Here's introducing today's guest post from Apryl Schlueter!
How to have a Cheerful Mind amidst the unknowns of death
My name is Apryl. I run a business called “The Cheerful Mind.” I’m notoriously known for being one of the most energetic, cheerful people that this world knows.
So, who am I to write a blog post about death? There doesn’t seem to be a connection to being cheerful and dying. The bigger challenge for me is that I’ve never experienced a “big” loss in my lifetime as of yet. And I’m 37 years old. Sure, I know people who have passed on, such as my grandparents, and family members of people who I love, but I’ve never personally been emotionally devastated by death the way I’ve seen or felt other people experience it. And I feel absolutely inadequate and disconnected because I haven’t had that experience. Then again, who wants that experience?
Death does not feel like an “area of expertise” for me. I fear it. I avoid talking about it. I have absolutely no idea how I will react when that time comes for me to truly feel loss. But I guess no one craves that expertise, do they?
What if I turn into a zombie and have no reaction? What if the loss I feel is so strong that it kills me too? What if it rocks my world and I am never the same again? I acknowledge that these are natural fears. But the idea of that coming to fruition still plagues me. So much that I don’t want to have anything to do with it.
There was some sort of challenge that called me to be a guest poster on this blog, and I was subconsciously resistant in writing it by letting all the busy-ness of life get in the way instead. But I felt something about the exercise seemed could open up a whole new world for me, so I wanted to take on the challenge despite the discomfort.
So, if I just went to that uncomfortable place that I don’t want to go….and consider the loss of someone who might cause me a devastating experience, the first things that come to mind are my immediate family and dog. If (or when) that happens - I would probably immediately go down the road of blaming myself for all the things I did or didn’t do while they were alive, and how I missed out on all the opportunities that could have strengthened that relationship if I hadn’t been so stuck doing “all the things” that are not truly important to me but I felt I should be doing. I’d feel regret and shame for being ignorant to the things that I most treasured in my life.
On the flip side, if I were to die, I wouldn’t want my loved ones to blame themselves for not trying harder to spend quality time with me, but at the same time, I’d wonder, “would anyone care?” I’d think, “did I make the impact I wanted to make on the world when I was alive?”
And now that I’ve outed my most quieted fears, what do I do with this information? I can ponder all of these fears and let them take over my life to the point where I’m not present, or I can take action despite those fears and do the best I can while I and my loved ones are still alive. So I pledge:
- To acknowledge my fears, and find comfort in knowing that it’s completely normal.
- To ask myself how I can be more present in the lives of the people I love right NOW, and take action on those things.
- To continuously serve and share my message, encouraging people to truly have more fun in their lives instead of just doing all “the things”.
- To continue to show compassion and love to myself and others, and just be me.
- To reflect on my pledge on a continuous basis to make sure I am still keeping in alignment with my most important priorities and values.
- To NEVER. GIVE. UP.
Apryl Schlueter is the Chief Energy! Officer of The Cheerful Mind, Inc., a happiness and productivity expert who helps people have more fun while getting stuff done! She is a Certified Professional Coach, speaker, and author of "Finding Success in Balance: My Journey to The Cheerful Mind." Like this article? Find more at www.thecheerfulmind.com.