DYING WITH INTENTION
by REVEREND NANCY B. DETWEILER, M.ED., M.DIV.
At age eighty, Mother’s lifelong vibrant health continued. She often spent an entire day working with me in the yard, raking, trimming hedges, and weeding the flowers. These were some of our happiest hours together. Little did we suspect that Alzheimer’s disease would soon so incapacitate her mind that she would no longer remember the way to my house.
For the next five years, the family watched, in horror, as Mother’s mind deteriorated steadily She remained in excellent physical health and was, therefore, eager to move about and to be outside. Maintaining a safe environment for her became increasingly difficult. My brother, with whom she lived, was forced to keep the doors locked so she would not wander off while he performed necessary daily duties. Though Allen worked at home and took her for daily walks along the beach, having to stay inside was torture for Mother. She grew up in the country and loved the outdoors. When she could no longer control hear body functions, we were forced to place her in a nursing home. There she fell and broke her hip. At age eighty-five, this once beautiful, very active woman lay in a hospital bed following hip replacement surgery. She no longer knew where she was nor who was with her.
One day, as my sister set beside her, Mother inquired, “How do I get out of here?” My sister knew intuitively that Mother was asking, “How do I get out of this body?” Evelyn reminded her that angels are always present; they would assist her when she was ready to leave. She encouraged Mother to look for the Light and assured her that those family members, who had preceded her back to the realms of spirit, would be waiting to greet her. She explained, “it is okay to leave us (her four children). We love you and will miss you, but we will be fine.”
Finally, several days later, Mother’s soul escaped her body. We could feel intuitively Mother rejoicing, dancing around and shouting, “I’m free! I’m free!” A big party welcomed Mother back to the spirit world. We knew she was happy and no longer imprisoned by the limitations of physical living. We cremated her body and allowed the wind to lift her ashes. Her spirit could now soar—in utter freedom.
Mother’s transition seared questions into my mind. My own age of sixty years added a sense of urgency to finding answers.. After thirty years of metaphysical studies, Mother’s last years were contrary to all that I believed regarding life on the physical plane. Life, as viewed through the lens of reincarnation and soul-centered astrology, is filled with meaning and purpose. There has to be a way for the soul to avoid lingering in the physical past the point of useful, independent living. There has to be a way to escape the horrors of years of mere existence in a nursing home. And there is! God’s divine plan for our lives is far more loving.
We constantly get in the way of God’s divine plan unfolding in our lives. We do so by ignoring the questions: “Who am I?” “Why am I incarnated in a physical body?”
When we ignore these questions, it leaves us vulnerable to being controlled by outside forces. We are told that old age is inevitable. We are told that sickness and incapacity are a natural part of growing old. We are told that death is unavoidable. As a result, we spend millions trying to stay young and healthy. Once old age has snatched away out youth and vitality, we cling to life for years of needless suffering. Why not wake up to what is really happening in our lives? Why not seek the real meaning for our presence on this planet?
We are not merely the end result of a sperm fertilizing an egg. The process of conception and gestation is simply the means by which our physical bodies are created—at this point in our human evolution. Our souls remain in the spiritual realms, awaiting the formation of a physical body, and often do not enter it until the time of birth, or even later. Every soul has the opportunity to change its plans: before physical birth, the soul may choose to remain in spirit; after physical birth the soul may choose to return to spirit within the first two years of life on this plane.
Our presence on this planet reveals that our souls chose to incarnate and to live here temporarily. At some point, we will return to spirit. There is no death. What our society refers to as “death” is rather the soul shedding its physical body and returning home.
We incarnated for the purpose of achieving definite goals and learning specific lessons. A certain amount of life energy is allotted to the physical body to be used in accomplishing the work of our souls. When we ignore our soul and its intentions, we subject ourselves to living life blinded to its true meaning. In so doing, we often set ourselves up for suffering and lingering old age. How can we avoid the scenario we all fear?
The first step is recognizing that the soul’s true home is in spirit. The only reason we leave the realms of spirit is to progress more speedily on our spiritual path via meeting successfully the challenges that confront us while living on the physical plane. Once we have fulfilled our reasons for incarnating, our souls are free to return to spirit. It is like enrolling in a study class, once we have completed successfully the course of study, there is no need to linger in the classroom.
The second step is determining the course of study our souls selected for this lifetime. We can do so by making a list of the challenges with which we have been confronted and evaluating our progress. Has the way in which we responded to our challenges had a positive impact on our lives? If not, how can we convert the negative effects into a positive? For example, if a bitter divorce left you filled with resentments, convert intentionally those negative feelings into the energy of forgiveness. God’s loving grace is always available to assist you—if you make the request. Or, if you are estranged from one of your children, can you make amends? Often, the soul lingers, hoping that healing will take place within a relationship. Deliberately go about seeking that healing. All we can do is our part; we cannot force someone else to change or forgive us.
The third step is to think in terms of clearing the deck of our lives. Are we holding on to disappointments, resentments, anger or regrets? Are we clinging to a person or persons, thinking perhaps that they cannot get along without us? Are we clinging to life in a physical body because we fear the process of death, or death itself? Sweep away these hurdles to a timely transition by releasing them to the Light that is God everywhere present. In so doing, we remove cords of energy that might tie us the physical plane.
The fourth step is to determine what dreams we have left unfulfilled. List the dreams you have longed to bring into fruition, but for whatever reasons, have not done so. Our dreams, especially lifelong dreams, signify out indwelling God’s urges to fulfill our soul’s goals for this lifetime. For examples: Have you always wanted to be a teacher, doctor or artist? Within your remaining years strive to fulfill these dreams to the extent possible. There are multiple ways to teach, heal and paint that will not require long years of educational preparation. Paint for the fun of it. My ninety-three-year-old aunt, who resides in an assisted living environment, recently won national honors for a Christmas card she designed. The Marriott Hotel chain adopted her card for their year 2000 Holiday Season greeting card. Yet, some of my most vivid memories of this aunt are that she seemed always to be sick and unable to travel, as she desired, because she could not be away from her doctor. Teach for the fun of it. Teach a group of inner city children how to raise vegetables or volunteer to tutor in the public schools. Heal with words of love and understanding. We can bring our lifelong dreams into fruition in very simple ways.
How does successfully confronting challenges, clearing the deck of our negative emotions and conditions and fulfilling our dreams assist in preparing to make our transition back to spirit? It frees our energy fields of commitments that our souls made before taking on physical bodies.
As we intentionally go about fulfilling the reasons for this incarnation, we consume the life energy allotted to the physical body. Once our allotted life energy is depleted, we naturally and easily return to spirit. Persons linger on into the helpless years by failing to deplete the life energy via striving to accomplish the goals of the soul. It is also possible that the soul will figure out a way by which to continue its growth process on other dimensions of existence while the physical body remains in a dependent state. I suspect this to be true in the case of Alzheimer’s dis-ease. Long-term illness can serve as a “substitute teacher” to those persons who have not lived life with the awareness of and commitment to fulfilling the soul’s aspirations.
Life on Earth is to be lived with conscious intention and sense of purpose. When we do so, we are preparing to return to spirit upon completion of our classroom assignments for this physical plane life. There will be no need to linger, simply waiting for our life energy to be depleted by the body processes. God’s divine plan for all of us is that we live our lives with a sense of appreciation and joy for the opportunities our souls are granted by physical incarnation and thereby, use constructively our allotted life energy. In this manner, our souls may consciously and intentionally return to spirit.
Lingering, waiting and the fear of nursing homes are eliminated.