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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Death's Lessons on Life

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Death and Life.  Yin and Yang.  Darkness and Light.  Without one, we cannot grasp the other and our understanding of life is diminished.  Today I experienced the death of a person I loved very much.  The universe sent me the words of two women dealing with death themselves.  I have never met either woman, but their words changed me today.
     Alice X is a fifteen-year-old young woman who lists her profession as a full time cancer fighter.  She has been fighting cancer for four years, but her spirit is unstoppable.  She has a bucket list of all of the things she hopes to accomplish before she dies.  She is not asking for money or help; she just wants to share her experiences with her friends.  When I read her blog this afternoon she had 2,000 followers.  Tonight she has over 4,000.  Her joy is contagious.  We cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose the way we live, and in so doing, change the world.  Her blog is 
     Bronnie Ware is a singer and writer from Australia.  For many years she worked with terminal patients who had been sent home to die.  The article I read today was called "Top 5 Regrets of the Dying."  She shared five themes that seemed to continually surface for the people she cared for in their last days.  
  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

     If today was my last day, I would find myself in several of these themes.  I work way too hard.  I struggle with the courage to express my feelings.  I often do the responsible thing, rather than what makes me truly happy.  So today I work to become more alive.  Through death come lessons on living.  

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