The secret to life:
Being here in Mexico you might think “oh you’re in paradise.” But what’s not seen is that will all the beauty ones the shadow. There is every shadow you could want here. Heroine, cocaine, alcohol, hard drugs, sex, are all a fingertip way. Then there are shadows we don’t truly acknowledge. Jealousy because maybe the women on the beach get more attention than you, or because these couples look so happy. Anger because you’ve had a falling out with someone you’ve met here. Negative thoughts about yourself and others. It has been in these deeper but more subtle shadows that I’ve been working. Asking myself what mirrors I’m being shown.
What is the secret to life?
As a trained trained death doula, a former medical nurse, and a spiritual nurse undertaking self study, to me the secret to life lies in the very real fact that we will all die.
The secret to life lies in this fundamental truth.
Everyone of us, myself included will die. The deeper that I go into work a death doula / end of life doula the more and more I confront the fact that I will die.
Where will you be when you take your last breath?
Who will be there by your side?
How would you like to be honored?
The secret to life lies in the dying. It lies in the knowing that all things transition.
Recently, through working with plant medicine, I’ve confronted the feeling of dying. In ceremony I felt like I was going away, that I was going to die and never return. And this feeling made me think of my mother, my brothers and sisters, and all the people I love. My best friend.
As I lay there on the floor returning, I thought about how I had been swatting away the mosquitos just moments before, that now I let them come and feed their eggs. I thought about how they risk their lives to ensure that their children come into existence, no matter what. I let them feed, because in that moment I chose to be a vessel. The sun shown in through the room. The ceiling is a palapa made from palm tree leaves that have been dried. I could hear the crash of the waves outside streaming into the room, and the sunlight dancing against this sound. Everything had been wavy and buzzing. I looked up at the ants and watched them, in a line, one after another carry things three times their size toward their nest. I thought about the birds, the fish, all the animals on the planet. I thought about how lucky they are to know from the moment they are born, what they must do. The ants no matter how much water, fire, or wind you put on them they return to their work. They keep return with an uninterrupted faith. The mosquitos, the birds, the cats, and dogs, the eagle, the hummingbird, they travel their path with a sacred knowingness. A steadfast faith in what they must carry out. We speak of intelligence often with the pride, and pompousness as humans. We proclaim how intelligent we are, how much above animals we are. I think there is a true wisdom and intelligence is in nature and it defies and supersedes our “intelligence”.
Laying there after returning from what felt like the grips of death, I garnered so much respect for all life. I felt and still feel deep in my spirit the need honor everyone.
I will die and as much as I don’t want to, as scary as it feels at times, this is the only thing I can be sure of. I can’t be sure if I’ll meet a partner and if he will want to spend his life with me, I can’t be sure my mother will live to be 90 years old. I can’t be sure that I’m going to be successful at being an end of life doula or a spiritual nurse. I continue to keep faith. But I know certainly that I will die and I will never get back those memories.
Since my medicine ceremony, I go to the beach and I take in the beauty of the ocean. I take in the beauty of the air against my skin, I take in the beauty of the spider crawling on my mosquito net. I take in the beauty of the moths that come to visit at night. I take in the quirky beauty of geckos that scurry around the room eating up the moths. I admire the beauty, safely of course, of the scorpions the sometimes fall from the upstairs palm tree roof. I go out and I look at all the beautiful green leaves. I feel grateful to see such beauty. I honor it.
Have you ever seen the reaction that colorblind people have when they see color for the first time? How they burst into tears? How colors we take for granted, they are in such overwhelming awe they cry.
Before I take my final sleep. I want to see the ocean each day, I want to explore all the beautiful leaves and look at how different they are. I want to be with nature and be in deep reverence to it. I want to connect with all beings. I want to be a vessel.
Before I take my final sleep I want to love and be loved. I want to laugh and make others laugh. I want people to never feel alone. I want them to remember that I loved them and that love that I leave I hope will carry them. I hope that my love with carry my family, strangers, my nieces and nephews, I hope it can carry them further and through their pain and turmoil.
And then for the first time I realize Im not alone. I’m living in a small house just above the main strip of beach and I can see the beach from there. My first few nights there were rough. My sleep was scattered because I feared being there alone. But with time and through the plant medicine I’ve been able to really learn to be comfortable in this aloneness. I’m not alone, I have moths, ants, spiders, geckos, and other little creatures I don’t know what to call.
Sometimes I play my ukelele and I sing out loud. Sometimes in the kitchen I dance in my underwear. Im learning to smile more when people look at me and to look them in the eye. I keep trusting that the universe, source, god, the great spirit is leading me.
The secret of life?
There a few
1. Go into nature and look at all the life.
2. Appreciate the small things, like the way the leaves are shaped differently. Find appreciation for the small things that annoy you, like mosquitos.
3. Understand that you will die. You will transition.
4. Remember that you will never get these moments back.
7. A good deep cry
With death there is a mystery, mainly because we are so far removed from it. Everyone in US culture is placed in nursing homes and then forgotten about. Or they go to hospitals and die.
The secret to life will be about us demystify aging, death, and dying. It will be crucial to the world becoming a better place. Having reverence for our elderly, aging, and the fact that all life dies at some point will change the world drastically.
As you start to think about your own death, your own transition, how would you like to be remembered? What things are truly important to you? Do you stop and appreciate little things? Do take moments in tour life to stare off into the view in front of you? Do you stop to smile at people?
By accepting and working with the fear of dying how are radical changes finding their way into your life? How are you attaching new meaning to the world?