Welcome to Peace Inside Out. Being peace includes peace with death as part of our natural world. My intention for this blog is to explore our relationship with death and inner peace. How can being at peace with our own mortality inform us and enhance life today? Notice if you would rather not explore death. What thoughts or words arise? Are you at peace around death?
Does Death Trigger Your Fight, Flight or Freeze Response?
If you are aware that death topics trigger you - a part of your brain the amygdala has been alerted to a threatening situation – allow three deep breaths and think of something pleasurable. As your mind calms down, notice what feelings are present. This list might be helpful to name them: fear, anxiety, disgusted, distress, embarrassed, horrified, nervous, sad, uncomfortable, vulnerable, upset.
After you identify your feelings, can you identify your needs in this moment? This list might be helpful to name them: emotional safety, health, harmony, hope, order, peace, privacy, reassurance, self-determination.
Notice if naming your feelings and needs changes your state. Is there anything in the present moment that feels unsafe? If so, continue to breathe. Access Your Peace Tool Kit and choose again. It is posted in photos. You can use the breath, identifying feelings and needs, and the Peace Tool Kit whenever you feel out of peace. Let’s return to the subject of death.
Shifting Beliefs about Death
Our culture has given death a negative spin. Birth and death of the body are two absolutes you can count on. As the dominant culture realized that profits could be made, birth and death were removed from the female oversight at home to male controlled institutions. Instead of educating and encouraging people to recognize difficult situations, the masses were convinced and regulated into believing they were incapable of birthing and dying without the intervention of doctors and morticians.
We are exposed to watching increasing mass homicides, natural disasters, and murders every day in the news and entertainment including video games and Hollywood apocalypses. The more death we see on the media, the less we want to think or talk about death. We have traded accepting death to embedding our language with fighting disease and death. If you die, you have lost the fight. You have failed!
There is another way to find peace with death. The natural death movement is returning with more people desiring to be at home for their dying and funeral. Death midwives and Death Cafes offer support for people to be curious and educated about this phase of life we all must pass through. Caring for loved ones and being cared by loved ones allows us to share one of life’s most intimate experiences.
A Time to Be Born and a Time to Die
The indigenous around the world believe that we leave this life and rejoin our ancestors. People in many countries have a place in their homes or outside their doors that honor their ancestors. They place an offering of food or incense to thank those who have come before and to remember where they are going.
I believe the honoring of our elders and dead have been forgotten and replaced with honoring and attention to the rich and famous, Hollywood created beauty and youth. Even pre-teens worry about wrinkles. Teenagers are buying anti-aging products as if aging is a disease to avoid at all costs. Is fear of aging a cause or effect of our death phobic culture?
As medical science creates replacements for body parts and drugs to fight disease, will we be convinced it is immoral to die? What are the implications of the human population that has no ending? Notice how your body reacts to this. Notice how peaceful you are with the consideration of “there is a time to be born and a time to die”.
You probably don't remember your “time to be born”. How peaceful are you as you consider your “time to die”? Death can be natural through age or disease or sudden by accident, murder, suicide or euthanasia. It takes courage to be alive and be human. Will you be at ease when it is your time?
Reclaiming Your Relationship with Death
What is your relationship with death? How do you feel about your own death? Afterlife? Reincarnation? End or beginning? Write your thoughts and assumptions in your peace journal and/or share your understanding of peace with death below in comments. We can create a field together by focusing on what peace with death looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Here are questions to consider:
• Do I accept that it is natural for everyone including myself to die?
• What prevents me from thinking about death and dying?
• What do I fear most about death?
• Can I speak about my own death and take care of advance funeral planning and still feel peace?
• What am I missing from my life by avoiding thoughts of mortality?
If your mind needs evidence that peace around death is possible, you can take the assessments and record your findings and insights in a peace journal. You can retake the assessments at any time and reflect on how your inner peace is blossoming. Using a 1 - 10 rating, 1 = Never, 10 = Always, where are you now in each of these statements?
• I do not want to talk about death.
• I want my body or my loved ones’ bodies to be immediately cremated.
• I avoid thinking about my death or my loved ones’ death.
• I prefer to replace “died” with an alternative more peaceful phrase: “passed on,” “transitioned,” “gone to be with the Lord.”
As you experience peace with death, there are many explorations available to assist you in the final stage of life.
Namaste, The best in me sees and appreciates the best in you.