Breath

DEATH IS ONLY A BREATH AWAY

From the moment we come into this world Death is the one constant companion we have who walks with us, along with our intuition, faith, trust and courage.

Yet we fear and fight death, why?

Is it because we think it is “the end” of us?

Is it because generally speaking our western culture hides the dying and death away from us?

Is it because our western medical system is geared to save life regardless of the pain and suffering another may be enduring which is often just lengthened by way of experiments, surgeries and the like? Granted there are some treatments and surgeries that do save lives but there are also many situations where a person is just treated like a medical experiment and kept alive only long enough to be of scientific value and research use. (I am speaking from first-hand experience with that particular issue having watched what occurred and was inflicted on my Dad for what seemed like two very long weeks, whilst he was dying.)

Is it because we have become so attached to the physical world we don’t want to leave?

Is it because we have become so dependent on another we don’t believe we can live without them?

Or is it simply due to fear of the unknown?

Whatever the reasons are that we fear death, battle it and do not just accept that it is an intrinsic part of being born, I don’t see any of it is as being really very healthy.

Many of us during the course of our life have folk come into our lives for however long they need to be in our lives and then they leave either by way of us and them just getting on with life, irreconcilable disagreement, mutual agreement or death. Sometimes we grieve the loss, however it may occur, other times we are glad to see the back of them. We even grieve the loss of well-known folk who we personally do not know. The standard norm however is considered to be that we are born, live to a ripe old age and when our bodies are worn out and we are old we “die”.   This however is not factual.

Death occurs at any stage of life, some folk die earlier than others and we have this in built conditioning which seems to me to think that unless we are of a ripe old age that anyone who dies under a certain age is “too young to die” or that it is a tragedy when folk die. We speak of poor lost souls who perish in natural “disasters” and accidents that occur. How do we know they are lost?

Some of us never get over the death of another who has been an integral part of our life or are totally lost ourselves when another leaves our physical reality by way of death. Often when well-known celebrities who have lived full and vibrant lives are dying many start praying for them, leaving messages on social media for them to keep fighting. Our media speaks of folk losing battles long or short against cancer and other dis-eases. Humans never have, nor will ever be in control of death or birth as much as we may try. When our time is up, it’s up. It really is that simple.

Many say it is morbid to think about death and it seems to me in our western culture we are not at all very well prepared to face our own death or that of loved ones when the time comes. Yet we are all dying, we are all born to die and realistically we have no clue when the moment of physical death will occur.  It is quite literally only a breath or a heartbeat away. When you live with the total conscious awareness that death could occur for you at any moment or those you love, you live an entirely different life to someone who perceives that when they or their loved ones get old only then will they die.

Many who are told by doctors they only have x amount of time to live actually begin to live for perhaps the first time in their lives. They think what the heck, I may as well do whatever it is they have held off doing, because now I know I am going to die, yet we all know all along we are going to die at some point in our lives. It’s not the best analogy but it’s kind of like Christmas, we all know it’s coming, yet we race around like lunatics just prior to it occurring to get ourselves organised for it.

I feel very blessed as I see death differently to most I know, simply because I am no stranger to it. My first encounter occurred when I was 12 and it was at that time I just knew people’s grief (including my own) was more about what folk had lost, not done, felt guilty about, regretted etc., than it was about what the person who had passed on had gained, particularly if they were suffering from physical illness, dis-ease and pain. As a child, one of my favourite places to play was the cemetery just up the road from where I lived. It was peace full there and I often kept company with the snakes who curled up on the cement, seeking warmth, which covered the tops of the graves.

Even to this day it is not uncommon for me to be drawn to cemeteries and to just wander around, reading the gravestones that stand as monuments to another’s life – long, short or somewhere in between. It is still one of the most peace full places for me to go to as often there are not many folk around and it is a place that always puts my life and all things into their true perspective for me whilst always reminding me just how short and precious life in a physical body truly is.

My next up close and personal encounter with death came whilst only feeding my body small amounts of food and large amounts of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes when I was about 15. It was only the mutual love between myself and another which saved me on that occasion and kept me here.

Death paid me another visit at 17 when whilst knocked totally unconscious as the result of what I later found out was a fatal car accident, I was experiencing what we call a dream. I was in what I now know to be a parallel reality where the sun was shining and I was having a picnic with the person who I later discovered had passed away. It was beautiful, joyous, loving and peaceful and I was resting with my back against a tree, until our dog ran into the bush and I started calling out to him. My calling out became so loud it brought me back into this physical reality and as I opened my eyes I saw the horror of that car accident and the injuries I had received during it. I was also sitting against a tree, the exact same bushland around me as I had seen in the “dreaming” experience and what had been glorious weather in the “dream” was in this reality torrential rain. Our dog was also nowhere to be seen.

As I processed that event much later I just knew deep within me that “if” I had of been killed as well, I wouldn’t have felt a thing. There would have been no pain whatsoever for my consciousness had clearly left my body just prior to impact – my last memory before the “dreaming experience” having been seeing windscreen wipers moving across the glass in front of me. The pain of my many injuries only came when I became conscious of this physical reality again.

At 28 Death came calling once more as my body was shutting down from life threatening illness and during the next 10 years much “died” within me as I began to consciously walk the path of the Shaman. Death was also very present in my awareness when I was pregnant with my son at 36 and whilst I was birthing him, then later when he was roughly two and experienced Whooping Cough.   Often throughout my life so-called dead folk would visit me in what we call “dreams” and “visions” and also by way of “weird” stuff that occurred in this physical reality. They still do.

I also became aware of many deaths that had occurred for me during what we call past lives.   I re-lived being guillotined, hung, burnt, stabbed, eaten by a crocodile, murdered many times and in every possible way death can occur, drowned, being tortured, thrown down a well and my neck was broken and on it went. In one experience instead of trying to run from death in fear I just stood in the experience fully and said to myself, this is it – I am going to die. With that total acceptance and absolutely no fear any longer in relation to death my consciousness was back in my physical body and I truly “got it” that the essence of me just never ever dies. I have to say that was, at the time, THE most empowering experience I’d had.

When my Grandfather passed on, for the first time in my life I saw a “dead” body. All that was left was a container, like an empty cocoon. Who I knew my Grandfather to be was no longer present. The body was stiff, solid and cold due to freezer type refrigeration. This body I looked at and touched was just not him at all. It did not even really look like him.

Many say it is morbid to think or talk  about death, many will not even discuss it preferring to state “if something happens to me” rather than stating “if I die or when I die” and it seems to me in our western culture we are not at all well prepared to face our own death or that of our loved ones when the time comes.

I visited the Land of the Dead recently and it was a very beautiful experience where I interacted with many friends and family who have passed on. As with all families and during our life many folk have left my life and I was astounded to find them all waiting for me when I did this journey.   It is also a journey that can be done by anyone, which I facilitate.

Death again visited me up close and personal yesterday, which is what has prompted this article and during that visit it became clear to me that there is only one aspect of my life story right here and right now as it stands that I don’t feel a sense of 100% peace about – a mission I set out to achieve for myself some 23 years ago.  I feel extremely grateful that there is only one aspect and not as many as there were back then. As I conversed with Death in this experience it also became clear to me that hopefully with a little help from the Spirits this one aspect can be put right before I do leave this body because I really don’t want to be carrying that one with me.

My experiences have shown me time and again that whatever we do not have full peace, acceptance and love about within us when we leave, we just take with us and yep it would appear to me that it is a case of well too bad, so sad you just have to come back again to deal with it. We also take the love we feel for others with us, it doesn’t just “die” when a body dies, just as it doesn’t die within us for those we have loved who have passed on.  It is often the case those who have passed on have messages and guidance for us which they try to give us but even though we miss them we find it creepy, weird, spooky and we fear actually communicating with them ourselves, often preferring instead to have a third person tell us what another is trying to communicate to us.   We didn’t fear them, usually, whilst they lived in a body so why do we fear them just because they no longer exist in a body?

For myself there is no separation between the physical and non-physical realities which exist. Where I will go when I leave this body my mother named Cheryl I have no clue for I do not believe there is a Heaven as such, nor a Hell, except for within ourselves. It has been my experience that with our free will we either create Heaven or Hell in this physical reality and as John Lennon once said “Imagine there’s no Heaven, it’s easy if you try. No Hell below us, above us only sky”.   I therefore have no expectations of what will occur when I leave this body and so I am totally open to the adventure of it all. What I do have though is abundant faith and trust plus good navigational skills in The Dreaming and I know that a part of me knows way better than my logic does, my logic being so very limited in this physical reality.  I also know that the part of me that does know will kick in and do whatever it needs to do when the time comes.

So that all said how  do we all better prepare ourselves for the inevitability of facing and accepting Death’s constant presence as it walks inside and beside us in the shadows, instead of fearing Death and not truly living?

In dreaming, every single night, whether we have memory of it the next morning or not, we leave our bodies and go travelling, connecting and interacting with the Souls of folk we know and yep even those we don’t know and by some miracle we awake each morning in the body we left resting in our bed or wherever we slept.  Given some of the dreaming experiences I have, to me that in itself is miraculous that I find my way back into my body each morning.   When we wake we are blessed with another day of life in a physical body.   It is a gift, not a given.  It is also a gift so very many of us take for granted and don’t even give thanks for.

We even do this when we nana nap, power nap, meditate etc., for we have absolutely no awareness of our physical bodies when in that fully altered state of consciousness. Many also have no awareness even of that altered state of consciousness. Yet it is so very healing and powerful and it is a space, if you like to think of it that way, which is full of insight, abundance, truth, guidance and wisdom. During the night our body has miraculously kept our heart beating and our lungs breathing. So at some part of us we know it is perfectly fine and safe to leave our bodies and that we will be okay. True we may not be conscious of that, but I sense that deep down we just know it. Often too if we are feeling threatened in any way, either in the dreaming realities or in this physical reality, we will slam back into the body ready to take action. The dreaming body/soul/astral body are intrinsically linked it would seem to the physical body and its reactions for how often do we wake from a scary dream heart pounding or an emotional dream with tears in our eyes?

It is said that there is no better preparation for death than being a conscious dreamer and well….. I have to agree. For most of us travellers who are conscious dreamers,  we are aware of the multiverse and parallel realities, we learn the territory away from the confines of the physical body quite well, the more we practice it like anything the better we get at it and we also learn how to navigate our way around in that territory. We “know” without a shadow of doubt that we exist beyond the physical body.

To become a conscious dreamer and be better prepared for our own deaths, we need to firstly pay attention to whatever snippets of memory, be it images or feelings we have upon waking in our bodies of a morning.   The more we welcome, honour and act on our dreaming experiences, the more we receive them, the more we receive them, the more conscious we become of them, the more conscious we become of them, the less fear we experience not only in our physical reality but also in the dreaming realities of the multiverse, parallel realities, spirit worlds etc.

The biggest fear I sense most have is the fear of death and yet the irony of that is when we no longer fear death, we actually truly begin to live. For some of us perhaps for the first time ever. My mum, bless her has always said to me “You live like there is no tomorrow” and for me no there is no tomorrow ever for I have had way too many encounters with Death to not know I and those I love could be physically gone in an instant, so for me there is only ever each moment of now.

There is a Native American expression I very much love – “It’s a good day to die” (meaning that there are no regrets, there is nothing left unsaid or undone and that there is peace within). We use the term RIP when another passes on but how much better would it be do you think if we all lived in peace instead of waiting until we die to rest in peace ? I know for myself I have done and do all I can every single day to make every day a good day to die – how about you?

Cheers, Cheryl.

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© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.

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THE HEALING POWER OF THE BREATH

When our bodies become stressed due to pressure we feel is placed upon us or when we become anxious about anything the body produces adrenalin from the adrenal glands located near the kidneys. This adrenalin makes our hearts pump harder and faster to push blood to our larger muscles because adrenalin is naturally produced by the body for situations where we are faced with either a fight or flight for our lives scenario.

Whilst this is occurring our breathing becomes shallow which does not allow enough oxygen into our bodies. Lack of breath to the body can result in panic attacks, fatigue, further anxiety, emotional distress, depression, muscle tension, headaches and may also exacerbate the symptoms of people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The normal function of the breath is to bring oxygen which is life force energy into our bodies so that not only do we receive oxygen to stay alive but also so that we can exhale any toxins contained within the body in the form of carbon dioxide. A person can survive for a time without water or food but they cannot survive without oxygen.

It is therefore vital to our health and well-being that we remember to breathe in times of anxiety or stress. Bringing oxygen into the body where pain exists also assists that pain to lessen. As a baby and small child this came natural to all of us as watch any baby or young child and you will see they do not breathe into their chests but into their abdomens.

With our busy lives many of us have forgotten how to breathe deeply into our abdomens and instead only breath into our chests, which results in irregular or rapid breathing and that in turn heightens our stress or our anxiety and emotional distress. As less oxygen is available to our blood there is also less time available for our toxic carbon dioxide to be exhaled which can lead to us feeling very tired, lethargic and also depressed.

THE BENEFITS OF CYCLIC DEEP BREATHING ARE:-

  1. It increases the circulation of the lymphatic system which in turn speeds up recover and assists with our internal garbage disposal system.
  2. It aids our immune systems by giving us more energy to allow our bodies to regenerate, detoxify and self-heal.
  3. It assists to balance both the left and right sides of our brains, whilst also calming our nervous systems which in turn decreases our anxiety and the stress-related disorders many of us suffer due to our busy lifestyles and interactions with other people which we may find upsetting or stressful.
  4. Deep breathing can be used in any situation and requires no supportive tools to achieve it. All that is required is remembering to use this technique whenever you are feeling stressed, anxious or fearful.
  5. The time required to complete cyclic deep breathing exercises is minimal.

LIMITATIONS:-

 Should you be someone who is suffering from asthma or any other breathing condition the method of cyclic breathing may exacerbate your condition and it is therefore not recommended that you use it.

WHAT IS CYCLIC BREATHING?

Cyclic breathing is a technique used to calm both body and mind whenever anxiety, stress or fear are present.

It is done in rounds whereby you follow the sequence outlined herein in this example of what is known as Hoóponopono Breathing :-

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, both feet on the floor and place your hands either palms down in your lap or on your abdomen.
  2. Breathe as you normally would and be aware of your inflowing and outflowing breath.
  3. Start to breathe in to the count of seven.
  4. Hold your breath to the count of seven.
  5. Breathe out to the count of seven.
  6. Hold your breath to the count of seven.

This constitutes one round and the round should be repeated seven times.

Variations of this which can occur where counting is concerned can be:-

Breathe in to the count of three.

  1. Hold for three.
  2. Breathe out for three.
  3. Hold for three.

or:

Breathe in to the count of three.

  1. Hold for three.
  2. Breathe out for five.
  3. Hold for five.

Your counting should be slow and you should regulate your breath accordingly to your counting. For these additional ways of achieving cyclic deep breathing repeat the rounds until you feel calm.

You will find with practice that breathing deeply into your abdomen over time becomes normal to you once again as it did when you were a small child or baby. You should feel the rise and fall of your abdomen as you do the rounds.

To assist you with achieving this on a regular basis I recommend you do it three times a day, or more often if and when required. The more you practice it and get yourself into a regular rhythm with it the sooner it will become your normal way of breathing. Most new behavioural patterns take a while to develop into an unconscious habit. I have read that it takes our brains up to 21 days to form a new habit which requires no thought for us to do. I would however recommend you make a concerted effort to do it for a month on a regular basis.

 

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© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.  Images sourced from the internet – creators unknown.

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‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in ‪#‎Dream‬ ‪#‎Analysis‬/‪#‎Conscious‬ ‪#‎Dreaming‬ & ‪#‎Shamanic‬ Journeying.
* ‪#‎Reiki‬/‪#‎Seichim‬ Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis ‪#‎Meditation‬.

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