Art of Dying Volume One | Page 48

I work with what people can relate to. I don’t impose how one should think about death. I work with how they think about death. I teach meditations that reveal to each patient their own way within. I tell the dying that they have a new mantra: “This is not my problem.“ I tell them that now their only job is just to let go, to find as much peace as they can and just let go. Stop thinking about worldly things that no longer matter. As we talk, we realize that perhaps death isn’t the negative thing we have been conditioned to think it is. Death brings the beauty of life into sharp relief. Death empowers us to live consciously and from the heart. Death brings us together and inspires conversations that help us put fear aside as we support each other. I am so grateful to be of service and receive so much from students and clients. The complete mutuality of this work is truly remarkable. I could never have imagined work where I am giving and simultaneously fed. I am not here to fix anything, but rather to hold space with an open heart; to be a mirror for those I work with, to offer what helps from my toolbox of knowledge. I feel if I dropped dead today, I’m ready. There’s nothing unsaid. There’s nothing undone. Yes, I’m ready. 48 | ART OF DYING I feel that my yoga practice with Ellen is a practice for dying. The idea of meeting your death in as calm a way as possible. It’s consciously embracing death and what is beyond. Practice for dying is not allowing yourself to be overcome by panic or negative thought s when you go. but going elegantly, in peace. Yoga reminds you that life is not just about this physical body, that your spirit goes beyond this porous body. I encourage older people to take up yoga. Yoga is not exclusive to people who have physical attributes that allow them to twist themselves like a pretzel. Yoga can be what you personally need. “ I’ve seen people change over the course of their dying process. And I’ve seen people hold onto fearful attitudes until the end. One patient was an accomplished artist. Her belief was when you die there’s nothing left– you just go into the ground. The idea of that terrified her and she fought and fought to stay alive. I also worked with a judge who felt he had committed a terrible sin and converted to Catholicism. Although a priest gave him final rights, he was afraid he was going to hell. The artist was afraid she was going to nothing. Death doesn’t generalize. Every death experience is different. A QUOTE FROM ONDIS, A PATIENT: