Walking the Path with Death – It is Life Enriching!
It was the spring of 2012. I was visiting with a couple of my friends up on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. It was late one evening. Chris, Mark, and I were sitting under a full moon over looking Halfmoon Bay in Chris’ hot tub when I got my ‘calling’.
What’s a calling you ask?
“Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
The great theologian Howard Thurman
This comes about as close to describing what happened for me that spring evening. I had asked Grandmother, my word for God, what was next for me. I was at yet another fork in the road of my life not quite clear on what to do. I really wanted to serve others and this time I was intent on letting ‘Grandmother’ show me the way as opposed to me out thinking myself.
Show me she did!
“I want you to help change the way North Americans approach and deal with dying and death.” Grandmother said.
My response went something like this…
“What? You’re not serious are you? I can’t possibly be the right person for that job. Way too many people to talk to, and I really don’t have what it takes to get that job done. Are you sure…”
Before I could finish my question Grandmother cut in, “Stephen my love, you asked. Now I have told you and you are arguing with me? It is the job I have in mind for you, so you either take it or leave it.”
“Get back to me when you’re ready to say yes or no.” said Grandmother.
That was that. Conversation over. Grandmother had ‘hung up’.
Several months later I found myself back on the Sunshine Coast, in Chris’ hot tub and yes Mark was there too. So was Grandmother. Over the din of the ocean, the wind in the trees and our spirited conversation I heard the sound of someone clearing their throat.
Yep, Grandmother it was, “Well…”
Embarrassed at my ability to procrastinate I blurted out, “Oh yeah, the job.”
“It’s still yours Stephen my love will you take it?” Grandmother asked fondly.
I sat in the question for what seemed like either and eternity or a nanosecond. Finally, looking deeply into my heart I saw there was nothing to say but…
The moment I agreed from that deep place inside me I burst into tears of both relief and joy. Relief because I was finally stepping into what felt like my life’s purpose or Me, and joy at the possibilities and adventures my “Yes” had just created for me.
I blurted out something like, “Grandmother I will need help so please send some along will you.”
“Yes of course my sweet one,” Grandmother replied, “ but don’t you worry about those little details you just get going on your new job. Let me take care of what you new age humans call syncronicity.”
Conversation over. Back to the here and now.
My two buddies were looking a little puzzled at my tears, not being privy of course to my inner conversation with Grandmother. So I filled them in and when I was done each said, “Of course what a perfect job for you.”
Now as I sit here at my laptop some three years later I notice…
I wrote the book When Death Speaks – Listen, Learn, and Love
I created the web sites www.embraceyourdeath.com and www.endoflifeguidetraining.com
I developed End of Life Guide Training
I have trained a dozen End of Life Guides
I have been a keynote speaker and presenter at death and dying, and ageing conferences and IdeaCity
I have done dozens of radio shows and podcasts
I have created videos and posted them YouTube so others can see a different way
I have shamelessly marketed myself to hospice organization, colleges and universities
I have sent out thousands of marketing letters, packages, and emails
I have led over ten Death Cafes
I have posted tirelessly on my social media network new ways to look at dying and death
I have remain undaunted in the pursuit of my purpose – To Change the Way North Americans Approach and Deal with Death
I notice too, that Grandmother has sent me help in the form of synchronicities, chance meetings with folks like Moses Znaimer, Deepak Chopra, Donalda Carson, Felicity Warner, Sarah Kerr, Eric Mortimer, and Nicole Koch to name but a few, all of whom have helped me immeasurably in the work I am committed to.
I notice too, all the creative ideas the have resulted from this crazy collection of people bumping into each other.
I notice too, I am being well taken care of, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and now financially.
I notice too, how happy I am in my life.
I have realized over the past few days all of this came about for a simple reason. I looked into my heart, saw what I was called to do, and I simply set out each day to do it no matter what. As poker players would say “I went ALL IN.”
I have realized I have faith (not hope) that I can actually accomplish my purpose, and that Goethe was correct…
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749 – 1832
Who would have thought all this would result from me walking a path with death.
I am indeed blessed and my life is so enriched.
Warmly and with profound gratitude