“I’m not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Woody Allen
The death referenced by Woody Allen in this delightful quote is physical death to which we all must eventually surrender. That is not the subject of this post; physical death (small d) is 100% inevitable, no matter how long we each manage to evade it. The subject of this post is Death (Capital D) as expressed by The Death Card (XIII).
“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.” Epicurus
I love these three cards (above); each more whimsical than the next. Death strikes fear? Not here, and that is a good thing. Death may be sudden, capricious, and / or complete in the changes it delivers but that does not mean we should be afraid.
Life asked Death, “Why do people love me but hate you?”
Death responded, “Because you are a beautiful lie and I am a painful truth.”
The important focus of Death is not endings but rather Transition to new beginnings, often to something better. Our lives are lived in Transition: childhood to adulthood, single to married, childless to parenthood, school to career, working to retired, etc., etc., etc. Transition is the natural order of Life and should not be avoided. In fact, Transitions cannot be avoided and attempts to do so are a serious waste of our most precious resources (time, energy, opportunity, engagement, happiness).
(NOTE: Some decks depict the thirteenth position as Transition rather than Death.)
“I intend to live forever. Or die trying.” Groucho Marx.
Transitions and Transformations may be wonderful and anxiety inducing at the same time. The thrill of change includes a healthy amount of fear, no reason to be ashamed. Fear exists to keep us alive. Without fear, there is no bravery.
It is what we do with fear that matters – do we stand or do we cower?
Most sensible people understand the importance of fear as well as the importance of moving past fear but still struggle with “HOW?”
- How to move forward?
- How to make smooth transitions?
- How to embrace Transformation?
As with anything, it never hurts to have a strategy. I suggest the following:
- TAKE CHARGE. Whatever the Transition, it is yours. Do not give up your power – take charge of what happens next.
- STAY FOCUSED. You know you must make the change – home, job, marital status, etc – and it would be easy to distract yourself from the tasks at hand. Taking an occasional break is a good but be careful it does not become an avoidance strategy. Stay focused on what must be accomplished; make lists, set schedules, create time-frames. You may not have chosen the current circumstances but you can choose how you handle them.
- STAY POSITIVE. Maybe you did not choose this Transition; your husband left you, or the landlord sold the building, or your position has been eliminated, or, or, or. First thing to remember: the change is not a punishment, do not treat it as such. Second thing to remember: since you are already on the road, might as well make the most of the journey. You have no choice but to move? Consider festive decorating (the internet is chock-full of decorating-on-a-budget ideas!); even something as small and as simple as new air freshener or aromatic candles can make a big difference.
- MEET NEW PEOPLE. Join a club, take a class, go on a tour – anything that helps you meet new people with interests similar to your own.
- FORM RELATIONSHIPS. Although it is difficult for adults to make “new friends,” it is important to be open to the possibility and the process. Meet someone at book club – suggest coffee. Attend a yoga class with a regular group – suggest lunch. Allow yourself to try, and be amazed at what you will find.
- TRY NEW THINGS. Never eaten Indian food? Now is the time to try! Toying with the idea of a new hair color? Go for it! Thinking about taking a trip, learning a language, or starting a hobby? The time is now!
- KNOW THE STAKES. You have nothing to lose! You just got started – there will be some stumbling and false starts – so do not be afraid of the learning curve. With effort and determination, you can make your journey what you want it to be. The only one capable of stopping you, is YOU!
- SELF CARE. This is NOT coddling! It is important to rest and rejuvenate; Transformation is a marathon rather than a sprint and you must take care of yourself. Whatever makes you feel good – make a cup of tea, get your nails done, go for a run, take a bubble bath, meditate, etc – should be included in your schedule; a little can go a long way so make sure you fit in a little “me time” EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Winston Churchill
Always remember: this is you story – tell it your way!
((All images courtesy of Google Images.))