“Through my personal experiences of love and loss, and through 20 years of counseling countless clients through theirs, I have learned the following truths:
1) Life is truly a gift. We’re probably all guilty at times of viewing time as an obstacle we need to hunker down and get through (e.g., “Isn’t it the end of the workday yet?” “I just need to get through this year…”) Death reminds us that life is precious, temporary and not to be taken for granted or begrudged. A daily practice of gratitude such as a meditation, affirmation or journal entry is a great way to stay positive and aligned with the awareness of the awesome gift of life.
2) You are not your resume. While our academic and career accomplishments bring knowledge and experiences, it is our choices that define our character and bring wisdom. When somebody one day gives your eulogy, it is doubtful your GPA or workplace title will be cited. What will be remembered is how you made people feel, so be mindful of being present in your relationships and be your best self.
3) The present moment is where life occurs. We all ruminate about the past and worry about the future. Death reminds us that all we have for certain is right now and re-calibrates our values. Don’t waste your life second guessing your past or waiting to live your life. Live life passionately and fearlessly. Live today and every day to its fullest, brilliant magnificence. Laugh with abandon. (Even in the last weeks of my mother’s life, my sisters and I experienced moments with her where we were overcome by fits of hysterical laughter together. I’m grateful we seized those precious opportunities for connection and hold those memories close to my heart.)
4) Loss can bring unexpected and enormous blessings. Hardships are opportunities for growth. Unimaginable losses are openings for the soul to receive healing love from new sources. In my practice and in my own journey, I have been awed and inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit. You never know how strong you are until you endure the unendurable. While it may be impossible to understand our losses, I believe all people come in our lives for a reason, setting our lives on the correct trajectory for our psycho-spiritual development. Notice the blessings you have received from your losses and be grateful for the ways those experiences have carved wisdom and depth into your being.
5) Love is the currency of life. In our culture, we place far too much value on achievement, money, possessions and beauty. Love is what matters and what is remembered. It is LOVE that connects us to one another and to the world around us, in life and beyond.”