The Art Of Change: Making the Rest Of Your Life The Best Of Your Life

By on July 6, 2011

By Shahina Lakhani

My interest in life change really surfaced when I started to work for a hospice. But way before I ever started to work at a hospice I had seen a lot of major changes in my life. I struggled through those events, and tried to make sense of them. I tried to survive through these changes so I wont drown in the fear, turmoil, uncertainty and a sense of victimhood that came with most of these transitions.

When I came to America at the age of 25years I had to learn a new culture as I worked on my master’s degree. Shortly thereafter, I also ventured on the path of marriage and raising a family. Ten years later I found myself struggling with an abusive marriage, two little kids and a life that felt completely empty and meaningless.

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From there in the hopes of a better life, I started on a very difficult path of divorce and raising my children on my own. I then moved to California searching for something better. What I did not know was that my problems would follow me wherever I went because they lived in me not outside of me.

In California, I found myself spending all my salary on rent and childcare and depending on credit cards for the rest. As a result within three years I was in a huge debt. At this time I felt like I had no choice but to send my two little children back to Georgia to live with their father and his new wife.

A month after this move my sister died suddenly and left our family in a deep state of shock. Only a few weeks after her death, I found out that my children were verbally and mentally abused in the father’s house.

These events were devastating. A deep depression set in. I could not make sense of all that was happening. I would have ended up dead too if it was not for my stubborn fighting spirit. My spirit raged within for all the injustices and cried in despair as my children were mistreated and abused.

I cried for help for months and was on the verge of a breakdown when one night I made a pact with God. That night I asked God for help. I promised that I would do all I could to follow the signs and inspirations I received.

The following morning I received an email for a free NLP seminar called “Break through to success”. From here my journey within began.

I took all the classes I could, attended all the seminars, did all the home work and moved yet again. This time I moved back to Georgia with a goal to get my children out of the hell I had put them in.

Moving to Georgia was not easy. My children’s father was not willing to send them back to live with me despite the kids’ plea to do so. I did not have the money to fight him in the court so my children had to pay for it and bear the wounds of abuse on their soul.

Meanwhile, I continued to search for answers so I could make things right for my children and I. I continued asking God for direction and help. Then one day as I was meditating, I heard a voice in my heart telling me to volunteer at a hospice.

Although I had been a nurse for a long time, I did not know much about hospice and was reluctant to try it. But, the thought stayed with me all the time. Finally, six months later I began to volunteer at an inpatient hospice north of Atlanta. What I experienced there changed my life forever.

Experiencing life’s biggest transition through all the people I came across during my hospice career changed something deep within me. Early on I began recognizing the pain and the agony people went through at this time

I saw terminally ill people suffer in silence as their soul searched for answers. I saw families suffer and agonize over a sense of futility and loss. I saw people linger on for days and weeks hanging on by a thread for some unknown reason. My heart ached when I saw these people in deep pain and turmoil.

Then as if by magic, I saw myself saying things to these people that seemed to make a difference. I instinctively picked up on each individual’s longing and worries. Ironically, most of the time they themselves were not consciously aware of the reason for their anguish.

As time went on I began to synthesize and put into words what came to me so naturally. As I kept a mental account of each person and their situation. I began to see a pattern.

Soon I realized that every person I was working with had the same basic issues that haunted them despite their varied circumstances, beliefs, cultural differences and religious affiliation.

Abraham Maslow described in his hierarchy of human needs that all human beings have same basic needs no matter who they are. Working with the dying, their caregivers and loved ones I realized that all human beings also have the same basic needs when it comes to end of life transition.

Being in the powerful presence of people who were facing their death helped me learn something profound. What I learned during these transformative times helped me cut through the chase and really look at the heart of the change.

When a person is dying, there is no hiding behind the masks we wear; there is no other way to go through this transition but to face the deeper issues. Failure to meet these issues proactively leads to great pain, suffering and lingering in a state of despair that is heartbreaking.

When a person is facing his own death, there is no place to hide; there is no room for burying your head in the sand. The only way to be triumphant at this time is to face our fears, look our ghosts in the eye and ask, “How can I help you so I can help myself?” Once we feel safe enough to ask this question, we realize that the answers are simple, effective and transformative.

I found that most people were not able to express their needs. However, their inner pain and turmoil showed up in a lot of different ways. For some people it showed up as extreme agitation, for others it showed up as pain. When there were unfinished issues, I saw a lot of people linger, hanging on by a thread even when their bodies were too weak to sustain life.

When I witnessed these and many other signs of discomfort, I prayed so I could understand what was going on. I asked questions of the patients if they could communicate and of their loved ones so I could help them through their agony.

From there I began to look at transition during serious illnesses and then transition in general. As we all know that change is the only constant in life. However, we also know that we as human beings constantly struggle with and are threatened by change.

I applied the life lessons I had learned from the dying into practice in my own life. I then applied these life lessons to other situations such as a job change, a move, divorce and many other situations. I was astonished to learn that the very same issues that are at the heart of end of life transition are also at play with all life change.

We all are scared of change. We all try to run away from it. Often we hide our head in the mundane like an ostrich hides his head in the sand. We run, we hide, we pretend we are not affected by it and as a result we suffer. The fears at the end of life are the same as they are during any change and therefore, the remedy is also the same. I believe death is like shedding the old to birth into a new life.

What a caterpillar calls death, a butterfly calls freedom. When a butterfly breaks out of its cocoon at the right time, it is blessed with the power of flight.


When we as human beings decide to break out of our shell, greet change with open arms and a prepared mind, the whole scenery changes. What was scary and a source of fear before now becomes a reason to explore. When we explore we find hidden treasure within that are yearning to be uncovered.

These are the treasures of love, of forgiveness, of letting go of the old and allowing the new to emerge. These are the gifts of deep listening to ourselves and others. These treasures give us the courage to allow ourselves to experience life to the fullest, to experience rewarding relationships.

The only constant in life is change, if you don’t believe me look at our spinning, revolving earth that never sits still for a moment. Not only is our earth safe when it moves, it also grows and thrives because of this constant movement. The changing seasons bring with them new flowers new fruits, new fragrances and new life.

Similarly changes in our life bring us new opportunities. These are the opportunities for looking within and exploring what lays hidden. These are the opportunities to cut through the chase and going for the gold.

This gold is the gold of love, forgiveness, rewarding relationships, and of allowing ourselves to soar. No need to hold on to what does not serve our higher purpose. No need to cling to ideas of being unworthy, powerless and unwanted.

When we begin to love ourselves so fearlessly as to allow our self to look within for the source of turmoil and for the healing balm for our wounds, we transform. We look at the world differently; we look at people in a different way. As a result opportunities open up, our heart heals, our relationships thrive, our body begins to get stronger and our spirit gains flight.

Shahina has been a nurse for over 25 years. She has done a lot of amazing things in nursing. Her very first job was as an Operating Room Nurse. She then worked as a Nurse Practitioner after completing her Masters in Nursing. She has also worked as an Educator, and a Hospice Nurse. Her website:

About Shahina Lakhani

Shahina has been a nurse for over 25 years. She has done a lot of amazing things in nursing. Her very first job was as an Operating Room Nurse. She then worked as a Nurse Practitioner after completing her Masters in Nursing. She has also worked as an Educator, and a Hospice Nurse. Her website:

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The Art Of Change: Making the Rest Of Your Life The Best Of Your Life