I have learned not to fear death.
Learning not to be afraid of death was a liberating lesson in itself, but in releasing my hold on the fear of dying, I found myself also released from all other erstwhile fears. As it turns out, once we find peace with the temporal nature of life, we are able to smile at all other fears, all other persecutions, travesties and setbacks. Because when we understand that everything—including life itself—is truly temporary then why allow ourselves to become wrapped in thought about any particular moment? Instead, as the Beatles so wisely advised, “let it be” and know that all things will pass.
Discovering The Cause of Suffering
The perfect order of the passing of every moment is only interrupted by our unwillingness to let things be; when we don’t accept that each moment is naturally meant to drift by us. Pain is found when we attach to these moments and the emotions roused from them and choose to hold onto the problem, the loss, the memory or the mistake.
That moment that was always supposed to be a mere moment can then draw out for minutes, days, weeks, for some, it can be a lifetime. What many never realise is that clinging on causes us to be dragged along by the ongoing nature of time and that often causes more pain than the single moment did in itself. When we learn that we can let it be and let it go, that we can set the pain and memory free, our spirit is lifted, our soul is freed, time can continue on unimpeded and the torture ends.
Letting Go & Navigating the River of Life
Time, our time, is but a moment, an insignificant fragile stroke of the universe’s clock, but when savoured without attachment, it can be truly special. The universe is weaving a wonderfully fluid tapestry of experience in front of us, like a wild, beautiful, technicolored river. Like time, the river flows ever onward.
We can jump in and ride it hard and fast, embracing the rapids filled with joy and mischief, our hearts racing, adrenaline pumping through our veins, our bodies teaming with life. But it won’t always be great fun. We’ll hit rapids, get cold, our fingers will wrinkle. These moments, too, are temporary, and we must learn to ride through them and stay on this magical ride; always looking forward, anticipating the river’s bends and turns to make sure we aren’t sucked under, flung off onto the banks or that we tire so much we decide to get off and curl up.
When Life Gets Too Much: Being Sucked Under
This darkness on the sidelines can often overpower and consume the mind and soul. Those who are most vulnerable are those who are unable to call back to the river, unable to alert others they have fallen.
Yet, the simple act of calling out and using your voice allows in some light. You can summon in a hand to reach for you, bringing with it powerful shards of light to strike down the darkness. Often this takes asking for help, prayer, meditation, reflection, counselling, therapy, conversation, a hug, an arm of support, awareness of friends, or forgiveness before we find our shard of light, but it’s there if you want it. You just have to reach out.
Likewise, we all must be vigilant for others, holding the light for them, creating awareness that there are people calling out from the dark. As we spin with the ebb and flow of the universe’s river, please be watchful of the darker spaces on the edges of life. As you pass them, reach out an arm and whisper the magic words. “are you okay”? If somebody has been swept off by a current, become trapped in a rapid, been left behind, you can help them to haul themselves back into the flow.
Regaining Life Mastery: Learn to Let Go of Fear
We are all homeward bound, all preparing for the reality of this fragile life, but we have choices in respect to how we spend the journey. I have seen much suffering in my life, lost friends, family, my son, but never myself. Holding onto the heavy emotions from these events was like an anchor around my neck, weighing me down and making it impossible for me to swim along with the flow of the river.
When this weight became so heavy that it began to pull me under, my wife reached into the darkness, brought in the light, and reminded me of all that’s still here above the surface. This simple act of kindness allowed me to let go of what’s been, to unleash the anchor strung around my neck and jump back into the flow again. She didn’t ditch the anchor for me, that was my own job to do. But she supported me and helped me to keep my head above the water so I had the energy and ability to set myself free.
It took time, but recovering from that moment underwater reminded me to appreciate all that I have and hold dear. It reminded me that this magical river of life is a multi-experiential journey, with its tumultuous waters that can send you tumbling heart over heels, and its blissful moments when you can float on your back and watch the clouds play overhead. If you get off the ride and let yourself sink when you hit the rough waters, you’ll never get to experience the joyous ones.
Know that moving forward doesn’t diminish the memory of what we lost, it merely sets us free from the pain of it. That could be the business that failed, the friend that hurt you, the career that slipped away, a lost dream, the marriage that ended, or the death of a loved one. They are all in the past.
You cannot be present in this beautiful river of life whilst looking over your shoulder at where you’ve been. You only need to close your eyes to remember the good memories. But now you can keep your eyes facing forward, embracing change and appreciating all those around you, living life.
When we remember that it is all a part of the journey and to not lose sight of where we are right in this very moment, then nothing else matters.
Do You Need to Let go of the Past?
So, we are left with a choice, to fear or to live. Hold on or let go. To drown or float. To consume or to be consumed. As you read my musings, I would like you to reflect on your losses, the things you perceive as failures, those things that summon you to the dark edges within the river of your life. Are you holding onto the pain of these experiences like an anchor slung around your neck?
You have the ability to summon the powers needed to fight the darkness, but the responsibility is yours and yours alone. Others can come to support you, but the ultimate power and responsibility rests with you. Rise up, face the fears, embrace your pain and live the life that you know you want and need.
There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.
If you need help with releasing the weight of your own anchor and getting back onto the flow of life’s river, I can support you with one to one coaching. Together we can give you the tools to life mastery and have you flowing once more on this river we call life.