Time to Die

I’m not suicidal or homicidal, so no one panics! Yes, it’s time to die, but not in the way you think. Rather, the message is in the following:

The “old” you has to die so that the “new” you can be born. The first act of creation is always destruction. ~ Katherine Woodward Thomas

Light above cloudsThe above thought shared by Thomas really got my attention at the start of the week. Then, as if the universe wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the message, moments later, the following anchor quote to a blog I follow showed up in my email inbox:

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. ~ Lao Tzu

I recognize synchronicity like this, when seemingly coincidental events align perfectly with my thoughts. As Einstein said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” It became unequivocally clear that this is the topic my blog needs to address this week.

Now, you may find Thomas’ statement rather jarring. At face value, it felt that way to me, especially since I’m a huge advocate of always honoring ourselves just as we are and just where we are in our lives. After all, that’s the cornerstone of self-acceptance and self-love. Why the duality of the “old” vs. the “new” us? And why such extreme action words as “die” and “destruction”? Lao Tzu’s version of essentially the same message is considerably gentler.

Semantics aside, the central message from both Thomas and Lao Tzu is to let go of our old programming, disempowering patterns of thoughts and behavior, and stubborn ego-based hang-ups that shape how we show up in life and how we create our reality. It’s important we drop our defensive armor to allow our real, authentic self—our soul—to come through and be expressed. The “old” us is the façade, the defensive self we’ve created over the course of our lives to show the world, while the “new” us isn’t necessarily new, per se, just our authentic self we’ve hidden away for safe keeping. Moreover, whether or not you like the characterization of “destruction” coined by Thomas, in order for us to create from the highest intention of our soul, it is necessary to surrender our defensive armor. This process can be rather painful and arduous, but ultimately liberating and transformational. It’s as they say, it gets worse before it gets better.

My “Death”

shell and starfish

I started this year full of hope, excitement and anticipation for what was to come. When I did my visioning for 2012 on New Year’s Eve, I was told that things would happen fast, that I needed to be ready and to not resist. Immediately, my mind latched onto what “things would happen fast” meant vis-à-vis my hopes and dreams. I promptly rolled up my sleeves, and was ready to create and manifest in a big way. Now, in the fourth quarter of the year, I can honestly say that a great deal has indeed happened, and I have been on quite the fast, wild ride. However, none of it was in the least bit what I expected; the “things” that happened fast couldn’t be more different from the image conjured in my mind. I was led through deep processing and healing, revisiting some truly painful experiences I had inadvertently buried and crossing some rather difficult terrains. Going through all of that was necessary for me to dismantle my protective façade and to stand naked of defenses to fulfill my soul’s mission.

Oh, yes, part of me really resisted it all, as forewarned not to do. I spent a lot of energy being sorely disappointed that the vision I thought was shown to me didn’t materialize. One day, I even felt a deep and intensive soreness between my shoulder blades, as if I was literally stabbed in the back. The pain progressively grew deeper and more intense, and even my chest started hurting. As the pain and pressure between my shoulder blades got worse, I felt nauseous, and thought I’d pass out. That scary episode was a physical manifestation of my feeling the ultimate betrayal, that I didn’t feel supported on my path. That was how much I was hanging onto the picture I had created in my mind on how things needed to unfold—and how utterly betrayed I felt because it didn’t happen. When I stopped resisting what I was led to experience and let go, the pain and pressure went away.

That was part of the “death of my old self” that Thomas wrote about, which I needed to experience this year. I needed to be with the painful experiences that I had shoved down in the past to avoid feeling the pain before they could be released, before true forgiveness and letting go could be allowed. I needed to shine the light on old thought and behavioral patterns that had subconsciously developed to help me cope with a world that repeatedly hurt and disappointed me. These defensive strategies are no longer necessary, as the real, authentic me comes through to lead the way.

giftOur Pain is Our Gift

Before I completely bum you out with all this talk of pain and death, let me also be a messenger for the purpose of the pain. Tony Robbins said that our greatest pain is our greatest gift. It’s through experiencing our pain that we awaken to our soul’s purpose, that we come to know our authentic self and love the life we create consciously, by allowing what’s for our highest good to unfold without our control. To help illustrate this point, I’d like to enlist the wisdom of the late Elisabeth Kübler-Ross:

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

If we allow it to happen, pain softens and transforms us. It cracks open our human consciousness to the infinite beauty and love within us. In letting our old beliefs, programming and patterns “die,” we unleash the beauty and love in our heart to be expressed through and as us.

I invite you to join me in not fearing the “death of your old self,” such that the real, authentic you can lovingly come alive. The world welcomes your beauty. The people you’re meant to serve in this life eagerly embrace the fulfillment of your soul’s mission.

Before you go, please share your thoughts/feelings about letting your “old self” die and embracing your “new self” below in the comment box.

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Photos: www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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About Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Dr. Alice Chan is passionate about developing conscious leaders and organizations. Her path to serve her life purpose has included being an award-winning Cornell professor and a leader in the corporate world for nearly 15 years. She’s the author of the book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, and creator of the program, 30 Days to Living Your Best Life. All content on this blog and website is her own, not the opinions of her employer.

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16 comments
letmemoveyou
letmemoveyou

Dear Alice, again you move me. You speak to my heart. I am learning to let go every day. Learning to surrender to being and discarding all the old stuff. Sometimes I fall back into old patterns without realising. Just this week I discovered that the old me had been holding me prisoner. And as soon as I did, I stepped back into the sunshine to embrace the light. I do keep pressing forward and I forgive myself when I falter. I am so glad to be shairng my journey with you, my beautiful friend. xo

Deone Higgs (@Deone_Higgs)
Deone Higgs (@Deone_Higgs)

I agree with Carl on this post, Alice... it was indeed "beautifully spoken and so inspiring." In fact, this line in your post, "If we allow it to happen, pain softens and transforms us..." is what I attest to beginning my own journey of transformation. Two years ago, shortly after my mother's passing away, I found myself in a very dark place in my life. I was angry at my family response to me during that time, feeling as though God had forsaken me, and a ton of other emotions that were taking their affect over my life. Long story short, I realized I had to face the pain I was feeling in order to be able to move past it. I had to die to truly start living. This was a beautiful post, my friend. Incredibly moving. Thank you for presenting it in such a healing way... it truly has been my pleasure connecting with you. Blessings.

Scott Mabry
Scott Mabry

Letting go of our old selves literally feels like dying. That's why so many people turn from the path. It is also a daily process. I've felt that pain between my shoulder blades. It totally incapacitated me for a few minutes throughout the day. It's definitely not an easy journey but well worth it. Thank you for encouraging us not to settle but to keep pressing forward because the realization of who we were meant to be is life's ultimate purpose.When we express our true selves we also bring the greatest benefit to others.

Ricky Ferdon
Ricky Ferdon

Thank-you, Dr. Chan! I come to you through a tweet by Joy Holland. Your words are found to be very true in this one's life, as well. After retiring the end of September 2009, 'I' went through quite a difficult transition: a dying experience. However, on the other end 'I' came out truly assured, confirmed & affirmed of my true path which 'I' had been working in for some 30 years, but now could devote more time and it has been intensified ever since. And indeed, as you state, the people 'I' am meant to serve actually DO embrace the fulfillment of 'my' soul's mission. It is truly, truly incredible, and filling for this one as well. So, so fantastically awesome to walk in service at all times. Namaste! ~ Ricky

Joy
Joy

I love that you not only recognized synchronicity, but honored it by sharing this message! I do find the semantics of Thomas quote jarring..so many people are "afraid" of death, and destruction is not something I court...yet I understand the meaning of both quotes and the importance of allowing my "self" to evolve often into fields I "do not know" yet feel completely right. When I resist or struggle (refuse to let go) it creates tension that results in physical illness (much like you experienced) and/or chaos among the details of external. When I honor unfolding, it is like floating in a river running through paradise--external supports and carries in all ways. Thank you for sharing so openly regarding a subject that might be sensitive :) The timing is *divine* as this reminds me as I have a few important decisions to make.

Carl
Carl

No comment. Beautifully spoken and so inspiring. Thanks, lovely lady!! Carl

Donna Potter
Donna Potter

Food for the soul! You are awesome Dr. Alice!

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words, Dear Shelley. What you described is what I and the rest of the world experience in terms of letting go and surrendering being a back-and-forth process. We have our conscious moments and we also have those when we forget who we really are and let ego take us back to safer territory, even if that isn't a happy place to be. The important part is exactly as you said--we step right back out and let our light shine again. Grateful to be waling with you, too, my beautiful friend! Love and Blessings to you.

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thank you for your very kind words and for sharing so genuinely, Deone! I'm only just getting to know you, but your heart comes through so authentically in your sharing that it's a gift to whomever is blessed to come across your words. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your mother and the pain you've experienced. But, if that's the catalyst to your awakening, then kudos to you for embracing the pain such that you can shine your light the way you are shining right now! One of the biggest lessons for me that is truly sinking in for me this year is how important it is to embrace pain and difficult emotions. As one of my friends said, God is in those dark moments, too. Grateful that you've shown up on my path, Deone. Many blessings in return, my friend.

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thanks for adding your insights, Scott. You're absolutely right, letting go isn't a one-time thing. It comes in layers. The less we resist letting go of what doesn't serve our highest good, the less pain we bring onto ourselves. What I've found over and over again is that, even when I'm struggling, the extent to which I've surrendered to honor my soul's calling inspires others. In that regard, I'm still serving. It truly isn't about the results or the destination. It's the process and the journey. Remembering this keeps me going and continues to strengthen my faith.

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Namaste, Ricky! I'm honored that you took the time to read my post and share a bit of your story. I *love* that you're enjoying so much of fulfilling your calling and being of service in a way that clearly lifts you up--it comes through your words. That's truly inspirational and a great testament to what's on the other side of a difficult transition for the true self to emerge. You inspire me and I'm sure whomever will be reading your words! I'll most certainly check out your blog. Thank you for sharing your light, Ricky! Best, Alice

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Joy, thank you so much for adding your insights! Yes, my NYE visioning did tell me that if I resist, I would get sick. Despite the warning, I still went there... It really takes much more effort to resist than to let go, but a lifetime of practice makes it a reflexive habit to unlearn. I love the work you do with allowing peace to flow, and I'm grateful to have "met" you, Joy. Thank you again for stopping by and adding your great insights!

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thanks for reading, Carl. Honored that you found the piece inspiring!

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