In Dublin, I was staying with a gracious host in her welcoming home; she is an academic woman who’s presence reminds me of what I chose to leave many years ago. I had good reasons, and don’t regret my decision. What I do regret were the circumstances, even though I now understand they were inevitable.
It reminds me of a magical time when I believed that anything was possible. I haven’t become a cynic, but I no longer believe that. I do, however, still believe that a great deal is possible, if I remain open to embracing change. I think of it as dancing with life.
There is a shamanic teaching that links death to life as a natural cycle. To paraphrase the teaching, death gives life – letting go of the old makes room for something new; life gives movement – anything that exists moves; movement brings change/chaos – movement is change, and complex change breeds chaos; and chaos brings death – as change becomes more complex, the process eventually breaks down – and it’s time to let go once more.
Death must come first for new life to happen. I had to let go of my young dream of academia before I could embrace something new – the world of commerce. This world gave me my energy back, and eventually led to more changes that I no longer wanted to dance with. So I let that go, and looked at new possibilities, eventually melding academia and commerce into my current, very rewarding, career as a psychotherapist, knowing that this, too, will pass.
The ending of one dream opens up the possibility of new dreams … if I’m willing to see where death takes me as I continue dancing life.
The point for me that I discovered in my own dance is that it matters how I live, and it matters how I die. Eventually, I will physically die. Then my physical body will go back to the earth to nourish other newly living things. Until then, how I die – how I realize the time for a dream has come and gone, how I let it go and make room for life, matters.
Quote of the Week
“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the last moment of your life.”
― Dame Cicely Saunders
Let’s talk about dying
Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .