7 Lessons Death Has Taught Me About Life


I’ve lost several loved ones in the last few years and each time it happens, it sends me spinning. I get angry and sad and struggle to make sense of a life with one less.

Eventually the searing pain dissipates and I’m left with the lessons, the ones death always leaves behind, if you’re looking. I carry them along with the memories and hope you will too.

  1. The time is now. For chasing dreams and anything else that sends your heart-a-flutter.

Nothing gifts you with a singing sense of urgency quite like an untimely death. And don’t all deaths feel untimely to some extent?

You always wonder what you might have done with one more day. Death, in all its unexpected terror, always serves as a powerful reminder that right now–this very second—it’s all we’re guaranteed. We might as well embrace this terrifying fact and get on with doing exactly what it is we want to do.

  1. Look to the love.

Allow yourself to receive love from those who are capable of giving it, instead of focusing on those who can’t love you the way you need.

It’s human nature to acknowledge what we don’t have. In fact, such admissions often serve as a powerful launching pad for change (and attracting what we do want), but it’s also vital to note the tremendous good in our lives, the stuff that’s already amazing.

Let us celebrate love where we find it and not pay so much attention to the rest.

  1. It’s better to regret doing than not doing.

This has long been a mantra of mine. It’s a potent reminder for those of us who sometimes let fear run the show: you only get this one precious chance.

Who cares if you fuck up or fall on your face or say all the wrong stuff? That’s all part of it, anyhow. You’re allowed to fail your way to success.

The point is, you’re trying and you’re not really living until you stop being too scared to try.

  1. Life’s not good or bad. It’s both beautiful and brutal. Terrifying and magical.

Death is no different except that it exemplifies life’s inherent duality with staggering accuracy. It brings all our neurosis and judgments to the forefront.

But what if we could create a new relationship with death? A slow embrace rather than a stifled scream or violent rejection.

It just might mean a new relationship with the living, breathing pain that persists.

  1. It goes by really freakin’ fast. Don’t spend your years miserable, complaining, or otherwise entrenched in negativity.

This one needs to be written on the mirror—it’s so easy to forget. The jackass that cuts you off in traffic, the client you can’t please, the fight with your mate that could have been avoided: we all fall victim to unnecessary drama.

But adopt a b.s.-free policy and you’ll find your emotional load lightened in no time.

Soon you won’t even waste your time on people, places, and things that are toxic to your sprit. And you won’t have to think twice about it, either.

  1. Attend to your spiritual life first and the rest will work itself out.

As someone who’s faced a spiritual crisis or two, I know this lesson in my bones. If I’m blaming my circumstances or someone else for my unhappiness, I’m not acknowledging my own ability for self-care and healing.

You can have all the shiny objects in the world, but if you’re disconnected from your deepest, divine self—happiness will always seem out of sight.

The good news?

Put spirit first again and the all-important worldly affairs will work themselves out. Truly. They will come together through no effort of your own, a product of your deep and abiding faith.

  1. Give of yourself and you never die.

Give your time and your unique talents often, whether it’s building homes in Guatemala, cooking nutritionally balanced meals for your family or singing a silly made-up song to lull your daughter to sleep.

The world needs you in ways you can’t even fathom. Lend your voice and and offer fourth your heart—it will echo throughout eternity.

It’s also the stuff your grandkids will talk about at your funeral.



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