An older friend said to me the other day, “Nina, I think I missed some opportunities, and it makes me sad.” And there was indeed regret and sadness in his voice. None of us know for sure when our lives will end, but what if you did know the date and time of your death? You may be thinking, I don’t want to know that! But what if you did know it? What would be on your ‘bucket list’ of important things you want to do before your life ends? How would it affect what you do today?
We usually think of a bucket list as a “to do” list for someone who is retired or has a terminal diagnosis. Here’s a news flash—we are all dying right now and will leave this world sooner or later. So, why not explore, learn, and work on your bucket list throughout your life instead of waiting until the end?
Upon rising, I hear the birds chirping, and I say to myself, “Remember to take a deep breath, Nina, because you can.” I find myself so grateful for simply being able to breathe in and out every moment of every day. I look out my window and I think to myself how incredibly blessed I am to be here, sitting on my futon couch enjoying the ocean breeze, while a bamboo wind chime gently taps soothing rhythmic sounds, and the leaves on the Eucalyptus trees float in the air surrounding my balcony. It’s like having a childhood tree house as an adult. I am transported to a world of creativity, complete with the soothing sounds of nature as I sit in my little apartment and write. I realize that it is an item on my living bucket list that I can now check off as having experienced.
Sometimes death catches up with us before we complete our bucket list. It’s unfortunate that death is a scary word with such negative connotations for many people. Teaching about the end-of-life, death, dying and grief is something I love because I see death in a different way. In the new energy we are all working towards softening our hearts, and learning to see life and death differently. What once filled us with fear and anxiety now has the potential to fill us with love and peace. Death is an event we need to start celebrating with reverence and a sense of sacredness. Talking about death should be as positive and hope filled as talking about marriage or having a baby. Imagine saying something like this at a service for a loved one,
“We were so happy for John when he transitioned on Friday. He was more than ready to go and very excited about
meeting up with all his family members and friends who have gone before him. John will be remembered as an incredible person. While he lived his life on earth he tried his best and accomplished everything he wanted to. We are all going to miss his presence, but we know he is happy where he is now. Thanks for being in our lives, John. Enjoy your new home. We look forward to celebrating with you soon. Hey, send us a twinkle or 2 when you have time!”
You may be thinking about someone you loved who died suddenly, or of a terminal illness like cancer, and wondering how you could possibly celebrate that. They did not have time to finish their bucket lists, as they had to leave
before their time. This is an example of the negative connotations surrounding death. After all who are we to say they left early? The answer is that our heads tell us this based on our outdated beliefs about what death is. My mom died of cancer, so I am speaking from experience. There were members of my family who really struggled with the fear and anxiety that has been the typical reaction to death. I think cancer sucks, for lack of a better word. All illness sucks. And the truth is that most of us will not die in our sleep. I wish that were so, and I will have to talk to the celestial committee about that one when I get there. But the shift in thinking we need to take in is that life and living is what we came here to do, both the seemingly good and the seemingly bad. We are born, we do what we do here, and then we die. Who knows if it was too soon—someone leaving earth at 30, 40 50 or perhaps younger? When babies die it is hard to wrap our human minds around such a short life. I promise you there is something much, much greater going on that we may not know or understand. The pain we may experience when a loved one transitions is very real, emotionally, physically and spiritually, but suffering is not necessary. Please, accept the fact of death in your heart, trust the process of your
incredible existence, and live life as if you could die tomorrow. Do whatever is before you to do, no matter how big or how small. Start on that bucket list right now! All that really matters, in the end, is the way you loved, and the way you lived with that love while you were here.
Loving myself and everyone else the best I can, everyday, is number one on my bucket list. I cross it off every night before I go to sleep and I add it back on every morning when I wake up. I’ll let you in on a lovely secret that I have been learning from the dying and from those who have had near death experiences. Simply stated, you should love yourself with a passion, like it is the most delicious love affair you have ever been in. And when you get frustrated, feel down, or are critical of yourself, choose to treat yourself as you would someone that you love deeply, like a little child. Would you tell that beautiful soul they were dumb, or fat, or not smart enough, creative enough or loving enough? Would you tell them to keep going and not rest when they were tired (lots of us do this)? What you’ll find is that when love yourself you’ll begin to feel safer and more present in your own life. It will lighten and brighten your heart and make a huge difference in how you view the “big stuff” that happens in your life. When your heart is brighter, and you are at peace within, you will be successful in loving yourself, even if it’s just for 10 minutes at a time, to start with. I promise, if you keep working at it, it becomes a way of life. And it not only makes your life better, but it also has a positive effect on everyone you come in contact with. It is the key to the HeartSight Process I teach, and it is the key to peace, which opens and awakens our hearts and fills us with love for everyone, including ourselves.
Celebrate your life, but allow yourself to learn about death and see the beauty in dying. It is a sacred part of living, just like birth is, and needs to be treated that way. So start your bucket list now, if you haven’t already. Make a list of the experiences you want in your life, now, and don’t wait another moment to get started.
Nina Impala is a spiritual counselor who helps people navigate through dying and grief. She assists people with all kinds of loss. Nina is the author of the book, Dearly Departed out on kindle and paper back very soon. She is also the host of the HeartSight show on awakening zone network. You can learn more about Nina, her work, and her HeartSight Practitioner’s training Process at www.tutoringforthespirit.com