Sometimes a peaceful passage needs permission

I was at the Sages Group of the Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle last week when reminded of a unique, lovely little book I discovered in Sedona about creating more peace and freedom around how we die.

The book is entitled Peaceful Passing: Die When You Choose with Dignity & Ease, by Robert S. Wood.

This is a most helpful book for people who desire to be well prepared for death – and take the matter – as much as that is possible – into their own hands. Wood uses material from Abraham’s work, which is channeled material, and keeps the topic of death “lighter.” He helps you see that when the time comes, you can help yourself gentle release your own life force and gradually “let go” into the next realm.

Wood begins his book like this: “This is the happiest little book you’ll ever read about death because it offers exciting good news. Like enlightened people worldwide, you can learn to take charge of your peaceful, natural dignified death. You can die without drugs or the stigma of suicide or euthanasia. It’s the ultimate solution to life’s universal problem,” and Wood goes on to share that it’s about gaining control over the end of your life.

This takes the “terror” away from dying and restores peace and freedom to the rest of your life as well. Makes sense, no?

This little book, Wood tells us, is the first of its kind to offer “a simple, natural, non-violent, dignified option for the peaceful self-delivery” that channeled beings from the other side suggest for us. He goes on to say that this is an ancient practice that’s been long forgotten by societies. It’s the “path of passing” that’s decided primarily by the individual; it’s for people who believe that we have the “absolute right to decide how and when we die.”

I particularly like the letter that Wood composed for his friend Tom who was in the process of dying in a hospital. He knew the man and his wife as dear personal friends, and he saw how the two of them were struggling around Tom’s final transition. He offered to Tom’s wife Mary that he could write a letter to encourage Tom to “let go,” if and when he personally felt the time was right. He begins this letter on p. 27 with these words:

Dear Tom,

From what Mary tells me, you’re lying around in bed loafing. We miss you out here on the trail. It would be great to have you back hiking with us again. …

            But if you’re just too darn tired and it’s not worth the struggle, it’s okay to just kick back   and let go.

Wood goes on to share personal things with Tom, reminding him that he’s “got nothing left to prove.” And if there’s not much left to look forward to any longer, and it’s getting to be too much trouble to “hang on, why not take a rest?” he quips. “It’s okay to say ‘enough’!”

In essence, it’s time to give yourself permission to let go and enjoy the huge “relief at the end of the trail. You’ve earned it,” he suggests, as a great friend would, to Tom. “Just go to sleep” and decide “to wake up in heaven.” Wood ends this letter of encouragement with this closing:

We’ll look forward, dear friend, to seeing you again — on this side or the other — here or hereafter.

            So be good to yourself and do what deep down feels best.

            Happy trails, Your buddy, Bob (p. 28)

Two days after Wood wrote this letter to Tom, his wife called to let him know that Tom had died, peacefully, in his sleep.

Sometimes we humans just need to know that our loved ones will be “okay” with our big decisions in life. And it helps when we can hear from them their perspective on what we are dealing with. This comes up again and again around the topic of dying.

If you are the kind of person who believes in his or her “right to decide how and when we die,” I suggest you take a look at Robert Wood’s book.

Although Wood makes it sound very easy, perhaps we sometimes make death more complicated than it needs to be?

He shares that his book can show you how to die consciously and deliberately, when you desire to, rather than unconsciously or when you feel that you have to.

Wood’s conclusion is: “Just go to sleep intending to wake up on the other side. If you desire or need is great enough, you can make the transition at a moment’s notice. No advance preparation in necessary – although it helps.”

Have we piqued your curiosity? If so I invite you to check out: Peaceful Passing. It’s a book like no other out there – at least at this time.

Maria will facilitate another one of her classes – on transitions and the essential oils – today, at 5:30 PM at the Brilliant Moon. For details, call: 868-2190.

The Last Adventure of Life (Australian Edition)

The Last Adventure of Life (Australian Edition)

 


Spiritual guide may help the dying take their next step

As the time of your or your loved one’s death nears, it may be helpful to keep a picture of your beloved spiritual teacher or guide nearby. I sometimes recommend to people who are virtually bedridden that they might place a picture of Jesus, Mother Mary, Buddha, or their favorite spiritual guide on the wall by the end of their bed. This way, whenever their eyes are open, they will see and be reminded of their beloved one, to whom they may well be returning.

I had an interesting experience with a gentleman who was on our hospice over a lengthy period. I actually got to know Jerry’s dear wife much better than I did Jerry, because she was very open and curious about spiritual matters. I sensed she wanted to learn and grow through her husband’s experience. About a week before Jerry died, she told me he had asked her for a picture of Jesus to place at the foot of his bed. She had found a lovely, rather unusual, framed picture of Jesus that they had in their possession. She believed it gave Jerry much comfort to see Jesus at the end of his bed as he prepared to enter the spiritual realm.

In another situation, I recall meeting the wife of a gentleman I came to know on hospice. The gentleman was in a room in an adult family home and could no longer speak. However, I got to meet his wife one day and she told me about the beautiful picture that was hanging on the wall at the foot of his bed. It turned out that his wife had wanted to find something to place there that would remind him of where he was going. She searched in religious bookstores, but found nothing. Then, when she was in a Michaels craft store, she found a beautiful poster of the Earth Angel, by Josephine Wall, a British artist. She decided it was exactly what she was looking for and posted it at the foot of her husband’s bed.

I was so taken by Josephine’s “Earth Angel” and its beauty that I went out and found a copy of it at a Michael’s myself and mounted it on a strong, wooden purple frame. It became my muse for this work. Eventually, I was able to get permission from Josephine’s agent, and Earth Angel is now on the cover of my second book, The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? It is a reminder to me of the peace and harmony that is coming to planet earth, especially as we do our “work” around death, grief, and the mystery of life – releasing the fear that still remains, of the unknown.

Chanting and repeating the name of a spiritual leader or guide is also said to be a powerful way to die. The person who is dying can do this, if he or she is conscious and desires to do so. Otherwise, in planning ahead, a loved one who is with the person as death nears might practice this on the loved one’s behalf. Anya Foos-Graber, author of Deathing: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life, writes about this technique in Chapter 23 of Experiencing the Soul. She says that invoking the name of a spiritual being or master, one who is “one with God,” is a meaningful way to approach death.

In response to the question, “Why is the moment of death so important for the progress of the soul?” Foos-Graber responds: “Many spiritual traditions teach that whatever one focuses on at this moment casts the ‘flavor’ atmosphere of what occurs after physical death. The way we die…has a profound corresponding effect for our state in the afterlife.”

She goes on to share that just as first impressions are important when we meet someone for the first time, so are our last impressions. We can leave a good “mark” on the “cosmic memory banks of the Universal Mind” when we focus on God/dess through a divine being who is powerfully connected to All That Is.

 


5 tips for talking to a grieving loved one or friend

This week I’d like to share an article I received through a new online friend named Angela Tollersons. She came to my website, www.changewithcourage.com, and expressed an interest in writing an article on grief for me. I liked what she wrote and decided to share it with you here.

Whether it’s a family member or friend, talking about the loss of a loved one is never easy. But talking about death is an important part of the grieving process and can make the person experiencing the loss feel a bit less alone.

Use these tips to stay mindful of how you’re communicating with your friend or family member during this sensitive time.

  1. Choose Your Words Carefully

Avoid talking about religion or the afterlife, comparing their loss to yours, or invalidating their pain. Realize that nothing you can say will relieve your loved one of all the pain they’re feeling, so don’t go into a conversation expecting to “fix” them. Instead, make sure your conversation is inspired by genuine sympathy and support.

  1. Practice Patience

Since one symptom of grief is feeling detached from other people, it’s possible your friend or family member won’t want to talk about his loss at all.

When this happens, practice patience. Don’t push him to express his feelings; let him come to you on his own terms. Forcing him to talk about the situation before he feels ready won’t be beneficial for the healing process.

Refrain from passing judgment on your loved one’s behavior. Endless crying, lashing out, and feelings of guilt are natural parts of the grieving process. Be understanding of these behaviors and continue to provide your unwavering support.

  1. Listen

It’s not easy for your loved one to open up and talk about her loss, so make it easier on her by being a great listener. Listen silently and without judgment.

Giving your full attention to your loved one is just another way of saying “I care about you.”

In this way, sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all.

  1. Offer Your Assistance

Make it clear that you’re available to talk whenever he’s ready.

When you’re dealing with someone who prefers not to talk about the death of a loved one, the best way for you to show your love and support is by helping out with meals and errands for a while.

Tell them you’ll pick them up some dinner or that you’d like to go pick up the groceries. Offer to help out with house chores or child care.

Even if your loved one isn’t receptive to your verbal support right now, small acts of love and kindness like these will help send the message.

  1. Don’t Let Distance Stand in Your Way

If your loved one is miles away, the lines of communication can still be open with video chatting, phone calls, and email.

The responsibility of making the first move will likely fall on you, so be persistent but not pushy.

Ask if they’d be interested in a family conference call where a few of you can check in and catch up. Even if it’s a brief 10-minute exchange, they’ll appreciate your concern as long as you also respect their space.

No matter how you communicate–through words or through your actions–know that your intentions are all that matter.

It may feel difficult to find the right words to help make this time more bearable for your loved one. But if you’re reaching out with compassion and support, your loved one will know that you’re doing your best to help them through this difficult time.

Angela Tollersons has a passion for family health and wellness. She currently volunteers as often as possible in her community with parenting and child advocacy groups, especially those who focus on special education and anti-bullying.

When she is not updating her blog, she is usually exploring the great outdoors or playing a game of Scrabble with her family.


Sometimes suicide happens – what do you do during this difficult time?

This week, someone in my circle of life committed suicide. She was someone who had moved to our community last fall, alone. She was a fragile, young woman.

Nevertheless, it came as a tremendous shock to all concerned, especially because her life was turning around, seemingly in a positive way. Everyone involved was mystified and wondering what in heaven’s name had caused this to happen – particularly at this time.

It seems like a lot of our psychic energy has been spent on trying to understand what exactly happened to cause this tragedy. This is something that happens after most suicides take place. We wonder and reflect on what exactly could have happened, and how this sad event could have been avoided. One life has been sadly, “snuffed out,” it seems unnecessarily!

I wrote some words in my first book, The Last Adventure of Life, about Unresolved Deaths including Suicide. I will share what I wrote here, because I believe it holds true:

Sometimes, things cannot be resolved in this lifetime, and people die under very challenging circumstances. At times, families and loved ones have to deal with suicidal deaths. Such moments are some of the most difficult ot live with afterward. Author and medium James Van Praagh suggests in his book, Talking to Heaven: A Medium’s Message of Life after Death (1997) that our thoughts and prayers are the best way to get through to such spirits.

First of all, we can send thoughts to those who have committed suicide to remind them to “stop wasting their energy by trying to get back into the physical world. They must realize that they have passed out of the physical body.” (p. 103) Our thoughts are the only way we can communicate with those who have left the earth, and apparently in some cases of suicide, as sometimes in other sudden deaths, the victim does not realize that they have actually died and left their physical vehicle behind. Secondly, we can send them thoughts of love, peace, joy, forgiveness, and light. We can help to bring comfort to their spirits and allow them to become more aware of their new situation.

I have learned that visualizing the violet flame encompassing all things purifies them. You might imagine sending or placing the purifying violet flame around the soul of your loved one. (If you are not familiar with the Violet Flame, you can find out more here.) Or you could visualize any negativity, either your own or your loved one’s, in the violet flame, allowing the negativity to purify and dissolve into pure white light. You could also envision taking your loved one to a beautiful place, like a magnificent garden, or beautiful healing waters where they can bathe, or someplace where you know they will find peace and comfort. You can then imagine them in this peaceful spot whenever you think of them, knowing and trusting that they, too, can and will find deep peace over time.

Most of all, it is important that the surviving loved ones do not blame themselves for what happened, or keep pondering the ‘what if” scenarios, or second-guessing why the death occurred in the way that it did. Even though guilt is almost unavoidable after a suicide, it is a crippling emotion, and it robs people of their confidence. So by all means, find creative ways to release any guilt you might be carrying around because of the suicide of a loved one. What has happened cannot be changed, and it is not your fault. (They had their own life and they chose to do what they chose to do – it was part of their free will) Let go of the past, and move forward into the future with abiding confidence and love. This is what your loved one would want for you, too.

I hope that these words may help you, as you ponder things unresolved in your life as well. As the all-encompassing   Melchizedek Prayer reads, “May there be Love, Truth, Beauty, Trust, Harmony and Peace for all living things everywhere! 

And if you desire some support in this area, please feel free to contact me, to talk, do energy work for release, etc.  

                                                                                                                          


Reflections from a man acquainted with grief

Recently, I made a lovely connection through LinkedIn with a unique man named Dave Roberts, who is an educator at several Upstate NY colleges. He also specializes as a writer and counselor for the beareaved and those who suffer with addiction. I had the chance to interview him, and this is what he had to share.

1) What brought you into the arena of Grief Work?

The death of my 18-year-old daughter Jeannine in March of 2003 due to cancer, was the catalyst for my interest and passion for grief work. As a result of the challenges presented by her death, it was necessary to find meaning in a world that was and will be forever different, through service to individuals and families who have experienced catastrophic loss. It was necessary for me to embrace this perspective because I believe that we have two choices when we experience life altering loss: 1) to wallow permanently in the muck of despair, without transforming our grief, or 2) to wallow through the muck of despair, allowing it to lead us to find joy and meaning again.

2) How would distinguish yourself from other teachers and writers of grief?

That is a great question. I think one of the things that distinguishes me is that my writing is a product of my ongoing evolution or transformation from loss. So where I am at that particular moment comes out in my writing. Included in this are all of the connections and synchronicities that have allowed me to develop greater awareness of myself and my relationship to the world around me. It is a very transparent and empowering process for me to share a path that has allowed me to embrace a peaceful perspective after loss.

Another thing that I believe distinguishes me from other teachers and writers of grief is how I choose to view my experience. For example, many parents in my circumstances refer to themselves permanently as bereaved parents. I did see myself early on as a bereaved parent, but now I simply refer to myself as a parent who has experienced the death of a child. I also celebrate the fact that I am a husband, a father to two terrific sons, a college professor and a writer. The death of my daughter Jeannine has redefined my life experience, but it is not the totality of my life experience.

3) What brings you the most Joy around the work you do? 

I believe that the experience of death and its aftermath are among the most intimate of events that we experience in the human existence. I feel honored and inspired when I have the opportunity to witness the stories of individuals who have experienced loss. It is not only the stories about their friends or family who have died, it is about what they have discovered as a result of their challenges with death. Their stories and paths are to be honored.

4) What brings you the most anguish or sadness around the work you do?

The person that sees no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel after loss, and is permanently stuck in his or her pain. This perhaps is because the person has no coping skills that promote resiliency or that the expression of intense emotional pain is reinforced by others around them, unwittingly or otherwise without encouragement to transform it.

5) What teachings do you wish to leave with our readers ?

Support from others who have experienced and understand your pain is crucial to working through your grief. Shared pain is a gateway to hope.

Every emotion that we experience, both positive and negative, is a crucial piece in the mosaic that comprises the path we walk after the death of our loved ones. We can learn from everything.

Don’t be so focused on living in the present moment, that you ignore the teachings of your past.

Our grief journeys are marathons, not sprints. Be gentle with yourself.

Be Tiggers in the aftermath of loss. Tigger was my daughter Jeannine’s favorite Disney character because he bounced and was the only one. Bounce along your path to transformation anyway that works for you and respect others’ right to do the same. As long as you are not hurting yourself or others, it is all good.

Commit to walking in awareness of signs from our loved ones and understand that our relationships with our loved ones can continue after the physical body dies.

Thank you, Dave, for your words of wisdom here. Dave RobertsYou can see more on Dave Roberts and his writings here. He also writes for the Huffington Post.

Maria will be leading a “feel-good,” aromatherapy class called Joyful Transitions and the Essential Oils this evening at the Brilliant Moon. Please call them to register here: (360) 868-2190.

 


String of celebrity deaths opens up conversations

Starting on the 10th of January when British singer, star, and trailblazer David Bowie (69) made his final transition, the world has been seeing quite a few celebrities make their exit from this earth: The revered British actor Alan Rickman (69) and musician Rene Angelil (73), Celine Dion’s husband (and manager), both died of cancer on January 14th. Then, Glenn Frey (67), the Eagles’ songwriter, guitarist and founding member made his transition on Monday, January 18th due to complications from several illnesses.

All of these Transitions, especially coming all at once, have got our attention. And in some cases, they have been helping us think about and reflect on death in some new ways. David Bowie’s death in particular, one in which Bowie clearly made some deliberate preparations, has clearly been assisting those persons already in the midst of dealing with end of life issues.

A Daily Mirror article published an article on January 18 titled “How David Bowie inspired a cancer patient at the end of her life – read doctor’s letter in full” (for full article, see: http://tinyurl.com/z4ukfdh) had a letter penned by Dr. Mark Taubert, a palliative care consultant at Vlindre NHS Trust in Cardiff.

In his moving letter, the end of life care expert Dr. Taubert told David Bowie that his death had sparked a “weighty” discussion with a dying woman in the hospital. He added that it had also opened up the possibility for some patients so that they could die at home, rather than in an institution. He wrote on the blog page of a British Medical Journal: “We discussed your death and your music, and it got us talking about numerous weighty subjects, that are not always straightforward to discuss with someone facing their own demise. … In fact, your story became a way for us to communicate very openly about death, something many doctors and nurses struggle to introduce as a topic of conversation.”

Dr, Taubert also wrote in his letter to Bowie that many of the people he talks with as part of his job “think that death predominantly happens in hospitals, in very clinical settings, but I presume you chose home and planned this in some detail. … This is one of our aims in palliative care, and your ability to achieve this may mean that others will see it as an option they would like fulfilled.”

These endings and reflections are reminding me of a powerful book that I found very meaningful several years ago, by a young Jewish scholar named Erica Brown. Her book is titled: Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (2013), and it is a remarkable, practical book covering a wide range of topics related to death and our culture (more at Erica Brown’s link).

One of the things I especially liked about this book, besides how practical and full of many stories and aspects of life and death it incorporated, is that Brown critiques Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief.

She says that the first four states of grief – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression – actually all come under the one category, “Denial.” She then states that the last stage, Acceptance, needs to actually be called “Resignation,” not Acceptance, because usually people in our culture are not very good at accepting death. Rather, we become resigned to it. I believe this to be true.

But then she adds that there’s one more category that needs to be added: That of “Inspiration.” When someone is able to say the words “I need to be prepared” for death, then this intention gives the person Inspiration – in other words, “permission to love more fully, to say the words they’ve wanted to say for a lifetime, to repair and heal troubled relationships, and to entertain a range of ethereal and spiritual thoughts and actions often previously closed off, sealed, or masked by the pragmata of everyday anxieties. … Inspiration is an admission of possibility. It is the last gift we give the living.”  (p. 8)

I like this concept of bringing Inspiration into the topic of death! And I like to think that this is at least in part what I help people do, by writing about death, grief, change, transitions and endings of all kinds, calling people’s attention to these sorts of things that we’d normally rather not focus on.

Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.David BowieHappier Endings


Could the entire world be on hospice?

The brilliance of the Heart

We are at a very interesting time in human history. The New Thought people call this the time of the Shift of the Ages. Many long-term time cycles – to the tune of 26,000 years, are merging together and a great deal of love and light frequency is coming onto the planet. This is why the entire world – and what we’re used to – seems to be “going crazy,” especially when you watch the news.

I’ve coming to see this phenomenon as though the whole world is “on hospice.” We must die to the old so that the new may come in and take shape on the planet. And many so-called “Light-workers” are here, holding the possibility for this. Many religions tell of a time of Great Peace and Healing that’s coming. There is great change at this time, but it is for a good purpose. We are moving toward a much higher and vibrant way of living. In time, Love and Peace will rule the earth, as has been prophesied by the prophets.

Because we are moving through this time of deep change and transformation, we have much to learn from the dying. They have the secrets to help us move through change in a good way. And I outline some of these secrets in my book, The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? I will highlight a few of these points here.

I believe that the most important piece here is letting go of judgment: Many people before they die must do some kind of forgiveness work. It’s time to let go of old grudges and resentments.

Since the person is getting ready to leave the planet, if they want to connect with those they love, they must “clear the slate” in some fashion, letting go of old judgments that no longer serve. After all, when we continue to hold these judgments, we’re the ones who hurt, we lose out. And why wait, until we’re on our deathbed to do this? Why not clear the slate whenever we can – whenever we think of it?

The best way to do this is to move from the heady “critical eye” down to the open heart. When we move to the heart, we can let people off the hook, give them the benefit of the doubt. I believe that now is a good time to do that. Rather than carrying around many judgments and grudges, making others out to be the “bad ones,” we can come into the heart and love and honor everyone.

Give them the benefit of the doubt, especially in these times of great change. What if we could see that everyone is actually doing “the best that they can?” And when we send out love in their direction, this is the best Medicine we can send them.

The next important piece to me is there is so much more than meets the eye. This is something I learned through working with hospice. So many mystical things happened to those around me, those who were preparing for death and those who were on the receiving end of it, those who were grieving. I was privy to hearing so many stories that I came to understand that what we can see, feel, and touch, taste and smell on this earth is just the tip of the iceberg.

We truly do not know a lot of what is going on or who is around us, and so it’s best to humble ourselves, realize that we can’t analyze or explain it all, and simply “go with the flow” as much as possible. Life is an adventure, a miracle, really! And the more we see and bless it as that, the more it will bless us.

The third and last point I’d like to make here is the interconnectedness of everything. This relates to the piece I just mentioned, but there is no question in my mind now that on some powerful level, we are connected and there’s a magic that flows through our lives when we can let go and let the magic happen.

I’ve learned that at the Higher Self level – we all have a Higher Self that we are guided by – we are all connected. That’s why, when we pray for someone, they can feel it on some level. I remember how my sister once told me that as she was coming out of her surgery, she sensed and even saw, our dad and myself praying for her.

Do not underestimate the value of praying for someone, or simply holding them with good thoughts in your heart. This is what our pets do for us all the time, I believe.

I will be teaching a class this evening on Joyful Transitions and one on the essential oils and transitions in early February at the Brilliant Moon in Shelton. Please contact them for details: (360) 868-2190.

For those of you feeling “stuck” in your life in any way, I would highly recommend that you look into my energy work – and Auric Clearing in particular – if you’d like to clear out some of that negative energy that’s living in your field. One Auric Clearing could be life transformative! Plus, it’s wonderful preventative health care, too! See details here.

This conversation is to be continued, and we welcome your stories, questions and comments around these topics.