A number of years ago when i was working with psychotherapist Devers Branden, she put me through her "deathbed" exercise.
I was asked to clearly imagine myself lying on my own deathbed, and to fully realize the feeling connected with dying and saying good-bye. Then she ask me to mentally invite the people in my life who were important to me to visit my bedside, one at time.As i visualized each friend and relative coming in to visit me, I had to speak to them out oud.I had to say them what i wanted them to know as i was dying.
As i spoke to each person, I could feel my voice breaking. Somehow, i couldn't help breaking down.My eyes were feel with tears.I experienced such a sense of loss.It was not my own life i was mourning ; it was the love i was losing.To be more exact, it was a communication of love thad had never been there.
During this difficult exercise, i really got to see how much I'd left out my life.How many wonderful feelingsi had about my children,for example,that I'd never explicity expressed.At the end of the exercise,i was an emotional mess.I had rerely cried that hard in my life.But when those emotions cleared, a wonderful things happened.I was clear.I knew what was really important, and who really mattered to me.I understood for the first time what George Patton meant when he said, " Death can be more exciting than life."
From that day on i vowed not to leave to chance.I made up my mind never to leave anything unsaid.i wanted to live as if i might die any moment.The entire experience altered the way I've related to people ever since.And the great point of the exercise wasn't lost on me: We don't have to wait until we're actually near death to receive these benefits of being mortal. We can create the experienced anytime we want.
A few years later when my mother lay dying in a Hospital in Tucson,I rushed to her side to hold her hand and repeat to her all the love and gratitude i felt for who she had been for me.When she finally died, my grieving was very intense,but very short.In a matter of days I felt that everything great about my mother had enterd into me and would live there as loving spirit forever.
A year and a half before my father death, i began to send him letters and poems about his contributions to my life.He lived his last month and died in the grip of chronic illness, so communicating and getting through to him in person wasn't always easy.But i always felt good that he had those letters and poems to read.Once he called me after I'd sent him a Fathers Day poem,and he said," Hey,I guess I wasn't such a bad father after all.''
Poet William Blake warned us about keeping our thoughts locked up until we die."When thought is closed in caves," he wrote," then love will show its roots in deepest hell."
Pretending you aren't going to die is detrimental to your enjoyment of life.It is detrimental in the same way that it would be detrimental for a basketball player to pretend there was no end to the game he was playing.That player would reduce his intensity, adopt a lazy playing style, and of course, end up not having fun at all.Without an end, there is no game.Without being conscious of death, you can't be fully aware of the gift of life.
Yet many of us (including myself) keep pretending that our life's game will have no end.We keep planning to do great things some day when we feel like it. We assign our goals and dreams to that imagenary island in the sea that Denis Waitley calls "Someday Isle" in his book Psychology of Winning.We find ourselves saying, "Someday I''ll do that."
Confronting our own death doesn't have to wait until we run out of life.In fact,being able to vividly imagine our last hours on our deathboad creates a paradoxical sensation: the feeling of being born all over again - the first step to fearless self motivation " people kiving deeply," wrote poet and diarist Anais Nin," " have no fear of death."
And as Bob Bylan has sung, "He who is not busy being born is busy dying."
credit to : STEVE CHANDLER & SCOTT RICHARDSON