Almost everyone is looking for love, but most of us do everything we can to avoid death, so it makes sense that we seldom put the two words together. However, spirit has spoken to me with profound clarity, through the people that keep waltzing so elegantly into my life, like near death experiencers, and others who are finding peace and love in their own transition process. My interactions with people like these are the reason I can work so joyfully in the field of death and dying. All I need to add to my part of the process for those I assist, as well as for myself, is love . . .
Love is something we are all looking for. I’m not just talking about partner or soul mate love. It’s the connection with other humans, the deep feeling of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. We are all searching for love, even if we may only catch a glimpse of it that is quickly forgotten, which happens more often than not. Think about a moment when you experienced one of those glimpses. It may have been a little thing—a smile or touch from a complete stranger, a serendipitous moment, or eye contact with the ticket man at the baseball stadium. I like to keep my heart turned on, tuned up and ready for those opportunities to share a tiny bit of love with another person and catching a glimpse into the soul of another.
Recently I had one of those brief interactions with a ticket man at the baseball stadium. As I made eye contact with him I could see the beauty inside him. It was clear to me he felt something as our eyes connected, and he said, “ Have fun at the game smiley!” As I entered the stadium that day I experienced this beautiful love bubbling up inside of me, because I had yet another confirmation that we are all connected to each other and the All That Is. It was love, open hearted and awakened. I think about how many people that ticket man comes in contact with every day and the fact that there is a tiny exchange with every human he deals with. What an opportunity! Making eye contact is intimate way to share love that is open hearted and awakened, even if the person is a total stranger. It is an acknowledgement between two individuals—recognition of each other’s souls and the love of the Creator. You can test this for yourself by making full eye contact with someone you know, who is comfortable with it, and notice what that feels like. If you miss out on opportunities to love in this lifetime you miss out on life. Hopefully this won’t be you, if you choose to connect with others. It feels good to love.
So, how does this tie in with death? How you love may affect how you die. I’ve assisted many beautiful souls through their transition into death, and I have witnessed for myself that people tend to die the way they have lived—not always, but most of the time. I assisted two women who, in the end, died alone. One of the women never married or had children, though she did have one friend that we knew of. She had spent her life pretty much alone and that was the way she wanted to die. The other woman was a bit of a fighter who would hardly allow volunteers to come visit her. I don’t really think she accepted the fact she was dying or (and here is the sad part) that she was lovable. After living with her daughter through much of her illness her daughter, very suddenly, put her in a facility for personal reasons. This woman felt abandoned and unloved, and she passed away within weeks.
Which do you think was more sorrowful, the woman who wanted to die alone or the one who could not let go of being abandoned by her daughter? In both cases I wonder how they loved in their lives? Did they cut themselves off from people on an intimate level? Did something happen to them long ago that they did not heal from? Did they carry un-forgiveness in their hearts? These are all questions that only these women knew the answers to. Events in our lives can leave us feeling defeated and cause us to lose connection with our own heart. If this happens we may close our heart and, sadly, miss much of the love and intimacy we crave.
My point is that learning to love yourself and allow the love of others into your life is important in determining how you’ll experience your final moments here on the planet. I am not judging here. We all have our stuff. It makes me love you all even more, because I understand in the same way a mother understands and loves her children. And this is how I hope you love yourself—the way a parent loves a child. Learning to love yourself involves learning to take care of yourself, especially when you’re under stress. When things get overwhelming take a nap. I am serious. It takes a lot of energy to keep going sometimes, and those are the times we need rest most. I had those days a lot when my mother died and then again when my beloved Cocker Spaniel passed over the rainbow bridge. I’ve had to learn to take care of myself through death, breakups, job loss—it has all happened to me. I learned that taking care of my body through these times also helped me take care of my soul. I also learned to look to my friends during tough times, as well. The love of my friends helped me love and take care of myself. It helped me avoid beating myself up with exhausting thoughts like, Get going, Nina. You have been sad long enough!, or over analyzing and being critical of myself. Sometimes it wasn’t easy for me to reach out to friends, and feeling better took longer than I may have wanted it to. But by asking for help when I needed it, I believe I came through so much better than I would have. Plus I felt loved and supported. If you are struggling please don’t struggle alone. If you need help ask for it. It’s part of loving yourself.
Loving yourself helps you open your heart and allows you to move through your life with an entirely different set of eyes then the ones you have used in the past. Think of yourself starting out a typical day, whatever that is for you right now. Maybe it is with a commute to the office, a run before work, walking the dog, or dashing off for school. What is the first thing you do upon waking, before you do those things? How do you begin the “energy” of the day that lies ahead? Do you grab a cup of coffee jump on the computer, or do you take a moment “feel” your body and ask yourself, “What is it I need today?” Consider starting each day with an inner check-in, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Tune into your heart and listen to what it’s telling you about taking care of yourself. If you have people in your life, at work or at home, who are problematic, bless them. Being mindful about your life, tuning into your heart, and taking care of yourself is and act of unconditional love—loving you unconditionally. If you do this you will be more open, more aware, and more mindful throughout your day. It will make it easier to love others too, especially the difficult people in your life. You may have to work at this at first, but it quickly becomes habit because it feels good! Learning to love yourself unconditionally not only helps you to have a joyful life but it also ripples out to everyone around you.
Imagine going through the rest of your life with this practice. You might have a few hiccups here and there, but overall you’ll know and love who you are. And when you live in this heart-awakened opened state, your communication with spirit will become crystal clear. You’ll find yourself living by the direction of your beautiful heart and intuition. Now imagine how living your life in this way might affect how you transition into your death someday. Crazy thought? No way! When you love yourself unconditionally you are better able to love others, and you experience a sense of peace. This is when the fear of death leaves, and you find you are ready for it whenever it is your time. Your heart is lifted, the energy of love, and the joy you feel is divine fuel for your life.