The Wildly Confident Podcast
On episode 29, I am going to talk with you about how making a practice of thinking about death everyday can add so much more freedom, depth & expansion to your life.
It’s one of the secrets to living a more free & joyous life.
Death has been one of my greatest teachers and a concept I look to everyday as I also reflect on and celebrate with gratitude the gift of my own life.
On this episode you will learn:
- Why thinking about death everyday can help you create the life you desire
- A practice to do with someone else to celebrate life, connection & love
- How thinking about death can be a tool to transform patriarchal limiting beliefs
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Want to read the episode instead?
Speaker 1: (00:00)
Hey, I’m so excited. You’re here today. We are going to be chatting about death and death is a teacher. So before you hop off the podcast, cuz you’re like, I don’t wanna learn about death as a teacher, hang in there for a few minutes and see if, if this might resonate with you. And if you already know it’s not go ahead and turn it off and listen to one of my other podcasts. But death is not something I have in the past. Enjoyed talking about that much. You know, death has been something that when I was younger, I was very afraid of, and don’t get me wrong. I still don’t wanna die today. but I have a much more intimate relationship with death and it’s one of my greatest teachers. And every day, every day I, I drop in and chat, chat with death chat with my, one of my mentors call.
Speaker 1: (00:55)
I call death. One of my advisors and it really helps me stay focused on what’s important in life and helps me drop a lot of the pettiness that I, I used to get caught up in for me, you know, I, my first real experience with death and I’m sure you, everyone has a, a story about death that you might be thinking back on right now, maybe the first time someone that you are very C close with died came when my aunt, um, passed away and she was pretty young. She died in her, in her late thirties of breast cancer. And I remember just being devastated by this and not I was young myself and not having any idea other than just going to a few role, how to process death. So let me share with you how my journey came about, about how to get to know death better.
Speaker 1: (01:53)
And it comes from something that happened to me in my mid thirties. I actually had a near death experience and it’s, it was utterly transformative to me. And I, I rarely talk about it because it seems like such a long time ago, even though it really wasn’t, but so much has happened in my life since that it’s been absolutely transformational that it, it seems like so long ago. Um, but I had a near, near death experience in my mid thirties. I had gone to the hospital for a pretty routine routine, um, procedure. And I had had, um, an allergic reaction to some medication and, you know, unexpectedly, right. if I had known I was gonna have an allergic reaction to it, I wouldn’t have taken it, it, but for whatever reasons. And I certainly look back and think this, this experience was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Speaker 1: (02:54)
I cannot believe I’m saying that at the same time. I wish it upon nobody else. It was a absolutely terrifying experience as well, and caused a lot of, um, trauma in my life. That the only way I could heal from it was going on a much bigger spiritual journey than I probably would’ve signed up for previously. And that spiritual journey really opened me up to all many wonderful things. And so that trauma, you know, transformed into so much beautiful growth for me. And it had to be a big trauma to get the big growth, at least in my life. I don’t think that’s always true. And again, I wish trauma upon nobody, but you know, I’m gonna be talking on and off today about ti Notah who just recently passed away. And since we’re talking about death, it seems very appropriate, but he had the say saying, you know, no, no mud, no Lotus.
Speaker 1: (03:55)
Right? And if Lotus is really a symbol of enlightenment, it’s a symbol of expansion and growth. And I think expansion and growth is at the core. Uh, at least one of the major cores of, uh, every human’s desire here on earth. Once you take away all of the layers of what I would call false desire, things from like, you know, money to, um, fancy things, right? Like material possessions, often material possessions are often like false desires and we get down to the real desires in life. And, and again, there’s nothing wrong with false desires that, that seems like I’m being negative towards them. You’ve often hear, heard me talk about how much I love money and I material things. And I do cuz I also think they’re huge teachers for us in getting to these true desires, these things that I think at the heart of the matter, you know, most humans have these in common.
Speaker 1: (04:52)
It it’s a desire for it to feel free. Okay. A desire for freedom in the life and freedom often is that expansive state and to feeling of growth in you. Right? The other thing I think a lot of humans desire is, uh, love and connection and feeling like they’re part of something feeling like they’re not alone, right? That sense of security and unconditional of acceptance respect. So, so much of my growth, my expansion in my life really happened from the time of that accident to now. And I I’m so grateful for it because it opened me up to experience, uh, the, the feeling of something that I had really avoided before, maybe partially because of my aunt’s death. Like that felt very traumatic to me at a young age. And I was really afraid of death. Um, my, I don’t think I got the resources I needed when I was younger to understand it.
Speaker 1: (05:57)
And I think that’s part of this culture. We don’t talk about death. Death is one of those things. That’s just, it’s like, don’t talk about that. It gets negative. We should talk about happy things. And except death is the yin to the yang of life. , you know, they, life exists because of death. And with that, you know, and just the fact that we don’t spend enough time talking about death or even knowing how to be with death. Um, we really miss out on, I think in some of the fullness and the expansiveness that life can give us. And that’s why death is a great teacher. You know, I love nature. And I, I think you have to go back to nature to find the quote unquote, real world, anytime you feel lost, like just go back to nature and see what nature does. And that’s the real world.
Speaker 1: (06:51)
We live in a very fake world where we hide things, right. We death, most importantly, it’s just something that is baked into this culture. When was the last time you talked about death? Right? Probably not. I mean, I guess we’re talking about today, but other than today, when was the last time probably when someone passed away. Right. And I just think it shouldn’t be a Ja taboo topic talking about death. Doesn’t make it more likely to happen. Maybe people don’t talk about death. Like, I mean, I feel like I didn’t talk about it that much, cuz I was afraid of it. And that was because I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t really understand what the greater purpose of death was in my life cuz in this life I’m alive, right? When, once I die, I’ll be dead. But thinking and talking about death, why I’m alive actually is super expansive.
Speaker 1: (07:45)
Gives me a lot more freedom and helps open up and expand my mind beyond some of the narrow things I might be stuck in on a day to day basis. I mean typically, you know, we get stuck in our daily trance to do lists and what we need to get done. Right? We’re rushing from here to there. If you didn’t listen to my podcast on healing, hurry sickness from last week, go check it out. it’s, it’s pretty much the way this culture is built to be, um, not really enjoying the present moment to, but just as soon as this item is done and we’ve done and we’ve achieved it to move on to the very next thing, because we are like doing machines that are programmed to do, do do. We’re like little computers, uh, little human computers, but that is not our nature.
Speaker 1: (08:33)
Right? Look to nature. if you’re confused about this, right? This is a false reality that we are living in. If you look to nature, things die every day in nature, you look to nature, right? Things, things in nature, aren’t always doing, especially right now. It’s the winter time. And there’s a lot of not doing right now in nature, right? Seeds are under the ground, just hanging out. Some animals are kind of out and about getting a few things. But mostly they’re trying to conserve energy. This is the time of rest. It is not constantly do, do, do, do do. But because of the, and I’m calling this, the false world we instructed and there’s nothing again wrong with the false world. Like there’s a lot of creature comforts here. We live in our houses. We have electricity. We’re warm all the time. But because we have shielded ourselves away from nature, we’ve created a place where we have electricity.
Speaker 1: (09:30)
You know, we have ways to communicate via email really quickly, right? We have outpaced our own human bodies and minds. we have we’re going like we’re creating a world that’s too fast for nature. And hence, because we are of nature, we are from nature. It is too fast for us. So death is a great way to drop back in to nature, drop back in to the wisdom all around you. When you are in that fake world and you are doing, doing, doing, and you are caught up in all sorts of little stories. That really just don’t matter. Right? One of the things I ask, I, I try to ask myself every day, I actually have a sticky note on my computer. Right? A lot of people have like sticky notes on their computer, like have a great day or you know, any of that stuff.
Speaker 1: (10:30)
And I love that stuff, right. But the sticky note on my computer is death. What should I do today? and I laugh cuz I have such a, a, a kind of joking relationship. I think humor is a great way to, to start to open yourself up to death. Anyone who’s ever had a near death experience and maybe I’ll talk more about mine at the end of the podcast a bit more, but anyone who’s ever had that experience just has a different, I think has a different depth around life. When you have gone to that other side in such a dark place and you’ve recognized those experiences and those feelings, it’s a lot easier to tap back into it, but there’s also a wisdom to it to bring to other people. So they, and I obviously don’t want anyone to have to experience what I went through.
Speaker 1: (11:21)
Absolutely not. And, but I wanna share the wisdom from it with you because I don’t think you have to experience it to go, to have to use this wisdom in your life. It’s just very easy for me to tap back into it. Cuz I, I remember those feelings still. They’re very visceral in my body and it’s really good for me to ask death, like what to do about these issues that come up in my life, right? What to do about this. And it just, it makes everything so freaking clear most of the time the things I’m worrying about on a daily basis are just not even worth it. I am way too narrow. I am way too much. Sometimes in a small mindset, I’m not being expansive. I’m not in a place of true freedom, which is where I really wanna be anyway. And this just reminds me that like Bo you know, I have so many options and most of the things I worry about don’t really matter, right? Don’t really matter. There’s a beautiful practice that ti Notah talks about and I’m gonna share it with you and it’s a, a practice to do with somebody else. And you start out by, um, just looking at the other person in the eyes and, and saying Noma day to them, right. We bow and we say Noma day, right? And then you hug the other person. And after the hug, you each take a breath in together and you both say in your head or out loud, I’m going to die.
Speaker 1: (13:01)
And then you take a second breath together and you say you are going to die. And then you say, and just have these precious moments together. Mm oh my gosh. So powerful, such an amazing, amazing practice just to immediately bring you back to what matters in life, right? If you just thought about doing that and it brought some tears to your eyes, it brought ears to my eyes too. um, and without death, we wouldn’t have that, like that, that ability to really, really get in touch again with what matters, we could just live our entire life with the endless to-do list. Right. And just keep doing things. But when we start to think about a limited, you only have a limited amount of time here and I’m going to die. Right. We just admit that out loud, I’m going to die. And we admit out loud, you’re going to die.
Speaker 1: (14:03)
Those are facts, right? There’s nothing. Yeah. We don’t wanna die. Right. I totally right. I totally feel that way, but there’s nothing wrong with saying this because it just, it puts it into crystal clear clarity. That’re, we’re both gonna die one day and we just have these precious moments together. And what that does is it takes these moments to like this amazing depth. Do you see how death, death, and, and allowing death into your life to be that sort of advisor or mentor to give you this wisdom creates so much more depth in your life to have these really amazing, heartfelt, loving connections with people, which again is, I think one of the other things we all desire in our life, right? I think we all desire to have love right. To feel seen to matter, right. And here’s those, there’s this ability to have this experience and to, to just do this practice.
Speaker 1: (14:59)
I mean, I suggest doing this practice once a day with someone in your life and the amount of gratitude that you’re gonna feel doing this as well. It’s just absolutely be beautiful. So I’m gonna share a few reflections, uh, from my own experience, uh, around death. And you may or may not relate to some of this stuff, but for me after that experience, I just had this real, um, gosh, I not, I, I was someone who did is believed. And I think like a lot of people in this culture, because I don’t, I wasn’t practicing this, practicing this, like let’s converse with death every day. Let’s look at death every day, not from a place of stuckness or freeze or, you know, fear, but from a place of this is part of life. This is part of the yin and yang of life and what gives life, the depth and fullness and expansion and freedom and connection that are really important is also including definite.
Speaker 1: (15:59)
And those two both need to be celebrated to some extent, right. At least included in the conversation a lot more than it is. But going back to that time in my life, I would remember having this experience and, and being like in shock that something like this could have happened to me and that totally, um, taken aback by, by the thought that I almost died and what the freak was I doing with my life, you know, I was working a ton of hours, um, and a job that I liked a lot, you know, but, and, but I, I was always living for like some future moment in my life. I, I did meditate. I studied mindfulness based stress reduction, John GA stuff. Like I, I did do a number of those things too. Uh, before this happened to me, I, I wasn a non-spiritual person, but certainly after this happened, I became a deeply, deeply spiritual person because when I was, uh, partially going through part of this in the hospital, I was like in this place of, of now looking back on it, I, I think it was a place of, of limbo or something, a place where people were either dead or not quite it dead yet.
Speaker 1: (17:14)
And I was having conversations with them and even having like a conversation with my, uh, one of my ancestors, it was absolutely a totally, totally wild experience for me, but it opened me up to a whole new realm of, of possibilities in my brain. And afterwards I was like, well, wow, what am I doing with my, with my life? Like I could die any day and I don’t wanna have, and I mean, I, I guess after you die, maybe we don’t really know what happens again. I have beliefs, but I’m not gonna go into them too much here, but yeah, I don’t wanna have regrets. And at that time I remember sitting there and just crying a lot because I had a lot of regrets. I realized if I had died that day, oh my gosh, I had so many regrets in my life everywhere from not having the deep connections.
Speaker 1: (18:07)
Uh, time is my much deep connections and love with my family. Not having enough deep connections with my community, spending too much time working and worrying about the future, uh, spending too much time worrying about money and material possessions, spending a lot of time just taking care of my material, possessions. Right. I had accumulated so much, it was like that stuff was suffocating me and promising right then and there that I was gonna make a change in my life and that I wanted to move to a place where if I was to die the next day, that I wouldn’t have those regrets. And that meant a very big, you know, mind mindset shift in my life. And for me, the greatest teacher to that was these questions was making death. You know, my, uh, my advisor, my, who do I ask questions to? What would death do?
Speaker 1: (19:02)
Right. I love that. Not what would Jesus do, but what would death do? Oh my gosh. Yeah. But thinking of about that question every day, not from a place of fear, not from a place of being frozen or afraid, but from a place of gratitude for life, I’m putting things in perspective. And one little fun thing for people out there that are looking to, uh, create a different world than the late capitalist patriarchal one that we mainly live in. Now, I think death is at least understanding and thinking about death is one of the keys to unlocking a different type of future. Um, one where there is more reverence for a slower life, more reverence for community and say safety and meeting basic needs for people. Um, I do and, and love universal love and oneness. I think death is, is a, is a key to all of that because right now death is hidden from us.
Speaker 1: (20:04)
Death is shielded, and I think it’s done on purpose to, uh, to keep us in fear of it because it’s such a powerful energy. Once we start bringing it into our lens every day, we start acknowledging that at least right now our human life is finite, right? We don’t live for forever. And we start looking at that every day. We probably are gonna be making some different choices about how we spend our time and our energy. They might not be trying to accumulate a ton of things we don’t really need. Right. And spending a lot of our time trying to distract ourselves from the discomfort or lack of connection we have in our life. We might instead, uh, distracting ourselves from our pain, go out and create those connections, create that
Speaker 2: (20:51)
Love we want in our
Speaker 1: (20:52)
Life. We might make a choice to work less hours because we don’t actually need a lot of the things we’ve been told that we need. And again, this is not meant to be judgmental, uh, about doing any of those things either. But I, I do think inviting this practice of conversing with the idea that we’re gonna die one day into your life provide gives you so much more freedom. At least it’s given me a lot more freedom than I had previously. So I’m really, really just absolutely so grateful for it. I also, I’m gonna recommend a talk by Tara bra. If you’re interested in learning some practices to help you even deepen this conversation with death. Um, and it’s called, uh, the four remembrances. Uh, you can listen to that. Talk on YouTube again. It’s Tara Brock. And then the talk is the four remembrances. And I’m gonna leave this podcast with part of a poem by ti Notah called oneness.
Speaker 2: (21:51)
The moment I die, I will
Speaker 1: (21:53)
Try to come back
Speaker 2: (21:54)
To you as quickly as possible. I promise it will not take long. Isn’t it true? I’m already with you in every moment I come back to you in every moment. Just look, feel my presence. If you want to cry, please cry and know that I will cry with you. The tears you shed will heal as both. Your tears are mine. The earth I tread this morning transcends his tree spring and winter are both present in the moment. Young leaf and the dead leaf are really one my feet touch deathlessness and my feet are yours. Walk with me. Now, let us enter the dimension of oneness and see you. The cherry tree blossoms in winter.