- Was there anything I worried about that in the end did not really matter once I died?
- Is there anything I needed to say to someone, but didn’t?
- Was there a time in my life that I chose something else over love? Would I have made a different choice?
- What am I the most glad I did in my life? What was the best decision I made?
- What were the top three best memories of my life and why were they the best memories?
- What fed my spirit, what did I love doing that I didn’t do enough of? Think about those things that make you fall to your knees in awe or give you goosebumps and make you feel full of life. Why didn’t I make that thing or those things the center of my life?
- Knowing now that I could chose anywhere on earth, where would I have moved to and lived?
- What will people remember me for? What legacy am I leaving behind? (Keep in mind that the truth that arises may not be a positive one)
- If I could have chosen, what legacy would I have liked to leave behind and be remembered for?
- Now that I am dead and looking back at my life, if I could have written a bucket list, (essentially a list of things I want to experience, accomplish or do before I die) would be on that list?
- What life that other people lived, was I envious of and didn’t give myself the permission to go after?
- Now that you are dead, what advice would you give to anyone who is living, especially your children?
- Looking at life now that I am dead, what would I say is the meaning of life?
- If I were given one more shot at life, what would I do differently?
- If I were given one more shot at life, what would I now have the courage to do that I didn’t have the courage to do before?
Now imagine for a minute that an angel or some other transcendent spirit being comes to you. Imagine this being informing you that it is going to grant you a second chance at life. You are going to wake up to live another day. Imagine this being doing so. And as you open your eyes, imagine that you are coming back to life after having died. You get to live life from scratch. Everything was put into perspective. Look back over the answers you gave to the questions you were asked while you were dead.
I am not concerned about you making the right decisions for your life now that you have been handed this perspective. You know based on the answers you gave what you need to do and what you need to change and you even have the awareness you needed in order to be brave enough to make those changes. Make those changes and make them today. Your world is being created through you and the decisions you make every single day. You may think that you have lots of time. But the truth is, you can’t know that. The truth is, you may not be alive in an hour or a day. So there is no time to waste. You cannot afford to live a minute of your life thinking or saying or doing something that is not worthy of your life. You may have a list five miles long of things you think you should be doing. But would those things really matter if you were dead?
This is your life and you came here to live it. And no soul on earth came to this life to play it safe. None of us are getting out of this life alive. So all that will happen if you don’t follow your passion to the ends of the earth, including all the risk, is to arrive at death safely. Which is not much of an accomplishment if you ask me. All of us need to start living our lives as if next year may never come. So if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do with today?