- Write out your most pressing problems, worries, and concerns. Then watch “Perinatal Hospice Video” or check out the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation (warning – video contains highly sensitive scenes) When you are finished look at your list again. Has anything large grown smaller?
- Read “The Wheel of Life, A Memoir of Death and Dying” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, or click on this link to reach her inspiring foundation.
- Spend time with a loved one, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or stranger who is facing end of life and really listen to their thoughts on living. It is rare to hear someone who is dying speak of regrets in terms of money, power, or position. It is most common to hear about relationships, healing, and love. Heal your heart.
- Take time to identify what brings joy and energy to your life. Are you up to date and current? Living to your potential? Taking time to smell, well … anything that makes you truly happy? Focus on what really matters.
- Write a eulogy for yourself that highlights the legacy you hope to leave. Are you on target? If this eulogy was read tomorrow would you be remembered as you wish? Is there some action needed, for you to come correct? Mend your life.
- Try something that you have always wanted to, or continually put off doing. What are you waiting for? The further outside your comfort zone, the scarier it will be. This is good – it’s called growth.
- Live each moment with gratitude. Regardless of less than optimal circumstances, what is one thing you are grateful for? And another? And one more? For inspiration take small children to silly movies and speak with active duty service men & women, or vets of any foreign war.
- Love who you are, flaws and all. There will always be things to improve upon, yet you are a miracle, unique, loved, loving, and wonderful, exactly as you are.
- Forgive yourself and others. Holding on to hurts and grudges against yourself or others will drain your energy and fill valuable space in your brain that could be put to better use. Is there something in your past you regret having done, that at the time you felt justified in doing, but knowing what you do now would never do again? There is as equally a good chance that someone who hurt you may also have grown to a place of higher moral ground. If you have trouble with this – seek professional help.
- Pay attention to the beauty that is all around you. Yes, there is sadness and ugliness everywhere. There is also an abundance of grandeur. Where are you choosing to focus? Have you listened to the birds today? Felt the air on your skin? Given thanks for your life? Seen something or someone who made you laugh?
Reviewing this list at first glance, it appears as an oversimplification. Looking deeper reminds me that is precisely why each item made it to this list. Sometimes the answer really is right in front of us.
It has been a very difficult week for mom. Pain and breathing difficulties threatened to overtake us on a number of occasions, severely limiting planned activities. We fought back with stronger pain meds (which created new and additional challenges) and greater flexibility, by late Sunday the tide began to turn for her. Of course, that is also the day that I ended up back in the emergency room when a previously friendly dog bit right through my lip. A minor detour in the larger scheme of things, which has once again reinforced how incredibly blessed (lucky) I really am.
I found it challenging to find the nuggets of goodness, but there were many when I really looked. (and big sloppy thanks to all of you who reminded me to open my eyes or made me laugh) I am grateful for every minute we shared with family, friends, and four-leggeds. Exciting things are happening in each minute of every day. I am looking forward to sharing some photos of a few more memorable everyday opportunities for beauty and grace.
Next week, there is a wonderful guest post coming your way from the very inspiring, and wise author, ijwoods of Conscious Departures – Preparing for What Ultimately Lies Ahead. I hope you will take a few minutes this week to head over to his thoughtful and well written site and check it out. Until then, in the impassioned words of Dr. Kübler-Ross:
“Death is but a transition from this life to another existence where there is no more pain or anguish. Everything is bearable when there is love. My wish is that you try to give more people love. The only thing that lives forever is love.” ¹
¹“The Wheel of Life – A Memoir of Living and Dying” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, A Touchstone Book Published by Simon and Schuster, New York, New York ©1997