We don’t usually talk much about death. It’s almost as if talking about it makes it more real or is it that most of us take our lives for granted. Death is the one thing we can all be certain about in life and it certainly is a sobering thought and powerful reflection tool. If death is inevitable and can happen at any moment, why don’t we talk about it, and more importantly live life more fully?
In 2019 I attended three funerals and was completely shocked by each death. All three beautiful souls had a zest for life with a big personality. They were all in the 40’s or early 50’s and died unexpectedly leaving behind many loved ones. It's hard to accept that someone can here one minute and so full of life and then gone the next. Death is a reminder of just precious and fragile life is and how important it is to live in the moment.
So a few important questions that I have asked myself recently that you might like to ponder…
- If I only had a year left to live what would I do differently?
- What could/should I change now to live more fully?
- If I die now am I proud of my life?
- Have I fulfilled my potential?
- Do I continue to let fear hold me back?
- Do I need to forgive myself and others to live more peacefully?
- Have I told all those I love and admire how much I appreciate them?
When I was given my cancer diagnosis in 2015 I remember sitting in the oncologists office feeling sick about wasting my life. I realised in a flash I'd spent so much of my life waiting for things to happen in order to be happy. I will be happy when I have the perfect house …a great partner… children…more money…when I'm slimmer etc. I often let fear hold me back and had let decades pass without living them fully.
Over the last few years I've made many small changes that have had a big impact on the way I live. I feel as if I've lived more in the years post cancer, than I had in the 44 before! From the outside you probably can’t tell. It’s mainly on the inside.
So enough abut me. How about you? If you only had a year left to live what would you do differently? Micheal A Singer says that death is the greatest teacher. He dedicates an entire chapter to death in his book 'The Untethered Soul'. A few extracts from his book are below.
- “No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same”
- "Any time you're having trouble with something, think of death”
- "Why wait until everything is taken from you before you learn to dig down deep inside yourself to reach your highest potential? A wise person affirms, "If with one breath all of this can change, then I want to live at the highest level while I'm alive. I'm going to stop bothering the people I love. I'm going to live life from the deepest part of my being."
If you still need convincing I love the below quote from Steve Jobs who lived a pretty remarkable life. So get out there people and live your life to the fullest. Dance like no one is watching and live like you are going to die soon! :)
'Remembering that I'II be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.'