“…the sooner we can embrace death, the more time we have to live completely, and to live in reality…”

So wrote Joan Halifax, American Zen Buddhist teacher and anthropologist, in her guide book, Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death (2008).

Those who have been following my Heartwhisperings blog, since signing up for hospice in November 2019, may have noted my leaning toward denial, so ill-prepared was I to engage in the unique gifts of life. Idealization and emotional dishonesty also distorted my perceptions and lodged within the hidden depths of my psyche.

Despite years of dream work in Jungian analysis and Twelve-Step Recovery in AA and CPA, scarring remains and relapses into unreality occur, fueled by obsessive thoughts. Many a night, I’ll climb out of bed, on fire with a more exact word to replace another in my blog, or to revise an ending.

And as excellent as Halifax’s book is, it has sat, unread, on my bookshelf: the material explored, too hot for consumption.

But this must change. Since making this decision, I find myself grounded within reality and experiencing a richer palette of life upon which to create my authentic self—before making my transition. No longer is there a need to hide or pretend.

Joan Halifax has become a teacher of life through the lens of death that affords me more wiggle-room for growth. With my “Beginner’s mind,” I make a start.