When something has ended—a relationship, a dream, a life—take a note from nature and let the detritus and sadness of the situation decompose, then feed it to your “tree of life.”
I call this “turning shit into fertilizer.” Let the something that has ended end so the new has growing space.
When somebody close to you is facing death, be a truth speaker. If you’re thinking, “I don’t want to upset them,” stop! Tell them how you feel—even if it’s upsetting. Ask, “What do you need to finish your communications or business before you die?” Help them unload their burdens. Speaking truth can be the best gift of their life!
Assess whether they need someone to tend to them 24/7. Be honest! Is this job really yours? Instead, hire people trained to tend to their needs. This way, you both can go through this death with dignity and integrity.
What other steps can you take?
Breathe deeply—all day.
Get grounded, get feet active. Spread the balls of feet and lift toes. Press heels and balls of feet down.
Do something daily that touches your heart in a “beauty way.” Be brave enough to feel that delight.
Share these moments with your loved one so that they are soaking in beauty as they are dying—for example, “This amazing thing happened today!” That is a Forrest Yoga Beauty Report.
Ask them to use your love as wings to move through the suffering and let go into the freedom of death.
If you have an emotional burden, work it out with a therapist. Then speak from your heart to your dying one.
The gates of death open when someone is dying; the winds of change begin to blow. It’s an honor to be with a dying person. You get to see their soul off. Use death in a good “medicine way.” Release whatever heaviness is dimming your spirit. Make the rest of your life brilliant.
When your heart breaks because someone you love dies, instead of shutting down, transform that breaking into a breaking open and feel fully. Instead of cocooning yourself with the thick soup of loss, sorrow, grief, and rage, connect to what you value about your beloved dead. What do you love about that person? What aspects of your relationship are treasures? Connecting to what you cherish balances your mournful feelings. Chew up those feelings, move them out, and turn them into fertilizer. Make room for what you love with this spirit. Death has changed the relationship. How you hold it is up to you.
We’re taught that if we’re not constantly grieving our dead, then we’re bad. If you were dying, would you really want your living loved ones to carry your death as a bloody wound? What if they hold the treasures of your relationship and are nourished by that?
When I die, I want my loved ones to gather the rich, gorgeous beauty of our relationship and use that for sustenance. What a tragedy if my death dims their life-force or soaks them in guilt because they lived.
This is my passionate prayer to them: “Live brilliantly and love boldly!”
About the Author: Ana T. Forrest, medicine woman and creatrix of Forrest Yoga, is the author of Fierce Medicine, a book with many tools for learning to use death as an ally. Don’t miss her upcoming 200 Hour Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training at Yoga Tree (February 27 – March 25, 2015) + Morning Intensives (Feb 27 – March 9).