Why Me?

For many months now, I've struggled with the question of "Why me?" Why was I spared when according to all of my doctors, I should have have died at several different points during my ordeal and recovery? Why was I given such a startling glimpse of what lies ahead during my near-death experience? And most importantly in my mind, why was I given such profound understandings and been asked to pass them on to anyone who wanted to listen?

Initially, since I couldn't get out of my own mind and heart, I though it was all about me. Pretty narcissistic, huh? But in reality, my own mind and heart is all that I knew. In my mind, through my NDE, I was given the opportunity to improve my own life and turn it into one that was soul-satisfying. That was pretty much all the explanation I needed at first.

This morning, though, a case of nervousness gripped me as I thought about tomorrow. Thursday, Dec 11, I am to give my first presentation on my near-death experience to an audience. Public speaking usually doesn't bother me too much so this nervousness took me by surprise. Since the weather today was beautifully warm and sunny, I decided to head out for a walk in hopes of calming my nerves.

It turns out that the walk was exactly the thing I needed.

I retraced the route I took during my many walks while recovering from my injuries. The route took me past a store called "TRI" (The Restoration Initiative) here in Lafayette, CO. A local family began the store as a way of raising funds for social initiatives in India. 100% of the profits from the store go to fund women's and children's improvement projects in the poorest areas of the Indian subcontinent. The owners keep nothing for themselves save what it takes to operate the store. I've spoken with the owners several times but today as I walked past the store, their commitment to improving the lives of people half a world away grabbed at my heart and wouldn't let go. I started to cry thinking about their compassion and kindness toward others from a different country and culture.

That softening of my heart turned out to be the catalyst for more compassion and understanding to flow.

As I continued my walk, I began to get tantalizing glimpses of understanding about why I was given the opportunity to come back to reinvent my life. I allowed the insights to come and during the remainder of my walk, I started to see a bigger picture emerge.

Yes, part of why I was given a second chance was for me to make my life into something happier, more contented, and more soul-satisfying. That made sense intellectually, and I already knew that. But another very important reason was learn to have a soft heart, to feel compassion for others, and to pass on what I learned so that someone else might learn from it too.

I suddenly realized at a deep, emotional level that all of my life is feeding into this moment. Everything I've experienced, done, endured, and chosen is working together to soften my heart, to more fully allow me to empathize with people everywhere who endure pain and heartache in life. My life and near-death experiences are allowing me to feel deep compassion for those for whom life hasn't been easy. And my experiences also allow me to understand more fully that joy, love, contentment, and happiness are indeed possible for almost everyone.

My Guide's insistence that I chose this path makes sense now. I can see and feel this with extreme clarity and depth of understanding. Everything I've experienced on my path through life is helping me be a better messenger of the information in my book. Whether you believe that I chose the circumstances of my birth or they were given to me doesn't matter, but what I choose to do with my circumstances and experiences matters more than anything. I can choose to harden my heart and withdraw into my own little world, or I can risk allowing my heart to soften in order to feel compassion and empathy for others.

I've endured abusive relationships both as a child and adult, made poor choices in my twenties, had my heart broken too many times to count, endured the death of many close family members, wallowed in grief, let a potential great love walk out of my life, ignored the guidance of my heart, been through physical and emotional traumas, endured health crises, and dealt with judgement and condemnation from others. I've survived it all, and still love this life.

My experiences and choices made sense all of a sudden: everything is working together to soften my heart, and I feel deep compassion now for others who have been knocked around by life. This will make me a better person, but it also allows me to be a better messenger.

I could have avoided some heartaches if I had made better choices, yes, but no one is perfect. We all make mistakes and I've made my fair share of them. Now, instead of telling myself I should have done this or that, I choose to allow compassion to take over. I feel compassion toward myself in making those mistakes. Whether necessary or avoidable, they now soften my heart and allow me to empathize with others in similar situations.

My job and career choices also feed into this moment. My training as a scientist allows me to think critically about my experiences in that near-death state. My twenty years as a writer gives me the ability to more easily communicate what I learned and how I felt. My time as a trainer allows me to get up in front of an audience and talk about all of this without my knees buckling in fear.

While I'm not a psychotherapist or counselor and cannot directly help people learn to better their lives, I can be a cheerleader, a voice of inspiration and encouragement, and maybe even an example of what's possible. Some of the insights in my book might help someone, but if all they do is encourage a few people to get help to achieve a happier life, then perhaps that's enough.

Blessings to you all...


All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2014. Please read disclaimer and Legal Notes here.