The Death of Ivan Ilyich” was written in 1886 as a novella by Leo Tolstoy.

Basically the story is about a man named Ivan Ilyich who was a prestigious judge in Moscow. He felt his wife pressured him into being a judge for nobility purposes. Because of this, he despised his work, his wife and his life. Much of the story shows Ivan filled with internal rage, anger and frustration.

Obviously as the title suggests we know that Ivan will die in this story. We are shown Ivan as he lay dying the hour before his death. In a moment of clarity, he sees that he has not, after all, lived well, but has lived only for himself. And as his wife was holding his hand his last words were, “what if my whole life has been wrong?” and he died.

I love to hear Wayne Dyer’s telling of this story as it had a huge impact on his life. He describes the message he received after reading this story. “Dear Wayne, Don’t die with your music still in you.”

Do you know what your music inside is telling you?

Today is Palm Sunday. What does the significance of Palm Sunday have to do with “The Death of Ivan Ilyich?”

In Christianity, Palm Sunday is an occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’ life. It is a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection.

Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday because it commemorates the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ final agonizing journey to the cross. The English word ‘passion’ comes from Latin, ‘pati’ to suffer. Palm Sunday is now called Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.

I am not a religious person, although I was born Catholic. So this is not about going to church or spouting religious dogma. But I am very spiritual and I do love stories. I see the story as very symbolic and relate it in those terms.

The significance of Jesus riding a donkey and having his way paved with palm branches is a fulfillment of a prophecy that commemorates him riding into Jerusalem as ‘he who comes in the name of the lord’. The donkey was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.

How does all of this relate? Well in this week from Palm Sunday to Easter I believe is symbolic of the dying of the ego. The ego is the small self, the one that usually makes us feel bad. The one that has us wrapped up in whatever is going on outside of us. The one that has us comparing ourselves to others, the one that has to be the best by putting others down. I am sure you get my meaning. When Jesus is quoted as saying to his disciples, “The path of dying to self and being reborn lead to life abundant,” I believe he is speaking about the ego. Meaning we have to step outside of ourselves and allow the grace from our higher self to come through. This is what the crucifixion is to me, the dying of the ego, and the resurrection is the grace of my higher-self shining through. To know that I am connected to all things, and there is a divine source waiting to fill me with Abundance.

So when Jesus states, “Even the least among you can do all that I have done, and greater things,” he is referring to the fact that we all have that within us. All of us, no one is left out. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible to you.”

So in this week between Palm Sunday and Easter contemplate for yourself what you will let go. What is your agony? Find inside yourself that I promise is an ego problem, and let it die. Then contemplate what your passion is. Whatever makes you feel alive and connected is it. Then it is your job to become of service to it. As you do this you will find yourself resurrected in your own grace. You will find the Universe lining up to support you.

I see the story of Ivan Ilyich as symbolic of what will be the fate of many people. I don’t want to be in my final moments thinking ‘what if my life was all wrong.’ I don’t think anyone does. Since I only have today I can start from here. I have a choice if I allow it and so do you.

As Wayne says, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”



Author's Bio: 

Melisa Caprio

Photographer and Artist

Creator, Postcards to the Universe™

Melisa Caprio, the eldest of three young women, was born in New Jersey. When Melisa turned eleven, she moved with her family to South Florida. Melisa graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. Originally majoring in Journalism, she took a photography class and discovered her true passion.

After graduation, Melisa traveled and photographed in Europe for a few months. On returning to South Florida, she and a fellow photographer collaborated, opening a photography gallery in Hollywood, Florida, showing her European travel photography. They specialized in exhibiting their own and others’ photography; having juried exhibitions featuring local artist for openings to market their work. Melisa and her partner owned and managed the gallery for two years, closing it to concentrate on developing their individual photography expertise.

While focusing her photography on documenting one of her younger sisters with special needs, she was asked to become the staff photographer of Dolphin Human Therapy in Key Largo, Florida. At Dolphin Human Therapy, the focus of the program was to use dolphins as a motivator to help children with developmental challenges. The program was a huge success, and Melisa stayed with the company for seven years photographing the children’s interactions with the dolphins five days a week. She amassed thousands of images during that time. That work has been widely published portraying that population.

In her last year there, many things conspired in Melisa’s life to change her course. Dolphin Human Therapy closed its doors and moved out of the country. She and her husband divorced, and Melisa lost her home. After going through a difficult period of grieving and loss, Melisa started taking courses in life-coaching, spirituality and healing. During that time, she discovered the Law of Attraction, and realized how she attracted everything that came into her life, both the good and bad.

Inspired by her new awareness, her website, blog, and book, Postcards to the Universe™, was born. Postcards to the Universe is an artistic creation–using photography, affirmations, Law of Attraction, and finally, the power of manifestation. Melisa is using her photography images to create postcards; those postcards will be used for anyone who wants to create and manifest their affirmations by writing their affirmation on the back of the postcard. Melisa will take the affirmation the person writes on the postcard and ask them to send it to her. By sending the postcard, the sender is declaring and requesting the manifestation of their affirmation from the universe. Then, in return, the universe will respond in kind— this is how the Law of Attraction works. Melisa will photograph that postcard and affirmation in the person’s own words. If the postcard is chosen, it will be featured on her blog and in her book, Postcards to the Universe™. She will then follow-up and feature how they manifested their desires using Law of Attraction.

This is book one in a series that will continue to grow as an artistic venture using photography, art and the Law of Attraction—connecting all people as they see how dreams and desires are possible for everyone.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Rainbow Guardian, Inc., a non-profit organization, which serves the intellectually challenged and developmentally disabled population, including autism. This is a family operated foundation, which Melisa has been involved with its development, since it began in 1995.

Melisa lives in Davie, Florida. She enjoys traveling part of the year, pursuing her passion with photography. She spends much of her quality time with her family, or kicking back with a good book.