Death’s Smile

I have worked as a hospice massage therapist for almost three years and I did not witness someone die. However, a few days ago, I witnessed my first death.

My patient, John, was in his eighties. He died from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. When I arrived at his apartment, his wife, children, and grandchildren where present. They were tearful as John neared death.

I am kind and supportive to the patient’s family, but I focus on my patient. Johns breathing was irregular with a slight pause between his breaths. I gave him a gentle massage on his hands. I’m also a Reiki energy worker, and I could feel happiness radiate from his heart.

After about 10 minutes, I moved to the foot of the hospital bed to hold John’s feet. After a few minutes, I saw him smile. I told his family members that he smiled and the family gathered around him. Then he smiled two more times. I told his family that “I think it’s getting close.”

John stopped breathing. John’s wife held is face and spoke loving words to him. They knew each other since they were 14 years old.

After a minute, I thought he died, but then he started breathing again. John’s daughter looked at me with confusion. As he breathed, he started to turn purplish gray. John took a few more breaths and then he died. As I gently held his feet, I closed my eyes.

It was a peaceful death. I started to cry with the family. I felt so honored to be there. I silently said “thank you” to John.

John had a close family. It was beautiful how they supported John during his dying process. They loved him so much.

I remember the quote by Todd Burpo, “The one thing love requires is to let others know they are not alone.” We need to be there for each other. We are together in life and in death.

I am so grateful to be alive. I want to rejoice in my continued opportunity to live my life to the fullest.

Namaste, world.

"The Alchemist" Quotes

By Paulo Coelho
By Paulo Coelho

I just read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for the second time. I read it several years ago, so it was wonderful to read it again. I like the lessons in the book. They are good reminders. For my 2020 intention, I want to reconnect with my heart chakra, so reading The Alchemist was reaffirming my intention.

It’s easy to say connect with your heart, but where do you begin? One way to connect with your heart is to feel your heart on a physical level. Place your hand on your heart center, and feel your heart beating. Also, during meditation, you can feel your heart beating as you follow your breath.

This morning during my meditation, I focused on my heart beating. I could feel the gentle rhythm. Also, I felt a twinge of fear. It was interesting because I wasn’t expecting to feel fear. I realize now that my heart has a lot to tell me, and I fear the unknown. But I know to stay in the present moment and let the fear pass.

A few days ago, I wanted to feel my heart when I held my dog in my arms. I could feel my heart fill with joy as a smile spread across my face. My heart started to beat as if it was purring.

I have a trip coming up in a few weeks. I am going to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to participate in a 10-day advanced Thai Yoga Massage training. Last night I thought about my trip as I felt my heart. I could feel my heart beat faster, just thinking about my trip. I am a little nervous traveling alone and spending the last five days of the trip by myself. I reminded myself that I am not traveling right now and to stay in the present moment.

The heart is a sensitive organ. It connects with our mind, emotions, body, and energy. It is the center of our life.

Namaste, world.

Live Your Dream for 2020

For Christmas, I got my two sister-in-law’s new potholders that say, “Live Your Dream.” It is a reminder to think about what you want in life and then go for it.

To live your dream for 2020, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Create a vision board to help you see your goals and dreams.
  • Remember thoughts are energy. What thoughts do you want to give energy to and keep living?
  • Set intentions in your heart and then act on them.
  • Be aware of the scarcity complex. You have enough and always will have enough.
  • In 2020, is there one thing that you can do to help other people or an organization?
  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Read an inspirational book. Let a story change your life. Here are some books that I recommend:
    • The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
    • Final Gifts, by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley
    • Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, by Matthew Sanford
    • Let your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation, by Parker J. Palmer
    • Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival, by Velma Wallis

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Namaste, world.

Angel Message 397

Several nights ago, an angel appeared in my dream. In my dream, I was on a trip. I don’t know where, but I remember traveling. I was in a hotel room by myself at night. I remember the room filling with an odorless smoke. Then a young angel emerged from the smoke. She had long brown hair and a cream-colored gown. She said to me, “It is time to train others.” I responded, “But I am still in training.” Then the angel disappeared, and I woke up from the dream.

According to Gustavus Hindman Miller, the author of 10,000 Dreams Interpreted, “to dream of angels, is prophetic of disturbing influences in the soul. It brings a changed condition of the person’s lot.” I have more questions than answers. Should I start teaching classes or take someone under my mentorship? Or do I continue my spiritual training and train others? Or is my subconscious mind connecting with my upcoming trip?

Life is training, and Earth is our school. We cannot forget subtle divine interventions. We get so wrapped up in our thoughts, that it’s easy to forget the mysteries in life. As Christmas approaches, it is a good time to remember angels.

An angel is a spiritual being who is an agent or messenger of God, represented in human form with wings and a long robe. In the Bible, an angel appeared to Mary, to Joseph, and the shepherds. Many religions around the world believe in angels.

Angels call us to be angels on earth. We need to help each other as much as possible. Let your heart guide you. Also, angels remind us to be grateful for our lives. We are here to learn and grow as spiritual beings. It is not always easy. Life can feel lonely at times, but we are never truly alone. Our guardian angels are watching us and guiding us.

Namaste, world.

My Path to Minimalism

About a year ago, I started my path to minimalism. One contributing factor to reducing my stuff is because of my work with the dying. I know what is important in life and what is not. I know that I cannot take anything with me after I die. One of my hospice patients said to me, “Start now.” If I have less stuff right now, the less stuff I will need to get rid of later in life. Also, I need to think about what I want to leave behind after I die. I don’t want my family to sort through tons of stuff.

What does minimalism look like to me? I have seen several YouTube vlogs about owning only 25 things. I am not that extreme. I don’t want a bare house, so I have furniture, clothes, and knick-knacks. I do not consider myself a minimalist yet. I am on a path to minimalism.

A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming. – Marie Kondo

The most significant change in my environment is less clutter. It was a slow process that continues today. To de-clutter, you must get rid of stuff (donate, recycle, sell, or toss). Marie Kondo says in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, that “effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.” My house is mostly clutter-free, and it feels great!

When I was in India in 2015, I visited the memorial museum of Gandhi, and I could see all of Gandhi’s belongs were encased in plexiglass. I could see he was a minimalist because he had so few things. His lifestyle is a reminder to only keep what we love and need.

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard the rest. – Marie Kondo

Gandhi’s belongings displayed at the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi, India
Display of Gandhi’s bedroom at the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi, India

Where do I want to go with my minimalism? I want to slowly have fewer possessions. It is easy to become attached to my belongings. Marie Kondo says, “But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” If I want to live in the present moment, I need to have possessions that serve me now.

I have one more hurdle. My husband does not embrace the minimalist movement. He has too much fishing stuff that clutters our basement, but if his stuff makes him happy, then so be it. Maybe my minimalism will rub off on him eventually.

Things I own do end up owning me. I have to clean, repair, and store all of my belongings. Having less stuff gives me more freedom. Soon I will be packing for my trip to Thailand, and everything that I need will be in a backpack. To travel light, we must live light.

By not being anchored down by worldly possessions, his mind was able to achieve true freedom. – Shoukei Matsumoto

Namaste, world.

Prayer for Gratitude

Two nights ago, I dreamt that I was walking through a forest full of golden leaves. I was light on my feet, and I was very happy. As I walked, I combed my long blonde hair. I felt my hair trail behind me as if it was floating in the air. I had gratitude in my heart, and I had a sense of comfort that I belonged in the Universe.

Prayer for Gratitude, by Don Miguel Ruiz

“Today, creator of the universe, my heart is filled with gratitude for the gift of life you have given me. Thank you for the opportunity to experience this beautiful body and this wonderful mind. Today, Lord, I want to express my gratitude for everything I have received from you.

I know the way to say thank you for life is by fully enjoying every moment of my life. And the only way to enjoy every moment is to love. Today, I will express my love and happiness that exist in my heart. I will love your creations, I will love myself, and I will love the people who live with me. I know that life is too short to waste in misery and drama with the people I love. I will enjoy the presence of the people I love, respecting their choices in life as I respect my own.

Today, I will graciously receive your gifts by enjoying your gifts, by enjoying the beauty of all your creation. Help me to be as generous as you are, to share what I have with generosity, just as you share your gifts so generously with me. Help me to become a master of gratitude, generosity, and love so I can enjoy all of your creations.

Today, Lord, help me to manifest my creation as you manifest the universe, to express the beauty of my spirit in the supreme art of the human; the art of dreaming my life. Today, Lord, I give you all of my gratitude and love because you have given me life. Amen.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Circle of Fire

Namaste, World.

Self-Acceptance is the Way

“Mindfulness practice suggests that we give up on self-improvement and instead begin a course on self-acceptance. The way out of our unhappiness is not to fix ourselves.” – Henry Emmons, The Chemistry Of Joy

Do you accept yourself for who you are? Can you forgive yourself and move on? Do you love yourself and have self-compassion? Be aware of the burden of your thoughts. Do you suffer because you can’t let go of something?

Here is a cradling exercise, by Angeles Arrien, from the book, The Four-Fold Way. This cradling exercise is a four-fold practice of honoring who you are and remembering the interconnectedness that supports and binds all beings together.

Cradling Exercise: Lie down and place your right hand over your heart, and your left hand over your right hand. Then mindfully contemplate the following:

  • Acknowledge your strengths and talents
  • Acknowledge what character qualities you like about yourself
  • Acknowledge the contributions that you have made and are making
  • Acknowledge the love given and the love received

Namaste, world.