I hope you’ve had a good week. Only 25 sleeps to Christmas. I hope you manage to stay cool calm and collected over the next month. I’ve noticed that more and more people are actually simplifying Christmas and doing less and spending less. If you find this time of year too busy or stressful then it might be a good time to think about making some changes. Saying “no” is one of the best stress management techniques you’ll find.
My family switched to doing Kris Kringle for gifts a number of years ago and it’s made a huge difference to how much shopping I do. We also do Christmas Dinner at our house every second year which frees up our kids to go to their in-laws on the alternate years. I know not all families are willing to be flexible but I believe that Christmas, (or whatever holiday you celebrate) should be peaceful and enjoyable and not just follow tradition because you think you should.
Anyway, last weekend we held our Eat Pray Love Retreat at Milgrove and it was fabulous. Such a gorgeous group of women. We did lots of meditation, learning, sharing, rituals and relaxing so I was feeling very chilled on Sunday night…. Not so chilled yesterday though. My Dad went back to hospital on Friday and it doesn’t look like he’ll be coming out again. I went to visit him in Ballarat yesterday.
My father turned 88 earlier this month so he’s had a good, long life. He’s tired and ready to die. As much as I know that death is not the end it’s tough watching his body deteriorate and his spirit fade.
I did tell him to make sure he comes back to let me know that he’s OK once he passes. I assured him I know plenty of psychics who can pass on a message for me!
One of the things I’ve noticed is that as a culture we don’t deal with death very well. We don’t talk about it easily before the event and we don’t process it very well after the event. It seems that everyone I speak to about my father has a story to tell. An unresolved experience of death and loss. You’ve probably noticed that every funeral you go to triggers the memory of all the other funerals you’ve been to and all the other losses.
Death and funerals will be very difficult when you haven’t made peace with your previous experiences. And often it’s hard to make peace when it’s not something we talk about.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying tells us that we would benefit from being much more familiar and comfortable with death and in doing so we would be far more appreciative of our lives. Instead we tend to live our lives in denial of death and so we take living for granted. We believe we have all the time in the world. And because of that we waste much of that time. We hang out for 5pm wishing away the hours so we can leave work, we hang out for Friday wishing away the days, we escape life with Facebook or TV or unnecessary shopping or eating. Every minute, hour and day of our lives however is incredibly precious.
There’s a wonderful short film called The 5 Wishes. It’s about a young man who reluctantly goes to a party with his girlfriend. During the evening he wanders into the house to escape the superficial conversations of the party and finds an older man sitting inside. They discuss the fact that they don’t like small talk and the older man asks, “So would you like no talk or big talk?” The younger man takes a risk and says “Big talk.”
The older man then asks a very powerful question that went something like this, “If you were to get to the end of your life and you ask yourself ‘Was my life a success?’ if the answer is no what is it that you would have needed to do differently to make it a success?” You might want to read that question again. It’s a very big question. The young man’s answer was that he would have truly allowed himself to love and be loved.
Years ago I heard Petrea King, author of Your Life Matters speak at a seminar. Petrea works with terminally ill clients and her aim is to simply help them make peace with their lives. To clear all their past regrets and finish all their unfinished business. She helps them to see that their lives were a success.
I’ve also worked with people who are dying and I have found that as well as healing the past they want to talk about death. They want to discuss their spiritual beliefs and what comes next. They want to have a chance to say goodbye. When we don’t take the risk and open up the conversation we can miss out on helping a loved one make a peaceful transition and we can create regret and guilt within ourselves.
I’ve discovered with both my parents, (my mum died 35 years ago) that it’s better to have that conversation sooner rather than later. In fact it’s best for it to be an ongoing conversation throughout our lives. When we remember that life is terminal we have an enormous sense of gratitude for each day. We take nothing for granted, we value our friends and family so much more. We value our own lives so much more.
So at the risk of sounding morbid I suggest that you remind yourself every morning that you and everyone you love are going to die. What do you want to say or do before that happens? What’s on your bucket list? What’s stopping you from fully living your life and seizing the day? Who do you need to reconnect with and make peace with? Who do you need to apologize to? Who do you need to tell that you love them? If you were going to die in a month’s time what would you do to get your affairs in order? I wonder how much more fully you would live life if you did all those things.
If you need help making peace with life (or death) then I’d love to spend a hour with you and talk it all through. You can book a Free 60 Minute Consultation HERE
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Have a great week,
Health and Happiness Guru