About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Living the dash

First of all, a Happy New Year to all my wonderful followers and readers.

I did not blog yesterday nor did I start my 30 day journey of a no-regret live as I was travelling plus the journey I wanted to start, I always intended to start it today.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was writing my A-Z blog for December, I stumbled upon something in meditation and decided to take this journey. I am guided through this journey by a book, One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life written by Kerry and Chris Shook.

I had also received an email from a friend. This email I had received a few times from a few friends. I am copying part of the email below.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate some one's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

I used to pass by cemeteries and always you see on a gravestone, the name, the date of birth and the date of death and sometimes some simple line from a religious verse, a quote or something like Good husband, wonderful father or simply R.I.P.

John Doe
1 Jan 1911 - 1 Jan 2011

Our entire lives are reduced to 2 dates and a little dash but each person's life really comes down to what transpired between those two dates, what happened in the little dash?

There are many things we do not have a control of in our lives like we cannot decide when we are born or the day we die. We cannot decide who our parents will be.

But we can decide how we are going to use our little dash.

There are no radical changes required, I will not be quitting my job and travel the world but changes will be made.

I know my time on earth is limited and it is not my choice of how long I will live. As such, I am going to start making the most of it.

There are four principles that I have been introduced to to follow this lifestyle: to live passionately, to love completely, to learn humbly, and to leave boldly.

Today, being day 1 of my 30 day journey has been an introduction.

I have written five things (without thinking too long) what I would change about my life if I only had one month.

Then I have written how I would like my life to be different at the end of reading the book.

And finally, I have told at least 1 person, well, I have told more since I blogged about it. So mark your calendars and ask me on February 1, 2011 on how my life has changed.

As stated above, life is a choice, it is your choice, it is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly and choose to be happy.

Live passionately, love completely, learn humbly, and leave boldly. Live the dash.

Take care and be well.


Joshua Hajok said...

brother, i'm inspired. ="( i'll try to live my dash, or die trying.

happy new year from the Hajok's.

anju said...

great blog................

heavy hedonist said...

"It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it"

This is true; and yet as I have found in the middle of a long recovery, with an act of huge will, one can turn this truth on it's head. Until I had too much time on my weak hands, I didn't let myself write the novels I wanted to write. Now, I've written several, and know there will be more.
Nice blog, I'll check back soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow Nilesh! Already looking forward to the next musing.

nages said...

Wow Nilesh! Already looking forward to the next musing.

macK said...

happy new year and best wishes for many, many rainbows to come! ;)

CL said...

Making full use of our dashes. I've heard about it in a motivational talk. Very meaningful indeed.

vemala said...

Happy new year.
living a meaningful life within the 2 dates is the greatest. I'm inspired...

vemala said...

Happy new year.
living a meaningful life within the 2 dates is the greatest. I'm inspired...