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The Benefits of Learning How to Die

the benefits of learning how to die

Halloween's coming up, as well as Dias de los Muertos, so the afterlife has been on my mind lately.

And while the word 'death' may feel scary and knot up your stomach, what I'd like to talk about today is actually how to use this natural progression as a way to live a life of fullness and hope.


In general, I'm tired of talking about COVID, but if I'm being honest, the world seems to be now defined as 'before COVID' and 'after COVID' so I'm going to talk about it today because out of all that darkness can be lessons and I don't know about you, but I learned some valuable ones. But of all the things I learned, the biggest one is about fear and how it holds us back.

During the depths of COVID, Cory and I went to a concert. We were allowed to go to the concert, it was outside, and we could sit at a pre-assigned picnic table but we could not stand at our pre-assigned table, which we learned when we started dancing and it became this uncomfortable conversation with a woman who worked at the venue over why we couldn't dance next to our table if we were allowed to sit at our table.

At that moment the band (The Watters) began playing a song they wrote called Learning How to Die, and the lyrics say: "Go and put your fear aside, Go on step into the light, Make yourself more alive, By learning how to die". This song spoke to us and I think about this a lot and how many experiences throughout life, and COVID in particular, really shaped and changed me.

Around this time I realized that I'd rather live a shorter life that's full of freedom and community and closeness and love than a long life that's defined by isolation and restriction and separateness. Or, in other words, accept that death is natural; it will happen to every single one of us.


As a matter of fact, we're dying right now. Time is running out. And while it's easy to see that as a negative, it's actually such an empowering realization. Because once you accept that it's true this is in fact happening, you then get to decide how exactly you want to spend the time that you have.

That's one of the biggest reasons I left my job in corporate to pursue something else. And to be honest, I don't even fully know what that is most days and it'll probably change as time passes. But I knew in my heart that what I was spending my time on was not what I was called to do here. And I didn't want to spend any more of my limited time doing things I know I wasn't meant to do.

How are you spending your time? Are you doing what you want? Do you KNOW what you want? If not, that's okay... like I said, most days I'm not completely sure either. But I think continually asking that question is important. Because sometimes it can at least help you realize that you might be doing something you know you DON'T want. And getting rid of things you no longer want or things that no longer serve you helps open up the time and space to reflect so you can figure out what you DO want.


That's where the name of this podcast came from... The reason this podcast is called Goodbye July is two-fold... one reason is specific to me, but one is specific to you. For me, Goodbye July honors the fact that I left my corporate career on the final day of July... I said goodbye to a chapter of my life on that last day of July that I knew was no longer serving me SO THAT I could move on to the next chapter that would. And that's where you come in.

Yes, Goodbye July is meant to help you make more money and use that money to achieve your goals and live a full and happy life, but as I mentioned, many times we're not sure exactly what that looks like. Many times, it's easier to see what we DON'T love about our lives.

So Goodbye July is about encouraging you to take an honest look at your current situation and addressing the things that no longer serve you, the things you can walk away from so that you can make space for reflection and focus and exercises that will help you figure out what exactly you DO want.


It's true that often what we do want becomes more easily achievable by having our finances in order. But it really doesn't matter if your finances are in order or not if you don't leave behind things that aren't filling your cup and actively seek out things that will.

Your imagination is a powerful tool, but unfortunately, as we grow, many of us lose touch with it.

So ask yourself: what did you want to be when you grew up? Why? Are you doing it? Why not? What can you change about your current situation in order to get closer to what you wanted to do then, or what you want to do now?


One of my favorite exercises to do when I'm seeking clarity is from an author named Marc Allen who wrote two books I love: Visionary Life, and Visionary Business. It's called the Ideal Scene exercise, and there are 3 parts.

Take 5 minutes and answer the following question in a journal: Where do you see yourself in 3 years? Write down everything: what do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste. Where are you? Who's with you? How do you spend your mornings, your afternoons, your evenings? What are you wearing, what do you do for fun, for money? Everything you can think of. Then do it again but change the timeline to 5 years. And then 10 years.

I do this every few months to realign with where I'm at because this will always be a moving target. Who we are today is different from who we were even just yesterday so it's natural that our wants, needs, and goals will shift.

But this at least gives us a solid, real-world action we can take to more intentionally check in with ourselves to make sure we're paying attention to what we want, and what we don't, and that we're spending our limited time doing things that move us toward the former and away from the latter.




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