13 January 2018 6 Comments

Owning Death, Acceptance & Self Love

At a gathering just before the turn of the new year, a friend of a friend presented a tarot deck, suggesting that several people draw one card each.

Usually I avoid divination techniques. Although lots of people find them useful, they clutter my guidance with imprecise thoughts and images that provoke mental processing. Still, I was drawn to take a card. I drew the “Death” card.

When I held the image on the card in my heart, I felt a freeing and uneasy kind of lightness or even an odd joy. The “Death” card felt like an acknowledgment of an internal process.

“Death” need not be literal and physical. We usually associate death with the painful and often angsty process of having to let go not only of your body but of everything you own, all you love, everyone you know, and your self, whether or not you are ready.

Most of our associations with death are as an unwilling participant, or of bereavement, and perhaps being left behind with overwhelming practical tasks and considerations. Conversely, reports from those who have clinically died and returned are usually pleasant, if somewhat unsettling. I’ve heard more than one might think first hand.

A few decades ago I thought about killing myself. My self esteem was so bad. If we feel like killing ourselves it’s good to remember that this type of assessment is often driven by negative self worth. We would not apply the same standards to another person.

Always remember: The body is innocent. The mammal that hosts you is totally innocent.

Unless we’re way past our pull-by date, it’s not the BODY that needs to die: It’s our mean self talk, ego attachments, fears that drive a perceived need for control, habitual and limiting aspects of our personalities, opinions and judgments about ourselves and others, and so forth. These can die and we feel happier.

When we feel like we want to die it’s usually because we are not taking good enough care of our bodies. The mammal needs love and nourishment.

Some spiritual traditions talk about dying into love. I always thought of this as a huge and ultimate thing, the final transformation. Now I’m taking a different view. Dying into love can also be simply the process of learning to release the stuff I mentioned above.

Letting go into love, as a figurative death, doesn’t have to be a highfalutin thing, some giddy state of denial, or even an ecstasy. Our moment-to-moment engagement with the process can be as simple as noticing and letting go of assuming that we are not worthy and allowing ourselves to BE, without self criticism.

We don’t have to release it all at once—most of us don’t die suddenly—but just as we are able to without strain, more and more. Small steps in the direction of self love create amazing transformation over time. Holding this type of death as a positive goal and practicing relaxing into it is actually comforting. It doesn’t get unnerving until we get ambitious about it and push to do it all at once, before we’re ready.

Absolute acceptance is a kind of a death, not the death of the mammal, but the unbinding of many ego and personality structures. Rigidity in these structures largely develops as defense against pain and distress, internal wounding, and real or experiential annihilation.

Paradoxically, we ourselves annihilate our own Presence to some extent whenever we are acting out these automatic defenses. In other words, when we are reactive we are not fully present. Some kind of pain is likely to be driving us.

Also paradoxically, being fully Present is being fully alive, and also a death, in that the transformation presence gradually and eventually births is so utterly monumental.

How do YOU consider death?

What would it take to make death accept it as a force within life to help you live more fully in the moment?

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6 Responses to “Owning Death, Acceptance & Self Love”

  1. Therese Sandhage 13 January 2018 at 5:13 pm #

    Death means going “Home” to me. Both in the literal and transformative sense of the word; I hadn’t realized that connection until just now. 😍 I know I will continue living after leaving my physical body. When someone around me dies, there’s a little bit of jealousy because I know they are Home and I’m still here. I’m glad I’m here and I miss Home at the same time.

    I’ve been through a few transformations. They always surprise me. Some seem intense while others happen instantaneously. Like you, I believe Love is the release of all the non-love stuff we carry with us. I go through growth spurts and I’m enjoying this process.

    With Love,
    Therese

    • Teresa Dietze 13 January 2018 at 6:06 pm #

      Thanks for your interesting and deep response.

      Sending Love,

      T

  2. George Baker 13 January 2018 at 10:58 pm #

    Teresa – thank-you for this meditation on the genuine nature of death and dying.

    I am reminded of why I value my friendship with you. You are able to clearly, concisely and simply express “the-heart-of-the-matter”.

    We die to the rigidity of negative ego structures so that we might experience the freedom, fluidity and fluency of the Spirit. We are born again at a higher level of personal Being-Nest.

    Have a great trip! See you on the rebound!

    • Teresa Dietze 15 January 2018 at 11:36 am #

      Dear George,

      Your acknowledgement and encouragement have certainly assisted my unfoldment.

      Thank you for doing your own Works you can function as a mirror.

      Love,

      T

  3. Jennifer Hammill 14 January 2018 at 8:52 am #

    Just wanted to say that your writing is beautiful and is proof right there of your Presence.


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