Second chance at life?

“Leave through the left door and you get to live your life over again…Take the right one and you wink out. Poof. Candle-in-the-wind type thingBazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King.

Stephen King’s short story Afterlife is wonderful. Bill Anderson dies of cancer and finds himself in a strangely familiar room where he is given the choice to either end his existence or take another shot at life. The story is intriguing, amusing and thought-provoking.


Bill imagines the merits of living his life over again. A chance to do things differently; the opportunity to resist the temptations that led him to do some dreadful things. Perhaps he would go to see a doctor sooner and prevent the cancer from taking hold. The only catch, though, is that redoing life does not mean access to the memories of the life just lived.

So would Bill Anderson – or us – do anything differently, given the opportunity?

How can we ever know?

We live our lives the best we can; do things we are proud of and things we regret. Often we wish we could turn the clocks back and undo something we have said or done that has caused of regret. Then as we get older and closer to death there is time to reflect on our actions and I’m sure many of us would choose to do things differently given a second chance at life.

Stephen King’s story is really just a fictionalised version of reincarnation. For those who believe existence is not limited to this one life there is the understanding that there are many chances to redo life and – unlike in the story – it is possible to access memories from previous lives, stored in our subconscious in the hope to eventually live a life free of regret.

Although it seems memories from past lives are far out of reach I do believe they guide us every day in the form of intuition or what is often referred to as ‘gut instinct’. If we take time to pause when upset/angry/scared our intuition often guides us but we need to be conscious of what we are feeling and how we wish to respond by being aware of ourselves while in the situation.

Our initial instinct is for survival: fight or flight. Whereas our ‘gut instinct’ will draw upon past experience and try to prevent us repeating the same mistakes. We all have different moral codes and I believe these come from what we have learned from past incarnations along with lessons in our current incarnation.

To make use of the wisdom and knowledge in our subconscious, however, we must be present to the situation; aware of our thoughts and actions at the time. A brief pause before taking action gives a little time for reasoning to edge in and hopefully prevent rash decisions.

Present moment awareness is easy to say but takes practise – so, good luck !!

And remember that every day provides an opportunity to do things better.