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THE ART OF DYING

I’m going through a process of dying. Sounds dramatic, I know. But sometimes a spiritual path does seem like a series of deaths to me. Letting go of more and more layers of who you think you are, what you have identified with, what you’ve been resting on or holding onto for potentially a very long time.

Dying is an artform

It’s an artform that can’t be comprehended from the ordinary mind – often because that’s precisely associated with what needs to die! But like physical deaths, when done well, it can be a beautiful process. A grand letting go, a handing over, a surrender to the Divine.

Getting out of the part to die

When I’ve been in the part that needs to die and contemplated letting go, there is a sense of ‘how do I do this?!’, ‘I don’t want to die’, ‘I don’t know how to let go’. This is because it doesn’t want to die – it’s been invested in surviving and staying strong for so long, it’s not just going to give up because you’ve seen the light. Keeping your standpoint in this part is going to make it impossible to allow it to die.

Discarding the old

To take a metaphor, it’s a bit like removing an old cardigan that carries a life of memories, so much of your past, but it’s just not you anymore. Maybe it never was, maybe you inherited it. Now it just weighs heavy, dampens your spirits, doesn’t allow for something new to grow.

When you take the cardigan to the charity shop, you might feel relief and the sense of excitement of buying something new to replace it. But it’s likely you’ll also feel a bit sad or nostalgic – the end of an era and an aspect of your identity.

Honouring the grieving process

indexThe releasing and grieving process around the part that is dying is important. I’ve had ‘fake deaths’ before when I’ve transposed into a new standpoint without fully acknowledging or grieving for what I must leave behind or let go of. It’s like the death hasn’t been complete – this old part still lingers and even rears its head again in the future when given the chance.

Letting go of the story

Often, part of what needs to die is a story we’ve created about ourselves. Mine was along the lines of ‘I’ve failed my people and now I’m on my own and not supported by the divine’. Believing this story meant I was not available to the help and divine support that is there and always has been. Really the story was created to avoid feeling the devastation and shame.

Stories sustain the illusion

It never ceases to amaze me how invested we can be in the stories we have about ourselves and our lives. It’s like we believe without them, we wouldn’t exist. They do seem to often serve a structural function, holding us together.

But really they hold together the illusion of who we are, and essentially block who we really are.

Taking back your freedom to choose

In this case, it took me a long time to see and accept the illusory nature of my story, and I’ve had to make the decision to stop believing and telling it. I’ve seen that it’s a script that’s unconsciously informed how I live my life – that it’s taken away my freedom to choose. This can be painful to see, but over time and with the dying process, it can be extremely liberating. It’s like the world’s become bigger – or at least the lens I view the world through has.

I felt this the other night as I was ‘telling my story’ to a friend but really let myself feel the grief and shame associated with it. As I opened and started crying, I could feel myself releasing the emotions held within the story for so long. Without the story and the emotional charge behind it, all that remains is like a dead sheath, which can be dropped much more easily.

Being drawn by the new

images2From here, it’s so much easier to drawn by the new, by what is to be born on the other side of the death. I had the experience of being allured or seduced by the bigger dimension of Me emerging from behind the curtains. This is my focus, this is where I’m going, and who I truly am. And this involves opening – expanding beyond the limitations I’m accustomed to operating within.

It felt like taking my place, embracing who I really am.

 

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