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Live Your Life With The End in Mind

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We don't think about death enough.

We run from it. Fear it.

We don't spend time embracing the fact that we all came into this world the same way.

And we're all going out the same way.

You may have heard the saying Momento Mori, which translates from Latin, "Remember death."

But have you?

Have you genuinely remembered that death is coming for you, me, and us all?

Like you, I'm afraid of my death and the unknown that lies on the other side of this life.

Yet, I am not afraid of the unknown on the other side of each walking moment in my life. That's what makes life so fun for me. It's the moment now and the next one.

But death is the great unknown. What happens at the end?

In the spirit of my curiosity, a friend suggested after a deep discussion that I do a death meditation with a small group of people.

A death meditation focuses on thinking and visualizing the end of your life. You start with the news that you are in the last eight hours left in your life.

You think of the panic and rush that comes at the end of your life. And you are supposed to sit with it, live in the feeling that your life will stop to end in eight hours.

Within the first minutes of the meditation, my heart was beating out of my chest.

My mind replayed the memories of my life, starting with moments of lingering regret.

Saying no to teaching English in South America.

Not moving to Europe when I had the chance.

The resentment against my Dad.

Not traveling around the world for a year like I wanted to after the Marines.

I sat with these moments in my life and found that it wasn't about moving to Argentina.

It wasn't about leaving everything behind to see the world.

It was about being afraid of taking a chance.

That's where the regret came from.

I felt like I was saying no to my truth.

I desired freedom and wanted it.

Yet, I said no to it, fearing the quest for freedom was an illusion.

The feelings of heaviness were in my chest. I felt that for the rest of my days, as I sat with the feelings of death in meditation, regret would be all I felt.

I would have an amazing family. I would be wealthy. I would be healthy for the rest of my days.

Yet, regret would linger and rear its ugly head on my death bed.

And this is when I learned to surrender to life.

I learned at that moment, that when feelings come to us, we must hold space for them and let them go.

We are not our feelings. We are not our thoughts. Recognizing them as such gives us true power.

So I held space for the feeling of regret of not leaving to go to South America. I felt the depression of not traveling a year after the military.

And I let them come up. I let them go.

Immediately, I felt much lighter. I felt a rebirth, a second chance to relive my life.

I didn't feel bad I never traveled at those moments.

Instead, I embraced with gratitude, the opportunity to travel.

Death didn't seem scary as I once thought.

It actually was full of peace.

The end is inevitable. We all face it. We can't do anything about it.

What makes the end so beautiful is the way we live our life now.

At any moment in time, we can change course. We can live a life where in the end, we have no regret for the experiences.

We don't regret the way things turned out for us.

Every event. Every trip. Every experience is either favorable or not favorable.

We express gratitude for every interaction.

When I woke up from my meditation, I saw that the fame, and achievement I once desired out of my own self-importance no longer mattered.

It didn't even matter to me the amount of money or recognition I accumulated during the visualization of my last hours.

What mattered was that I was smiling at the end of my life. I was happy. I was full of joy and completeness.

At the end of the session, I woke up with a renewed sense of appreciation.

I felt the rug beneath me more than I had ever before. I grabbed the table next to me so that I could feel it.

I took a deep breath, more than before to see how it felt to inhale as much oxygen as possible.

I went on a walk after the session and did something I had never done before on a walk in my neighborhood.

I experienced the neighborhood.

I saw how green the trees were and how happy families were hanging out on the front lawn. I took in how hot the sun was feeling on my skin.

I wasn't stuck in my head for the first time in a long time. I wasn't thinking about work.

I was alive at the moment.

In the here and now.


Since the above story, I have done two more death meditations. While the experience was not as powerful as the first one for me, the other two solidified how I wanted to live my life.

Death meditations are not for everyone. While powerful, these forms of meditation can bring up an intense amount of anxiety.

I encourage you to consult with a professional or the person doing the meditation so you can make sure you are taken care of during the journey.