Why You Don’t Need a Near-Death Experience to Change Your Life
I should start this blog by saying that, thankfully, I’ve never had a near-death experience. More than once, however, I have come very close to losing everything I had. Those experiences, which I talk about in Meditations with Grandma, had a profound impact on the way I saw myself and were instrumental in me making big lifestyle changes.
But do we always need to peer over the precipice, or even nearly go over it, before we realise what we might lose?
You see, dear reader, it’s so easy for us to get caught up in all kinds of entanglements, so easy for us to get distracted by our physical and material realities — I’m sure some of you will know the John Lennon lyric, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” The result is that we lose touch with who we really are and what we really want.
This is particularly true for women because there are so many different expectations loaded onto us by so many different people. Our families, friends, colleagues, bosses, customers — pretty much anyone we come into contact with — all want us to embody different roles, often within the space of one day! This can leave us with precious little time to tend to ourselves, and so the things we’d love to change about ourselves get shoved to the bottom of the pile. How many of us have continually put off things we want for ourselves, a career change or a new spiritual pursuit, because of external factors? We say that it can wait until next year, until the kids are older, or there’s more money, or things are just, well, different somehow. But then, that time seldom comes, and it takes something as dramatic as a brush with death or a serious illness to bring us back inside ourselves and to the fact that we only have this present moment, this beautiful now, to act in.
Sometimes we can become so distracted by external factors that we become completely disconnected from ourselves. Believe me when I say that I speak of this very much from experience. As I relate in Meditations with Grandma, I was once a very successful corporate businesswoman. I built my business up from scratch, and thanks to a lot of hard work, I acquired all the material and social “blessings” that come with that kind of success.
Eventually, however, such complete absorption in my physical realities took its toll, and I burned out hard. It wasn’t a near-death experience, but it was profound and frightening enough to make me realise how important it is to remain connected to ourselves and to the moment. But we don’t need to nearly lose everything to gain this kind of connection. We already have it within us; we just need to tap into it. Only here, right now, within the balance of our physical and spiritual realities, are we truly in our power. Only now can we affect change for anyone, be it ourselves or others.