A Body of Thought: The Body We Have Chosen

A Body of Thought: The Body We Have Chosen

I was very close to my father, and very upset when he died. A few days after his death, I turned over in my bed, supposedly still in mid-dream, when a shadowy form appeared. He, for I assumed the figure to be such, was similar to those dark depictions of the spirit...

 

How to Create a Simple Farewell Ritual for a Loved One

How to Create a Simple Farewell Ritual

In Western culture, many have become removed from witnessing the actual dying experience as a normal part of life. In my hospice work, I often find myself not only energetically supporting the patient, but also providing guidance to family and loved ones who...

The Act of Grieving: Grief Is A Very Private Experience

Grieving: Why Men and Women Handle It Differently

Grieving is not something done to us, but rather something we do. Thus, grief demands a response from us, one other than resignation. An active process specifies choices and presumes change. More than anything, the process of grief is about transformation.

What Does It Feels Like To Die? (Death Is No Big Deal)

What Does It Feels Like To Die? Death Is No Big Deal

Death is the great mystery of life. That is one of the reasons why the stories of those who have undergone a near-death experience (NDE) have captivated millions of people. We are curious about the afterlife, but more so, we want to know what it feels like to die.

 

Grief -- How to Hang On and How to Let Go

Grief -- How to Hang On and How to Let Go

Grief is a bittersweet emotion. Even though it hurts we subconsciously long for the grief to continue. We are willing to put up with the pain if we can still have the remnants, at least, of a loved one who now exists only in memory. We want the connection without the pain, but the two coexist.

When The Caring Leaves... and When It Comes Back

 When The Caring Leaves... When It Comes Back

It’s important to realize that everyone’s process — everyone’s sense of tragedy, loss, and grief — will be different. Some feel as if they are going crazy, or they feel absolutely lost. Some find handrails — like faith, community, a spouse — that keep them grounded. There is no one way. 

Facing Pain and Grief with the Intention to Heal

Facing Pain and Grief with the Intention to Heal

Intention is the ability to decide what it is we want to achieve and then setting out to achieve that goal. We use the power of intention in business, politics, and education. Can we use it in healing our pain?

What's Your End Game?

What's Your End Game?

Movies that suck for an hour then end well are remembered as good movies. Those that are decent for an hour but suck at the end take their place in history as bad movies. So, how is your life going to end?

How Hindu Rituals Teach To Let Go of Deep Grief

How Hindu Rituals Teach To Let Go of Deep Grief

Rituals can hold the core beliefs of a culture and provide a sense of control in an otherwise helpless situation. I came to understand this when I lost my mother last year and participated in the primary Hindu rituals of death and grief.

After the Storm: When The Mind Becomes Quiet, The Heart Can Feel

After the Storm: When The Mind Becomes Quiet, The Heart Can Feel

When faced with the death or serious illness of a loved one — whether a parent, son or daughter, spouse, or long-time friend — we are almost always shaken, often to the core. When the death is unexpected or sudden, our grief, anger, and confusion can be overwhelming...

I Didn't See It Coming! Messages from the Beyond

I Didn't See It Coming! Messages from the Beyond

Soon after we found out Anthony had died I was showering and could hear him screaming at me... I’m OK, Ma! I’m OK! The shock hit me. A glass wall separated us and he was screaming for me to hear him.

A Learning Curve – It’s Not Always What You Think

A Learning Curve – It’s Not Always What You Think

When someone comes to me with a particular dis-ease or ailment, that they want to eliminate, my first feeling is to cure them – to relieve them of all pain. That isn’t always the case however. Sometimes the healing that takes place, within a certain human being, is not exactly the way you perceive it to be. Let me explain what I mean by this...

Why Emily Dickinson Is The Unlikely Hero Of Our Time

Why Emily Dickinson Is The Unlikely Hero Of Our Time

She has been the precocious “little dead girl” admired by distinguished men; the white-clad, solitary spinster languishing alone in her bedroom; and, in more recent interpretations, the rebellious teenager bent on smashing structures of power with her torrential genius.

Three Common Myths About Dying

Three Common Myths About Dying

People die every day. Most will know they are at the end of their lives. Hopefully they had time to contemplate and achieve the “good death” we all seek.

On Reckoning With The Fact Of One's Death

On Reckoning With The Fact Of One's Death

And common fact it is — about 160,000 Australians die in the course of each year —though every death is a particular death and no single death can be quite like another.

The Elephant in the Room: You Can Ignore Him But He's Still There

The Elephant in the Room: You Can Ignore Him But He's Still There

Humans often spend an inordinate amount of time and energy avoiding the fact that there is an elephant in the room. This phrase refers to an important topic which everyone is aware of but which isn’t discussed due to the topic being perceived as uncomfortable to talk about.

I Listened, and Learned: Taking The Time to Talk and Listen

I Listened, and Learned: Taking The Time to Talk and Listen

My mother, my great encourager and supporter, listened patiently as I read her the last chapter of this book, and she did what every daughter prays for at such a moment. She cried and then looked at me with an expression of such admiration and pride. As my mother gave me this gift, she asked a question that would give me one more...

The Healing Funeral: A Masterful Reframe on Endings

The Healing Funeral: A Masterful Reframe on Endings

Consider a challenge you may now perceive - a financial struggle, relationship issue, or health problem. If you regard these matters as troubles or you feel smaller than them, that is what they will become. Yet with but a slight shift in perspective, they become opportunities to shine.

Facing My Worst Fear and My Greatest Vulnerability

Facing My Worst Fear and My Greatest VulnerabilityWhat if Joyce dies before me? This is one of my greatest vulnerabilities. Sure, I could die first. Statistically, women live longer than men. Even though we’re both healthy in the important ways, we are still seventy years old. We are now in our senior years. Death of our bodies is no longer something that can be ignored.

How Coronavirus Has Transformed The Grieving Process

How Coronavirus Has Transformed The Grieving Process

As I write this, the UK government has just announced that 13,729 people have died in hospitals from COVID-19. Care England estimates more than 1,400 people have now died in care homes.

A Most Magnificent Journey: Death, Grief, Love and Support

A Most Magnificent Journey: Death, Grief, Love and Support

My grandma was dying. I was afraid. I was afraid of death. I was afraid to be with her when she died. I was afraid of all the grief I was going to feel. And I was afraid of everyone else's pain, too. I knew I could stay in California and let her die without me, but I couldn't do that...

Moving through the 7 Grief Stages of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Moving through the 7 Grief Stages of the Coronavirus Pandemic

As we’ve had to give up our normal lives for the foreseeable future, many of us are also feeling a type of grief similar to mourning the death of a loved one. The coronavirus has caused the death of a way of life we were used to.

Why Dying Inspires So Many Writers And Artists

Why Dying Inspires So Many Writers And Artists

It may seem paradoxical, but dying can be a deeply creative process. Public figures, authors, artists and journalists have long written about their experience of dying.

Beginning and Endings: The Reality of Life and Death

Beginning and Endings: The Reality of Life and Death
Learning to live with the death of a person or persons I love is teaching me more about myself and about living. I am more complex than I realized, and yet I'm honest about my weaknesses. I am in the process of learning that weakness is strength, not a flaw.

Bits of Laughter, Tears, and Love... At The End

Bits of Laughter, Tears, and Love... At The End
Having joyful things to think about is helpful. We all know, though, that we have many times where tears are helpful, too. Tears can release feelings, can be eye lubricants, and can sometimes remove stress or improve moods. They do not erase the reason we are sad, but they clear the path to remember our joy - our love.

Why Some Grief Takes Much Longer To Heal

Why Some Grief Takes Much Longer To Heal
It’s a tragic fact of life that most of us will experience the loss of a loved one. Approximately 50 to 55 million people die worldwide each year, and it is estimated that each death leaves an average of five bereaved individuals.

Why Bother Making An End of Life Plan?

Why Bother Making An End of Life Plan?
Let’s face it, there is never going to be a good time to address anything to do with dying, death or grief. When you’re fit and healthy, the last thing on your mind is the end of your life.

A Place to Rest: Green Cemeteries and Backyard Burials

A Place to Rest: Green Cemeteries and Backyard Burials
The basic tenets of environmentally friendly living are now being posed for environmentally friendly dying. Green burial is all about sustainability and developing funeral practices that support and heal nature rather than disrupt and harm it.

To Reincarnate or Not to Reincarnate: Dogs, Humans and Consciousness

To Reincarnate or Not to Reincarnate: Dogs, Humans and Consciousness
I had believed in reincarnation as a child. It was almost a knowing, as I recall. I once had a sense of a place and culture where I’d been many centuries ago, though no recollection of past lives. I just recall a frisson of recognition as I was reading a history book and came across a passage about Chichén Itzá, the pre-Columbian city built by the Mayans...

Message From Beyond: A Healing Visit With My Father

Message From Beyond: A Healing Visit With My Father
I never gave much importance to my father's death and its effect on my life. I tucked it away under the category something unfortunate that happened when I was a kid. It felt as though I put all those unexpressed feelings, words and emotions into a little invisible jar and screwed the cap on tightly. My mind must have known...

If My Dad Can Do It... Believing in Signs from the Spirit World

If My Dad Can Do It...
Anytime I had ever talked about receiving signs or other in­formation from the spirit world, Dad laughed, joked, or scoffed. For personal and religious reasons, he never could understand why I had passed on a surefire career as an opera singer in favor of one as a psychic medium.

Everything Dies And It's Best We Learn To Live With That

Everything Dies And It's Best We Learn To Live With That
Fear of dying – or death anxiety – is often considered to be one of the most common fears. Interestingly though, neither of the two widely used diagnostic psychiatric manuals, DSM-5 or ICD-10, has a specific listing for death anxiety.

5 Things To Do Before You Die

5 Things To Do Before You Die
Many people who are struck with sudden, progressive or terminal illness are kept alive mechanically, while families and doctors make decisions about treatment.

Considering The Impossibly Possible: Loving, Living, and Beyond

 Considering The Impossibly Possible: Loving, Living, and BeyondThere really is no explanation nor prescription for loving, for being with and available to those you love until the last breath and then on. And there is no one way to provide the best possible care for your loved one or for yourself and others who are the caregivers.

Should Euthanasia Be Available For People With Existential Suffering?

Should Euthanasia Be Available For People With Existential Suffering?

Euthanasia debates often focus on people experiencing unbearable physiological or psychological suffering. But research suggests “loss of autonomy” is the primary reason for requesting euthanasia, even among patients with terminal cancer.

Is Out of Body Intimacy Possible?

Is Out of Body Intimacy Possible?What happens after death? Do deeply loving feelings exist when we are no longer in physical bodies?

Hang On For the Ride and Face Aging Without Fear

Hang On For the Ride and Face Aging Without Fear
We are all getting older every day. One day you and I will both be old, if it is our destiny to live that long. It is our choice whether we live in fear and act according to other people's expectations of what an older person is or whether we allow ourselves to be authentic and real. Start now; you are an elder in training...

The Awesome Blessing Under­neath The Awful Gift

The Awesome Blessing Under­neath The Awful GiftSometimes we wonder how we are going to survive the seemingly awful circumstances that appear in our lives. We may even wonder if we want to survive the nightmare at all. As much as my husband's dementia was our worst nightmare, I have grown to see that awful time in our lives as an awesome gift.

The Steps to Processing Loss: Disbelief, Grief, Acceptance, Joy

Processing Loss: Its Disbelief, Grief, Acceptance, JoyHealing can come after loss -- that I now know. And I also discovered that more than healing comes -- joy resurfaces, again. I feel an intimate connection with my beloved once again. And I know now, for sure, that time, place, dimension, and space do not have an effect on the presence of love...

Death and The Spirit World: What Happens At The Moment Of Death?

Death and The Spirit World: What Happens At The Moment Of Death?At the moment of death, our soul rises out of its host body. If the soul is older and has experience from many former lives, it knows immediately it has been set free and is going home. These advanced souls need no one to greet them. However, most souls I work with are met by guides...

Planning For Death Must Happen Long Before The Last Few Days Of Life

Planning For Death Must Happen Long Before The Last Few Days Of Life
Our experience of death obviously shapes the final moments of our own life. It also shapes the experience and remains in the memories of those around us. As an intensive care specialist for more than two decades, my colleagues and I do the best we can to provide high-quality end-of-life care.

The 5 Stages Of Grief Don't Come In Fixed Steps

The 5 Stages Of Grief Don't Come In Fixed Steps
Understanding the normal trajectory of grief matters for the person experiencing the grief and those treating them. Grief can seem desolate for those in the thick of it who often feel unable to imagine a way out of their suffering. But, as time passes, the pain usually dampens or becomes more fleeting.

Can You Really Die From A Broken Heart?

Can You Really Can Die From A Broken Heart?
Grief brought on by the loss of a spouse can cause inflammation that can lead to major depression, heart attack, and even premature death. For a new study, researchers examined the effect grief has on human health by conducting interviews with 99 people whose spouses had recently died. They also examined their blood.

How Some Suicidal Men Find Support On Reddit

How Some Suicidal Men Find Support On Reddit
New research illuminates how some men and boys who are contemplating suicide are finding emotional support in an unexpected place: Reddit. Responses to those posts often contained gendered language of their own, like, “Hey, bro, I’ve been through that before,” or, “What’s bothering you, man?” Sometimes referred to as the “front page of the internet,” Reddit is a social news aggregation and discussion website that’s especially popular among young adult males.

Final Words of the Dying: Hearing Is Healing

Final words
The awe-filled exclamation of Apple’s Steve Jobs — “Oh, wow! Oh, wow! Oh, wow!” — is an example of the intensified language we hear at the threshold and is true to the personality of the inspired innovator. Chaz Ebert, wife of celebrity critic Roger Ebert, shared a de­tailed account of her husband’s last words, in Esquire in 2013.

An Orca Mother Grieves: Tahlequah and her Calf

An Orca Mother Grieves: Tahlequah and her Calf
Tahlequah made headlines around the world as she carried the body of her dead calf at the surface of the water, sometimes on her head, sometimes in her mouth, for at least 10 days, in a heartbreaking “tour of grief”, as one of the foremost experts on her pod and her family, Ken Balcomb of the Whale Research Foundation, called it.

How The Internet Is Changing The Way We Grieve

How The Internet Is Changing The Way We Grieve
People don’t die in the same way that they used to. In the past, a relative, friend, partner would pass away, and in time, all that would be left would be memories and a collection of photographs.

Caring for Our Aging Parents

Caring for Our Aging Parents
As anyone knows who’s cared for an elderly parent, it’s not easy. It’s an unquestionably sacred and transformative task, but it can also be extremely difficult. The demands placed on caregivers are huge.

How To Look After Someone With A Terminal Illness

How To Look After Someone With A Terminal Illness
Dying is changing. It used to be quick and unexpected for most, due to infection or trauma. Now it comes to us, in general, when we are older – caused by chronic medical conditions such as heart, kidney or lung disease, diabetes or dementia.

Why Widowed Spouses Really Die From A Broken Heart

Do Widowed Spouses Really Die From A Broken Heart?
In the three-month period following a spouse’s death, widows and widowers are more likely to exhibit risk factors linked to cardiovascular illness and death, according to a new study.

How Much Time Have I Got, Doc? The Problems With Predicting Survival At End Of Life

How Much Time Have I Got, Doc? The Problems With Predicting Survival At End Of Life
Predicting how long a patient will survive is critically important for them and their families to guide future planning, yet notoriously difficult for doctors to predict accurately. While many patients request this information, others do not wish to know, or are incapable of knowing due to...

The Road Ahead: Choosing to Live With Dedicated Awareness

The Road Ahead: Choosing to Live With Dedicated Awareness
A funeral sometimes results in introspection about our own mortality. Throughout that irksome journey, we discussed our feelings about life and death. We shared experiences, sorrowful personal losses and our mundane philosophies on death and dying, not expecting it to be any more than a normal reaction to the passing of a family member.

How To Look After A Dying Loved One At Home

How To Look After A Dying Loved One At HomeWhen someone dies at home, everyone in the family is affected. Looking after a relative who is at the end of their life can be enormously rewarding, but carers have many unmet information and support needs. This can take a toll on their physical and emotional health.

What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About Grief

What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About GriefNovember 2 is All Souls’ Day, when many Christians honor the dead. As much as we all know about the inevitability of death, we are often unable to deal with the loss of a loved one.

Do Extraordinary Claims Really Require Extraordinary Evidence?

 Do Extraordinary Claims Really Require Extraordinary Evidence?Death will always carry with it a certain mystical component. No one can truly know what happens when we die, however, deathbed visits and other metaphysical phenomena certainly do provide a confirming hint of what lies beyond this world.

From Cancer and Near-Death -- to Healthy and Fully Alive

From Cancer and Near-Death -- to Healthy and Fully AliveDuring my near-death experience, it felt to me that all judgment, hatred, jealousy, and fear stem from people not realizing their true greatness. This goes against the natural flow of life-force energy...

Why Music And Grief Go Hand In Hand

Why Music And Grief Go Hand In HandIn the aftermath of the June terrorist attack in Manchester, an unusual thing happened. Mancunians gathered in St Ann’s Square ended a minute’s silence to honour the dead with a spontaneous rendition of Don’t Look Back in Anger by the homegrown rock band Oasis.

Live Like You Have an Expiration Date

expiration dateIf it were your last days on earth, what would you do? Would it change how you live today? Maybe you would wake up earlier and be a bit more cheerful. You might even stay up later. You would definitely tell your family and friends how much you love them.

How To Connect With Our Beloveds In Their Final Days

How To Connect With Our Beloveds In Their Final DaysOne of the ways people bring closure to their lives is through their final requests. The most common requests in the Final Words Proj­ect were humble ones related to visiting with friends and family members and enjoying certain small pleasures, like a last bottle of a favorite beer. Those who are dying often wait for...

On The Train To Find The Son I Lost

On The Train To Find The Son I LostWe are on our way to Chicago to meet a man who has found a way for the living and the dead to talk. He knows how to induce a state in which those who grieve can hear directly from the ones they have lost. I don’t fully believe, but it’s all I have.

To Everything There Is a Season

To Everything There Is a SeasonPart of my job is to conduct the memorial whenever a death occurs. Although each service is tailored to the circumstances, I begin many of them with the same reading: “To everything there is a season...” It helps me to remember that our lives proceed according to a natural rhythm.

We Are All Together: The Living and the Dead

We Are All Together: The Living and the DeadDeath isn’t bad luck, because there is no difference between the living and the dead. The one in the coffin is doing the same thing as the one grieving in the pew: loving and learning.

3 Scientific Explanations For Ghost Sightings

3 Scientific Explanations For Ghost SightingsFrom ghosts to ghouls, witches to wizards, Halloween is the one time of the year when people come together to celebrate everything supernatural.

Living and Talking with The Dead

Living and Talking with The DeadI quickly learned—at the age of four—that while the dead may be dead, they still have a lot to say, and it is my job to listen. As kids, we all learn to look both ways and never take candy from a stranger. I also learned to never argue with a dead person—they often know more than the living.

Finding A Path Back To Life After Pain and Tragedy

Finding A Path Back To Life After Pain and TragedyWe cannot avoid emotional pain in life, and it’s through our experience of it that we come to under­stand what it means to be human. The whole of life is a series of beginnings and end­ings, a succession of mini-deaths, that we have to learn to take in our stride...

Spirit Energies and Ghost Stories: Lincoln and ANZAC

Spirit Energies and Ghost Stories: Lincoln and ANZACGhosts are still to be found haunting old buildings, castles, domestic houses, prisons and just about any place of human habitation you can imagine. There are even many recorded stories of ghosts in the White House in Washington. The 16th US President Abe Lincoln has been seen by...

Being Is Enough: Approaching a Loved One's Moment of Death

Being Is Enough: Approaching a Loved One's Moment of DeathSome births happen with just a few easy pushes while others are a long, drawn out, Herculean task. The moment of death, too, is unique and can happen with gentle ease or struggle and effort. It deserves the same honor we reserve for the moment of birth whether it was a peaceful experience or a conflicted one.

Spiritual Care At The End Of Life Can Add Purpose And Help Maintain Identity

 People nearing the end of their life often express fear of dying alone. Gerard Moonen/Unsplash, CC BYIn nursing homes, older people are increasingly frail and being admitted to care later than they used to be. More than half of residents suffer from depression, yet psychiatrists and psychologists aren’t easily accessible, and pastoral or spiritual care is only available in a subset of homes.

Suicide and the Afterlife According to Janelle

Suicide and the Afterlife According to JanelleJanelle and I first ‘met’ in 2010 when a member of her family came to me for a reading. After this particular reading I overflowed with compassion, feeling the pain of those who believe they have lost their loved ones forever.

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FROM THE EDITORS

Everything We Do Is A Choice: Being Aware of Our Choices
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
The other day I was giving myself a "good talking to"… telling myself I really need to exercise regularly, eat better, take better care of myself… You get the picture. It was one of those days when I…
InnerSelf Newsletter: January 17, 2021
by InnerSelf Staff
This week, our focus is "perspective" or how we see ourselves, the people around us, our surroundings, and our reality. As shown in the picture above, something that appears huge, to a ladybug, can…
A Made-Up Controversy - "Us" Against "Them"
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
When people stop fighting and start listening, a funny thing happens. They realize they have much more in common than they thought.
InnerSelf Newsletter: January 10, 2021
by InnerSelf Staff
This week, as we continue our journey into what has been - so far - a tumultuous 2021, we focus on tuning in to ourselves, and learning to hear intuitive messages, so as to be living the life we…
InnerSelf Newsletter: January 3, 2021
by InnerSelf Staff
As we welcome the new year, we say goodbye to the old... which can also mean - if we choose - letting go of things that don't work for us, including old attitudes and behaviors. Welcoming the new…