When we pass over, we are welcomed by loved ones. We are also given the opportunity -- in the presence of a guardian angel type -- to review our life. I imagine the the angel says something like, "Let's roll the videotape" and every frame of our life unfolds before us. We each get to see where we acted with grace and where we fell short.

Notice I am not using the word "sin" here because it's an emotionally charged word with heavily weighted religious connotations. Further, it is not defined as intended. "Sin" in the original Aramaic means " to miss the mark." I so like that miss-the-mark definition. Needless to say, I miss the mark a lot and this definition help me to do better as well as coincides with my view of Source as a high-vibratory energy of unconditional love.

The life review is such an elegant design. Whatever name or face you give the Divine, the Divine allows our higher self to review our life. There is no punitive God; there is no heaven and hell. There are simply evolutions of a soul through lifetimes. Each of us determines if we have lived up to our soul contracts, acted compassionately and have been a soul-worthy person during this particular spin of the karmic wheel.

Years ago, I heard a story about a man who had the opportunity of a near-death life review. He came back into his earthly form and shared his experience. He said if he could do his life over again he would have been kinder. His comment also reminds me of the Dalai Lama who says, "Kindness is my religion." That's one church where you will find me in the front row. I can work harder at being kinder.

So, why do a life review now when you know, for one man, that kindness was the answer?

A life review is an act of healing: it opens the door for compassion. It creates a force field for forgiveness, resolution, neutrality and peace around all those personal ebbs and flows. It allows you, when the moment is perfect, to cross over to the other side having completed some spiritual housekeeping. Plus it offers some great psychological perks as you mentally and emotionally resolve the past and find neutral.

Here is what I suggest:

Get a legal pad or notebook that you will have in easy reach for a good three to six months. Most likely, you will write pieces of this at a time. It is somewhat like a patchwork quilt. One patch at a time and then you sew it all together.

A life review is for your eyes only. It is a very private and very personal endeavor. You will want to honor the process.

Given it is hard to remember exact dates, start with your earliest childhood experiences and begin with each of your parents (or parental units).

Write down everything mom (dad) said or did to you that was wounding. Write about the experiences, events, conversations, betrayals that stung and still sting. Let it all flow and move out of you; get it all down on paper. It is important to include how their actions and words made you feel. Also, write down all the good things they did for you. This is review, so we need the yin and yang of it all.

Once you have the parents issues complete, write down everything you did to each of them, the secrets you held, the betrayals, lies and trouble you created. And, again, how did your actions make you feel. Include, the good stuff you did as well and how that made you feel. This makes the process whole.

From both a positive and negative perspective, do this process of what-they-did and how-it-made-you-feel and what-you-did and how-it-made-you-feel for siblings, other family members, friends, loves, coworkers, spouses and the like -- anyone that has had a significant impact on your life.

Clearly, this is a commitment of time and energy; it is a conscious endeavor that requires a concerted effort. Take your time. Please do not rush through this process. There is no time limit. Take as much time as you need to write, remember and reflect. Your depths will be stirred as you relive and recount on paper. This is an emotionally exacting exercise.

When you feel complete with all of your writing, and there is no more to say and you are emotionally emptied, take some time to review what you have written. Please be gentle with yourself. You are doing this from your Higher Self perspective, so leave the whips and punishing tactics at home. This is not about blaming or judging yourself or anyone else; this is about expanding your consciousness and understanding that everyone does the best they can with the consciousness they have at the time.

Your final act is to complete a ritual when you find yourself at that neutral still point -- whatever they did or you did, whether horrendous or fabulous, good or bad, emotionally you have learned to detach. You need not agree with the actions, but you can choose to respond from a higher perspective and see the big picture.

Burn your papers after you have a) forgiven everyone for their real and perceived wrongs; b) have asked for forgiveness for all of your real and perceived wrongs and c) expressed gratitude and understanding.

Have a conversation with the Divine. I suggest saying whatever words of release that you need to say aloud and then take the ashes (once cooled) and use in any way than seems resonant for you as a final closing of your life review.

Congratulate yourself for a job well done. Undoubtedly, you have done some good work and revisited your past, cleared it energetically and placed your life, to date, in the light. Brava!

P.S. Be smarter than I was and burn your papers outside. That burning smell and smoke sure do know how to linger in an apartment -- in the middle of winter, no less! And don't get me started on the smoke alarm.

Author's Bio: 

Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is a transpersonal psychologist and higher consciousness teacher. You can learn more at her website: www.channeledgrace.com or her blog: www.theheraldedpenguin.com.