The soul and the body – the rider and the horse.

The soul is the rider. The body is the horse.

A horse has a mind of its own, and will want to wander. It wants to veer towards the fun things, the pretty things. It gets distracted. It gets bogged down, lost. If left on its own, it will lead you astray.

The rider’s job is to learn how to get the horse to go where is best. The rider’s job is to make sure the horse has good food, enough exercise, and proper shelter.

If the rider takes good care of the horse and controls where it goes, the horse and the rider will both benefit.

If the rider lets the horse have control, lets the horse eat whatever it wants, and only takes the horse out when he wants to go somewhere, they will both suffer.

If the soul does not take care of the body, the body will be in charge. The soul will feel trapped. The soul will not be able to do what it needs to do. It will not be able to complete its mission.

Sometimes the horse is difficult. Sometimes it is headstrong and willful. Sometimes it has a genetic weakness. Sometimes it has a bad leg.

Sometimes the rider is inept. Sometimes the rider lets the horse take over, so they end up where the horse wants to go, but not where the rider wants to go. Sometimes the rider neglects to feed the horse healthy food and the horse isn’t able to go anywhere at all.

Blinders help. Training helps. Discipline helps. This requires constant, focused work. It is OK to ask for help – you don’t have to do it all on your own.

If you can’t control your cravings, then seek help in a therapist, minister, books, or friends. Find someone or something that helps you get back on track. Make sure you aren’t exchanging one crutch for another. Learn why you keep letting your body lead you astray, or what are you doing that isn’t nurturing it.

Where is your weakness? Dig down to the root. Where did you learn that flawed coping mechanism? Unlearn, to relearn. It is never too late to start over.

Asking for help is a sign of strength. It means that you want to get stronger. It is the only way out of that hole. You’ve tried to do it yourself and failed. This is part of the test. Pride will kill you.

Every lesson is repeated until learned. You will stay in this body until you can’t learn any more from it. Then you will leave it. You may come back to try again, or go further.

Death is realizing that this body can’t get you where you need to go. Sometimes you don’t have the tools. Sometimes the body isn’t strong enough, and you don’t know how to get it that way.

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Baby in reverse.

Taking care of a dying person is like taking care of a baby, but in reverse. They become less and less able to take care of themselves. They spend more and more time asleep. They start to make less sense.

It is important not to be afraid by these differences. This formerly active and vibrant person that you knew is changing right before your eyes. She will show less signs of being interested in anything other than what is happening right in front of her.

It isn’t anything personal. It is simply a normal part of the dying process. Consider that it is like hypothermia. When the body gets very cold it will conserve all of its energy. The body will automatically start taking energy and heat away from the extremities. Death is like that, but it is social and spiritual.

It is a time where they withdraw from their external activities and all of their attention and energy is refocused and re-centered. They will begin to show less and less interest in their friends and in their family. They may have unfinished business they feel that they need to do. And they may start trying to control things more. This is a normal behavior for people who have felt very nervous throughout their lives. People tend to die the way they live.

You may see a dying person “working”. They are working in any way they can. They may pick it their bedclothes. They may move things around. As long as they are not doing anything dangerous let them continue to do it.

Dying people may see people from the other side. I do not believe that these are hallucinations. I believe that they have one foot in this world and one foot in the other. Again, as long as they are not causing any harm to themselves let them continue. If it is not making them anxious, there isn’t a problem. Do not argue with them. You do not want to agitate them. You want them to have as easy a transition as possible.

When my mom was dying I saw my helping her during this time as my gift to her. She took care of me when I was a baby and when I was sick. I figured that it was my duty to take care of her when she was dying. Fortunately we had a good relationship, so that made it easier.