A Lesson From the Dead: Shorten Your To-Do List

Spirits communicate that the end goal of our lives is not perfection, completion, or scratching everything off our lists.

January 25, 2017
busy woman home office

Adapted from What the Dead Have Taught Me About Living Well

What spirits and my own glimpse at the Other Side have helped me understand is that before each of us is born, we set up very ambitious plans or to-do lists for our lives, and we're not expected to get it all done. Let me say it again: We're not expected to get it all done. I don't know about you, but this sure is a relief to me. In my own life, it can sometimes get to be a little too much. I can become overwhelmed and irritated by the small stuff, like a broken Internet connection or misplacing my car keys. When this happens, I try to pause and consider what I'm giving my energy, care, and attention to, because I know that in the end, it's all small stuff. Do you ever do that—sweat the big and small details? I sometimes draw a mental pie chart of where my energy is going on any given day and on any given hour—to work, kids, the family pet, my marriage, myself. I encourage you to try this. It can be an eye-opening exercise!


More: A Lesson From the Dead: You Are the Source of Your Own Abundance

On days when I feel especially pulled or overwhelmed, Chris helps me to put it in perspective. He's a man who is constantly juggling, and somehow he's learned better than I have how to let things go and not sweat it. In addition to being an active and involved father to his three girls and my two boys, he's running several companies at once. Yet it seems not to matter how challenged or stretched he is at work or at home, he always puts his heart and humor front and center. It's only at the end of the day after the kids have gone to bed that we'll finally have a chance to sit together alone. This is when Chris will download, and sometimes unload, the demanding moments of his day. A financial setback, an employee dispute—it could be anything, and Chris miraculously rises above the inconvenient earthly details and trusts that a solution will present itself. He'll often shrug and say, "I've done my best, and I've done enough. There's no sense worrying about how it'll all work out because I know that it will, as it should, in just the right time."

Hey, that's my line.

Spirits communicate that the end goal of our lives is not perfection, completion, or scratching everything off our lists; rather, it is about setting our intention and effort to do our best along the way. Focusing on quality over quantity is how we achieve balance. The departed emphasize that the quality of attention and care we pay toward the lessons and plans we set up to learn in our lifetime is what matters most. But instead, most of us focus on quantity—how much we can get done in any given day, week, month, and year. The result is a life that feels like a mad dash, where we rush from one location, promotion, relationship, and milestone moment to the next.


More: 3 Revelation Exercises That Will Totally Transform Your Life

This race, spirits and my guides assure me, is not the pace we should strive for. They will show me a turtle as a sign to "slow down" and have relayed that when we hurry through our days, not only do we struggle and beat ourselves up unnecessarily when we don't accomplish all we set out to do, but our haste causes us to miss what's most important—being present and showing up in loving service to ourselves and to the people in our lives. Spir- its are constantly extending their apologies to their partners, children, and friends for not giving them more attention and love when they had the chance. They also express regret for not doing more to nurture and enjoy themselves while they were alive.

Furthermore, when we're constantly on autopilot, going through the motions to do more, get more, and be more, we sometimes miss the bigger lessons we're meant to learn in our lifetime like, paradoxically, surrender, patience, and faith in something bigger than ourselves. When we sidestep these lessons, guess what? They wait for us on the Other Side. In other words, they're still on your to-do list! So we each might as well take our time and be thoughtful, caring, and thorough in whatever we do from moment to moment, and only then move on to the next thing.

More: 5 Common Elements of a Near-Death Experience


After relaying the message to the group that our to-do lists will never get done, I moved on to a spirit who was showing me a red stoplight and a house. I asked, "Is anyone here thinking of moving or in the midst of moving?" ("Besides me," I thought to myself.)

A woman named Stephanie raised her hand. "I'm in the process of selling my business and moving out of Denver."

"Who is Joe?" I asked. "A spirit is present who died of lung cancer."

"That's my dad," she asserted.

"Dad's here, and he's clearly saying it's not time."

Stephanie furrowed her brow. "But it's already in motion."

"I'm getting that it's not 'if' but 'when.' He's showing me the month of May on a calendar. He's also showing me a document that he's signing. Is there a glitch in the current contract?"

Stephanie looked surprised that I knew this detail, but nodded. "We haven't been able to finalize the terms."

"Dad is saying something isn't right and to wait. Don't rush it." He continued to flash the month of May in my mind. "Wait and trust that the right person will come along when the time is right, most likely in the spring."

As I delivered this message to Stephanie, I couldn't help but wonder if her father's message was also meant for me. His heed to his daughter—don't get ahead of yourself—felt so relevant to my own moving situation. While I felt certain in my heart that the house we had found was meant to be ours, it wasn't that clear on paper. The financial piece wasn't adding up, and so I felt like I was wrestling with the Universe, feeling strongly that I knew the direction our family was meant to go but not sure how we were going to get there.