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Natural Awakenings of Greater Ann Arbor & Detroit / Wayne County Michigan

A Light in the Darkness

In order to die well, we must live well. This month’s feature story explores the mystery of death and how to navigate life’s final transition with grace and love. With the onset of cold weather, now is the perfect time to warm up with your cup of Joe or favorite herbal tea, kick back and consider what it takes to live a truly meaningful, worthwhile life.

        Most of us would like to die at home in our own beds, yet only one in five attain that gentle final exit. Anxiety about death often means we defer conversations and practical planning, which makes stressful “medicalization” of the dying process more likely.

            Although death has its own schedule, we can lower the chances of expiring in the ICU by attaining clarity as to our values and desires, having discussions about our end-of-life choices, and opening to our spiritual process. “Dying Well: Four Steps to a Good Death,” offers a fresh perspective on how to live life more fully today.

            Meditating on my own death and envisioning transition from this life to the next stage of my journey was a real eye-opener, and has impacted my perspective on how to live my life now so that when all is said and done, I will have done my best. This experience also inspired me to create a playlist of songs I’d love for my family to play for me on my last day here.

            To help shift the old paradigm of inevitable aging and cognitive decline into a new one based on the brain’s neuroplasticity, functional medicine experts are using strategies to preserve cognitive skills while reducing inflammation. For advice on many of the good practices and benefits, read “Healthy Brain Strategies: How to Prevent Cognitive Decline,” and learn how to reduce exposure to stress and toxins, as well as the importance of restorative sleep.

            All dancing is good for our physical and mental health—spirit-infused dance forms, ecstatic and yoga-inspired kundalini dance fortify the body’s intrinsic life force. The mostly barefoot classes draw from a deep cultural well and often include the infectious heartbeat of live music. “Sacred Dance: Moving into Divine Energy” offers several groovy energy-movement dances.

            Hugs have proven power to soothe and nurture us, and it’s not necessary to have another human to enjoy their benefits. In a time of chaotic uncertainty, isolation and change, hugs can be medicine and a reminder to remain open, willing and beautifully human. Embrace more in this month’s Inspiration department.

            We hope you enjoy life’s special moments and the gentle warmth of autumn’s sunlight on your face. As always, please support the advertisers in this magazine and let them know you saw their service or product in the pages of Natural Awakenings, because they make this free publication possible.

 

Here is to a healthy and happy Thanksgiving, and big hugs to all!