Yes. I am certain of it. I have seen the evidence of life after death time and time again in my life, the lives of some friends, and among people I meet.

I talk about metaphorical deaths with some close friends who love such discussions all the time––the awkward space of life where one dies to an idea they held about the way a certain situation should turn out or the idea of who they thought they would or should be. In that tumult, we can experience the beginnings of a new life in what is. In my experience, there is a rebirth of sorts in finally facing the messy reality of the truth.

We wear so many masks in life. In a way, this is a type of death. We leave our authentic self behind each time we keep our mask on, burying our true self behind the trappings we can’t live without. Putting our trust in our professions, looks, relationships and material wealth instead of opening up to our true nature, spirituality, motivations, and intentions.

This creates a type of walking dead, where people are alive but not thriving because they are disconnected to themselves, others and their experience of life. Examples of this disconnection include hiding behind the mask of technology to communicate, hiding behind the mask of screens to experience the world instead of going out and living, hiding behind the mask of work to avoid facing other pressing issues we might need to address, and hiding behind the mask of constant busyness.  

“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” –– André Berthiaume, novelist, and teacher of French and Quebec literature

Many times I have seen people who come to me for advice at loose ends because their world––or maybe I should say their masks and illusions––have been shattered by some event or person in their life.

This is death. And death is hard because it causes grief, a unique experience that manifests itself as different and varied as the individual experiencing this pain. Grief often involves different emotions, many of which can be experienced at the same time.

It is common in this type of life-after-death experience to feel anger, sadness, remorse, envy, frustration as well as a whole wealth of other emotions intent on hijacking your life from its purpose.

Death is painful but life is beautiful.

You are better able to live your true purpose free from the bondage of the illusions you’ve been creating.

If you find yourself in the crosshairs of death today, know that the only way to go through your rebirth is to wade through its mud puddle. There is no going around the mud puddle. There is no way to cheat death.

In Africa, people who live in the bush warn that during the rainy season, when drivers come upon a gigantic mud puddle on the road, it is best to drive through the puddle. This is because the mud is compacted in the middle of the puddle and you have a chance at crossing over to the other side. If you divert your path and try to drive around the puddle, your jeep will certainly get stuck in the bog and the mud on the periphery of the puddle where water saturates the mud in such a way that it creates a sticky, mucky mess perfect for trapping a tire.

We don’t like to be in the mud of our life. We desperately want to drive to the other side of our pain. We don’t like these periods of dying to ideas of who and what we thought we were or what our life should have been like. So we try going around our mud puddles in a variety of unhealthy ways––drugs, alcohol, flings, food, starvation, the list goes on. But none of these ways leads to rebirth.

It is much better to drive through the mud puddle, feel the pain and then rise. Rise into a new life. Sure, it’s a life that will be strange at first. It’s a place of little comfort. However, day by day you will begin to see that this new path, this strange path, this place you never expected to be and hardly recognize is home to you. You will discover that this new life had been the right path all along and that the death you experienced was just a form of helping you find your true passion and calling.

There is beauty in the breakdown of all we thought we were and all we dreamed we would be. There is new life in the reality of who we are and a gorgeous peace in knowing that we have the power to shape our responses to the situations and people who have created the circumstances we have to deal with in ways we never expected.

“Life and death are illusions. We are in a constant state of transformation.” –– Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mexican film director

So revel in the fact that you are truly alive after you’ve died to a dream you had. Enjoy overcoming the situations you never thought you could, because there in the messiness of life and your responses to it, you will find your true life, true love, and true happiness.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” –– Norman Cousins, American political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate (1915-1990)

When you die to your ideas of what should be, you awaken to a new life in what is.

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