Near death experiences come to people in different forms. Some people see a white light and others have their lives flash before their eyes. For me, it was different.
In 2010, I was seventeen-years-old and invincible, until I learned the hard way that life doesn’t pick favorites. To make a long story short, in the blink of an eye I lost everything: The ability to talk, move, hear, and breathe. I was in the hospital for three months, half of which was spent on life support. Doctors felt uncertain about my prognosis, but I’m a stubborn one. When I finally met Death, I told him, “BRB,” and came back to our physical world. That was the easy part.
Then came the hard part, which was coming to understand what the experience meant for me at the time, and how it will continue to influence my future. After a ton of introspective reflecting, I realized that my life took a complete 360-degree turn. Everything I ever knew was different, and what used to be different was now my life. I really was reborn, not in the sense that I became a new person, but that I was given a chance to start again from square one.
It’s been almost five years since that experience and I’ve realized six positive outcomes of almost dying:
1. I think about my life in objective terms. What I talking about is patterns, patterns of behavior and their results. To uncover mine, I look at my life from an overreaching type of perspective, which allows me see the “bigger picture” that’s buried underneath a number of smaller events. As a comparison, imagine you’re taking photos in a large forest. To snap a photo of the tree in front of you, you’d zoom the lens in; to snap a photo of the group of trees you are standing among, you’d zoom the lens out. Similarly, “zooming out” on my view of life grants me the objectivity to identify my patterns, which I can then dissect and determine their meaning in the “bigger picture” that is my life. This is an incredibly helpful perspective to have at just twenty-two years of age.
2. I have a greater capacity for empathy. One thing almost dying has taught me is that all people are equal. It doesn’t matter what we look like, what we think, or what we do, we all have a heart and a pair of lungs—both of which Death is more than happy to take, despite what they may look like. Transcending physical differences enables me to connect with other people on an intuitive level, understand their feelings, and show them compassion. What I mean is, while I may not have endured a specific situation, I can imagine what it feels like; I can relate because I too have been through tough times. However, to avoid absorbing someone’s situation completely, I protect my energy by practicing shielding rituals and especially when I know I’m about to enter a situation that is negative.
3. I tapped into my once neglected spirituality. Before I met Death, I didn’t feel that there was a higher power. I figured there was no life outside of our planet—expect aliens, which are definitely real. Because I felt I had no one to turn to, whenever I felt feelings of despair, I turned them inwards, which negatively impacted my physical and mental health. After meeting Death, I have become in tune with myself and my environment because I started listening to and nurturing my intuition. Certain topics pulled me towards them, so I researched them—from sacred geometry and vibrations to the importance of nutrition and the laws of the Universe—all of it is meaningful to me. Today, I don’t feel alone because I’m in line with my Spirit. I can feel its energy and I can understand its language. Without nurturing my Mind-Body-Spirit connection, I would be forever lost and searching.
4. I know that I’m a strong person. Before meeting Death, I wasn’t confident in my ability to overcome situations and make decisions without the validation of an outside source, like a friend or family member. Now, I know how to trust myself; I know I can and will overcome any situation because I overcame death. Since meeting Death, life has thrown lots of little tests at me and knowing that I’ve passed them gives me an extra push to overcome my anxieties and fears. Whether it’s presenting a project in front of my classmates or figuring out my way home in a foreign country, I can do it all. And I know that I can because there was this one time when I proved Death wrong, and—for those who are unaware—Death is right 99.9% of the time.
5. I see that everything is connected. Being basically motionless in a hospital bed provided me with plenty of time to reflect on my past life, and just being honest, my past life was not productive for my future life. I visualized my life as line connected by three points, representing my past, present, and future. From my mind’s eye, I saw that my past created my present and that my present is actively creating my future. This understanding motivates me to live each day with the intention of building my future. In other words, the decisions I make today are based on the impact they will have on my future. If you want to be a doctor you go to medical school, right? It’s the same premise: I see my future self as successful and independent, so today my choices will be ones that build upon my future success and independence.
6. I am eternally grateful. I think #6 is self-explanatory, but for the sake of writing, I shall: Before I met Death, I figured the way my body acted was a given. I could run, jump, flip, twist, and I always will—I figured. Well, spoiler alert, but that is a false pretense. Death took my physical strength away from me and I had to work hard to build it back. Today, I am almost as strong as I was in my previous life and, because I worked for it, I appreciate it much more fully. However, my gratitude expands much further than the physical abilities of my body. My experience taught me that Death visits who he wants when he wants, without the consideration of what’s convenient for you. Life is delicate and can be taken in an instant, so I put effort towards demonstrating gratitude whenever I can. It really makes a difference between living a happy, fulfilling life and living one that is depressing and stressful.
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire
After almost dying, I feel that the time I’ve spent on Earth in this body has been split into two: The first half is my past life, accounting from my birth to age seventeen, and the second half is the life I live now, which began the moment I regained consciousness in the hospital. Some people call it a second chance, but I don’t. The Universe has a path for me and I deviated from it. With Death’s help, the Universe re-calibrated my positioning on my path, so I can finish what I’ve started here (although I am not sure what that is just yet…).
I don’t consider myself perfect or anything, as I am a work in progress, just like the rest of us. And while none of this comes easy—it can be painful to face long-buried truths—the struggle is worth the happiness. Everyday is an opportunity, an opportunity to be a better person than I was the day before. Of course I still have bad days and little hissy fits (which those close to me know all too well), but I am seeing progress and I am proud of the person I have evolved into. So Death, thanks for teaching me the lessons I refused to acknowledge in my past life. ✌️ out Death and I’ll see you later.
And thank you for reading.