Balance Includes Death

Sunday Morning Musings:  It is nothing new to say that change is difficult. It is also well known that one of the only constants in life is that of change.  I will use the word “evolution” to talk about some changes in life which is always evolving for us.  We may not like the changes that are occurring; we may deny them or resist them; but change is and will happen.

The changes that we experience occur at every level of our being.  What is more, is that most of the changes that happen to us may even wanted or more importantly needed/  We want to develop physically, mentally, cognitive and spiritually, but sometimes this development is thwarted, just as they are often inter-related. Nonetheless, development occurs and needs to be nurtured.

Sadly, sometimes the nurturing does not happen as it should.  The lack of a certain vitamin or other necessary nutrient can cause physical illness.  Some illnesses are even inherited for a parent or grandparent.  Some illnesses are caused by stress or other mental condition.  Though we have often separated the body, mind and spirit into individual “silos”, they are all interconnected.  That which affects the body will affect the mind and the spirit.

The key of course is balance. If one element of our life is out of whack, it can and does have far-reaching effects.  When I say far-reaching, I mean that a physical issue often results in mental and/or spiritual stress.  Sometimes, the mental or spiritual matters that get raised can even feel worse than the original physical pain.

As many of you know, I have spent at least the second half of my life, studying living and dying.  Often the response I get concerns as to why anyone would want to learn more about dying. (Trust me, I am not alone in my endeavours, nor am I the first or even leader).  King’s College at Western University in London, Ontario offers direct education.  Around the world, there are teachers who know the difficulty many have in dealing with death. (Through a friend in Australia I participated in a pilot project to deliver palliative care education by internet.)  When death is not accepted as part of life, an imbalance occurs and when confronted by life’s reality, we struggle.

Now, into this mix some cultures (Canada is one) we have begun the discussion around Medical Assisted Death. And as expected, there are numerous voices and opinions being expressed. Often the loudest voices are the ones that get the most “press”, often around slippery slopes.  As a result many experiencing the struggle directly will withdraw from the public eye to avoid “upsetting” others, in some cases even family and friends.  Once again the balance needed in all our lives is lost and undue concern even conflicts arise.

Life is about balance.  We need to try to keep in balance all aspects of life.  In general that means finding the right balance involving body, mind and spirit. This idea of balance will not be found if we as a society continue to deny or even shy away from the realities.  Life has taught us that change is inevitable.  Life has also taught us that we must change or be lost.  Change involves some long held beliefs and even so-called taboos.

Change also means that we are willing to let go of that which continues to result in the imbalance.  It also means that we don’t have to experience any of life alone.  There are people willing to make the journey with us through this thing we call life.  It also means that we must do all we can to make these connections happen.

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