(This is a monthly column I write for my local newspaper, The Nugget, in Sisters, Oregon, USA)
Fill a glass with water and hold it out in front of you. How heavy would you guess that glass of water is? 8 ounces? 20 ounces? Continue to hold it out at arm’s length while you’re reading this.
The absolute weight doesn’t really matter. It depends on how long you hold it out in front of you. A minute or two is probably not a problem, but hold it out there for an hour, and you’ll likely have an achy arm and shoulder. Hold it all day, and your arm will probably be numb. The weight of the glass of water never changes, but the longer you hold onto it, the heavier it becomes.
The stresses and worries we encounter in our everyday lives are like that glass of water. The longer we hold on to them, the more they hurt us. At some point we can become paralyzed, incapable of functioning at all.
Along with the stressors of everyday living, after what we’ve all been through with the economy collapsing, job losses, foreclosures, budget cuts, political turmoil and wars over the past decade, it seems everybody is filled with fear, anger, anxiety, depression– all symptoms of too much stress.
But here’s the thing– it’s not stress that’s the problem. It’s our reaction to the stressors in our lives that sends us over the edge. The longer we hold onto that glass of water, the heavier it seems to get, the bigger the problem seems to be. We may feel hopeless, helpless, and out of control.
Drugs and alcohol only make matters worse, usually causing more stress within the family, between neighbors, on the roads, at work. They may cover up the problem temporarily, but there’s still the elephant in the room, and until we change our reaction to stress, Dumbo’s not going anywhere.
So how do you change your reaction? By learning to free your mind from its constant stream of repetitive thoughts and restore your stress response system to balance. Get yourself outside, walk around in bare feet, and sit by a river. Close your eyes. Listen to the water rushing downstream.
Pay attention to the sound as your thoughts merge with it and just breathe deeply. When you notice your thoughts intruding, shift your attention back to the sounds from the river. Allow the sounds to fade into the background and listen for the silence between the thoughts. When you become aware of the silence, hold it for as long as you can. With practice, it will teach you better control over your thoughts and reactions when you are under stress.
No river nearby? Go to the labyrinth at Sisters East Portal. Stand at the entrance and pause just to breathe in deeply to calm yourself before you take this journey. Look to the west at the timeless mountains. You are in the now zone. There is nowhere else to be. Nothing else you need to do. You can walk slow or fast, or stop and just breathe.
As you walk, just notice the rocks, the flowers, the insects at your feet; the landscape surrounding you, the blue sky above. Feel the air on your skin; listen to the wind blowing through the trees. Smell the pine-scented air. Become one with your surroundings as you experience a sense of inner peace.
Remember that peaceful state you attained and use your breath to return to it often during your day and whenever issues that trigger your stress response arise.
You can put the glass down now. Notice the feeling of release from stress when you just let go.
It’s time to have The Conversation
The best gift you can give your family is to have all your paperwork in order so they can carry out your end of life wishes if it becomes necessary. It will save them a lot of worry and grief if they know what you would want them to do under certain circumstances if you are unable to speak for yourself.
How will they know unless YOU tell them?
How will they know where to find important papers if YOU don’t tell them?
This workbook will help you and your loved ones have the conversations needed to make the decisions beforehand that they might be called upon to make for you in an emergency situation. Doing everything is not always the best response… and hope is not a plan.
Nobody wants to talk about death, especially their own… but we are all going to die some day… consider how it would affect your loved ones if you died before your next breath… then don’t put it off out of fear of bringing it on. It doesn’t work that way.
It will give everybody peace of mind and if there is an accident or emergency health crisis, your family will be able to spend time with you instead of rummaging around for paperwork and phone numbers, and all that other stuff we tend to put off.
For those who experience fear of death, this near-death experiencer describes leaving her drowning body behind, in full consciousness, fully alive and aware of everything going on around her then traveling through a void on an amazing journey accompanied by a loving being of light who opened her consciousness to remembering all we forget when we become human beings, including that this is what happens every time the body dies.
We don’t die!
We are not our bodies
Bodies are temporary vehicles that allow us to experience life on this planet
Like astronauts wear space suits, we wear human suits
We are spiritual beings having human experiences as part of our eternal spiritual journey
When our body gives out, we return home
How you want to interpret that, what that means about your religious beliefs or lack of, what that says about God, has nothing to do with this cycle of life. Any of those belief systems can be incorporated into this practice to help you to have a peaceful transition experience with full awareness about what is going on and what comes next.
“Who we really are is all but beyond human understanding,” says author Diane Goble, who has spent the past 44 years since her NDE searching to find the words that describe her experience, “but I’m working on it.”
In Beyond the Veil, which is the 5th generation of her writings, including a training course for caregivers as transition guides, she has integrated the knowledge she absorbed during her NDE with her exploration of ancient mystery schools, world religions, and science, and years of meditation practice and spiritual explorations to convey the meaning of the message she was given to share so it makes sense to most people.
This is your opportunity to raise your consciousness and go beyond what you think you know. Each time you read it, you will experience lightbulb moments as you realize you too know this but had forgotten. As you practice the exercises, you will come to a deeper understanding of who you really are and the meaning of this life to your soul’s journey.
It has been Diane Goble’s life work since her near-death experience in 1971 to share this message and to teach the art of conscious dying, and now she has put her teachings into a workbook to help families talk to each other, their doctors, and their higher consciousness as they prepare to leave this phase of life and transition to the next, fully conscious and engaged in their journey home.
Available everywhere – ISBN 9780963860651