Death is Our Greatest Teacher

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” – Haruki Murakami

It’s the Day of the Dead. 

It’s time to die before dying.

The first thing we do when we’re born is inhale.
The last thing we’ll do when we die is exhale.

Our death is a beloved for us to come to know – death is the key to our liberation. Literally every breath is an opportunity to remember. 

Inhale: I’m alive, this life is a miracle. 

Exhale: I will die, this breath is already gone.

Yet most of us spend nearly all the moments in between pretending both don’t exist.


There’s a practicality to this – we’re busy! – and yet in the process, we can lose sight of the very essence of our physical nature: temporary.


We have lost the rituals in our culture that remind us of our inevitable end – it’s nearly the only thing in our lives we can count on, yet we avoid thinking about it, acknowledging it, or orienting with it in mind. I’m not suggesting that we get morbid and gloomy in focusing on it, nor even that we necessarily surround ourselves with skulls (although some folks like that!) Social media and technology have only exacerbated this tendency – they distract us from the present, give us escape from whatever truth causes us suffering, and help us avoid our discomfort.


Let yourself die before dying by facing your fears. 

Let yourself face death by deciding in advance how you want to experience your death… and thereby choose how you want to experience your life.


In order to connect with urgency, AND blessings, we have to connect with DEATH. The truth that we don’t have infinite time. 

There is so much TV, marketing, distraction, social media…


All of it is ignoring that truth. 

And as soon as we come alive in the truth that yes, we’re going to die… Then we know what we’re here for. 

There are reminders of death all around us. It’s not hard to see, not hard to look at. 

I’m going to die. When I allow myself to know this simple truth, without running from it, the urgency to change, grow, serve and express is immediately available.


You don’t have to do something to create urgency.

You just have to be willing to look at the truth.


In a client conversation, you don’t have to do something to create urgency. You just have to help the person that you’re speaking to connect with the truth that they already intellectually know but choose to forget: 

That they do not have infinite time. And so if they keep doing the whatever they’re doing that’s not really making them all that happy, indefinitely, what happens?


They die, not having done the thing that they really want to do.

Not having expressed themselves.

Not having spoken the truth. 

Not having sung, let their voice be truly heard. 

Not having loved God, or full received love from God.

Not having been in community. 

Not having healed their childhood wounds or whatever the fuck it is that they feel called to do.

If they’re not doing it right now when they feel called to do it, when the fuck are they going to do it? 

When they die? Oh, that won’t work very well.


Part of your purpose in a sales conversation is to help people remember that they’re going to die. 

And be willing to ask them the hard question: “What, you’re going to do that until you die? Seriously?”


If you don’t make the decision to change today, you’re always going to be this way. Always. How do you feel about that?


We are all death doulas, walking each other home. We have all been called to master the art of dying, because it is in the art of dying that we learn the art of living. This is the essence of the spiritual path: you have to realize that nothing’s going to make you happy and that you’re going to die, and stop protecting yourself from that. Rip off the bandaid and live.

As death doulas, it is our work is to awaken people here, now, while they’re alive. To awaken to the truth of death – whether we call it that or not – in service to their conscious joyful appreciation of the miracle that is the very existence of their breath. 

And that every song, every sound, every movement, every breath that comes out of them is a dedication to that miracle. 

And, it’s not a big deal at the same time. 

It’s precious, it’s fucking amazing, and whatever.

If you’re remembering the truth, it sort of doesn’t matter what you make with your life. You will fuck it up and you can’t fuck it up at the same time – the point is to be alive while you’re making it, let it light you up.


Wishing you love and success,

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