On a Bridge From Life to Death, and Death to Life, Which Way Would You Go?


The Kabbalah states that sickness may serve as a bridge in two directions, from life to death, and death to life.

The option of a passage from death to life is a chance to return stronger and healthier than before, to be reborn, alive once more.

The teachings even go so far as to indicate that every illness is embedded with the CLUE to the CURE for that ailment.

I believe that many afflictions we face offer this same opportunity.

Take, for example, “Learning to Drive,” a movie released in 2014. Patricia Clarkson plays the character of a well-known book critic whose husband has an affair and decides to leave the marriage. Cluing her in on the reason for his departure, he shares that, when she did shift her attention from her beloved books, she looked right through him, not seeing him.

Ben Kingsley plays the character of Darwan, the cab driver / driving instructor with whom she reluctantly agrees to take lessons, after being dependent on her husband for driving. This life changing experience is the “cure” for what ailed her marriage. By learning to drive, she becomes present, focused, mindful of the people around her.

Many of us are conditioned, through painful experiences, to find an “escape” that we associate with wellbeing. For Patricia Clarkson’s character, this place was in books. While this earned her a good career, it didn’t translate as successfully to her relationship. With the persistent help of Darwan, however, she’s able to take the bridge from death to life.

Another common example that I’ve seen in my coaching work relates to corporate mergers and restructurings. Some of my highly accomplished clients were asked to take on incompatible roles in incompatible environments. Their work ethics were strong, as was their commitment to doing everything possible to succeed. It was through these character traits that they had advanced in their careers. This strategy had worked before, so why not now? The truth was that the organization had rerouted in a direction that was no longer aligned with theirs’. They were not positioned to be successful, and the price they paid for trying to “make it work,” only to be outplaced later, was to loose touch with the value they brought, to feel diminished by a daunting feeling of failure.

The “cure” to their affliction was to find themselves again. An in-depth self-assessment process through which they validated a current definition of compatibility set them on their way to crossing back from death to life. Many of these clients embarked on careers through which un or under-expressed talents became a new vocation.

Whether your pain relates to a sudden loss, or a gradual decline, while life inevitably leads to some form of death, the trip from death to life often requires an expedition. Although finding a cure is uncertain, following the clues will at least point you in the direction of living. After all, isn’t much of the magic in strengthening your will to live again each time that you experience death?