Sage Advice from the Dying

Mar 21, 2018

This week, I am reviewing ideas from a fantastic book by Australian Bronnie Ware called 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying'. For many years of her life, Bronnie was caring for people on their deathbed. Most of these people were slowly dying and had time to reflect on their lives. As she got to know them in their final weeks and months, they shared with her some of the things that they WISH they would have done in their lives. Bronnie then went on to distill all these things she learned from her patients down to what she called 'The Five Top Five Regrets of the Dying'. Some of the people she worked with had time to correct their errors and regrets and some didn't.

Instead of focusing on things we WISH we would have done, I'm going to turn Bronnie's "regrets" around in this post and take these wishes of the dying and turn them into positive statements of action for you. So let's get started!

A lot of us work too darn hard and don't take time for our families, our friends and relationships, which are really the most important things in the lives. We kind of all know this, but we do get caught up in our day-to-day DOINGNESS.

Here are a couple of stories about a couple of friends of mine who passed away working too hard and had dreams of doing other things. The first was a gentleman who had bought this beautiful boat and was ready to sail around the world. I went sailing with him one weekend. We sailed off-shore of California had the opportunity to spend all day Saturday and Sunday sailing together. At some point in the conversation, I asked him why he wasn't already sailing around the world, because he certainly had the vehicle to do it? He said, "Well I got this business I need to sell, and I got this apartment complex I need to get rid of, and I got all these things I need to take care of before I go." This "taking care of business" went on for years. Finally, he was walking up a ramp at a dock, suffered an aortic aneurysm, and died instantly. Thus, he never fulfilled his dream because he was just working too hard.

The second is of a friend who had cancer and recovered from his cancer. As a result of going through the cancer and the associated recovery process, he decided to sell his business. In the sales of his business, he agreed that he would be available for five years after the sale of his business so that he could take care of anything that came up. Five years was really one year too long. By the time that the five years was almost over, his cancer had come back with a vengeance, and he was gone within six months. So again, he was too tied up in his business and working too hard to really live out his dream. He had a beautiful 55 foot catamaran and was going to sail around the world with his wife.  Ultimately, he was not able to make his dream happen.

Actions for "Choose Time for Fun and Relationships Along with Your Vocation": 

  1. Create a bucket list of things that you want to go to, to have fun and build relationships along with whatever your vocation is.
  2. Put it on your calendar and make it happen. Remember we said thoughts are things. If you can think it, you can make it happen.

Take action today, get that bucket list created, and start making things happen with your relationships and just having fun!

Who are you estranged from and where is there something left unsaid that is blocking authentic relationship with others that used to be close to you? I believe that everybody has somebody in their life where their relationship could be better.

Actions for "Be Brave Enough to Tell Others How You Feel":

  1. Make a list of people that you feel you want to or which you could have better relationships.
  2. Make a phone call, schedule meeting, send an email, or write a letter to break the ice.

There are two people in every relationship but one of them has to lead in getting that communication going. Why not you?

Who are the friends that you now have or had in the past that you know have your back no matter what? Who's going to show up and help out when you're in need?

The Course in Miracles describes relationships in three types.

  1. People that just cross your path briefly for moment, a day, or a week.
  2. People that come into your life for a longer period of time and then they're gone.
  3. People whom you're meant to have a lifelong relationship, and I'm not just talking about your significant other. I'm talking about anyone who is a BFF. They keep coming back into your life.

Look around you for who these people are and identify them. Everybody has all three of these types of people in their life. In the book, Bronnie talks about a woman who on her deathbed wishes she had kept in closer touch with her friends. Bronnie asked her to let her know who those friends were and she would go search those people out and find them. The woman gave her a list of four people, and Bronnie was able to do research through the internet and find that three out of the four close friends of this woman had passed away. She was able to locate the fourth friend and arrange a phone call with this dying woman and her close friend that she hadn't talked to in years.

Not too long after the woman had the phone call with this very close friend, she passed away. For her fortunately, she was able to at least reconnect with one of her friends. In my own life, I endeavor to do keep in touch with friends to the extent that I can and they are willing. Recently, I had a friend that I've known since grade school who was in the area. He was actually in San Antonio, and he reached out to me and asked if could we get together? We met halfway in between Austin and San Antonio, had dinner together and it was great! We got to catch up on our lives. Choose to do that kind of stuff in your life too.

Actions for "Keep in touch with Close Friends":

  1. Know where your close friends are located and how to get a hold of them. Facebook is fantastic or this purpose.
  2. Plan any travel that you have coming up to make connections with your close friends.
  3. Invite your close friends to your place for a vacation in your neck of the woods. All right.

Last week, we talked about the fact that perception is reality and whatever you perceive is is what's real for you. This piece of advice is related in that happiness is a choice. Our natural state is happiness, and the best people to teach us how to be happy are children. You can see in the collage above the faces of children from India, Afghanistan, Cambodia, etc. - third world countries. These kids are poor, don't have shoes, maybe not enough to eat but they're playing and having fun with thumbs up and smiles on their faces. Look at children to teach you how to play and have fun and be happy.

Actions for "Choose Happiness":

  1. Take inventory of where you sense you're unhappy with your life circumstances and yourself.
  2. Choose to be grateful for everything that your life to date has taught you and for the person that you've become because everything that you've experienced has been for a reason.
  3. Choose to be happy. 

Of course, "Live Your Soul Purpose" is what this blog is really all about, i.e. living your soul purpose not what others expect of you.

Actions for "Live Your Soul Purpose":

  1. If you're not clear on your soul purpose, treat yourself to a personal retreat for reflection away from all worldly distractions to get in touch with your soul purpose.
  2. Ask for guidance through prayer or whatever you do to ask for guidance, and you will receive it.

All right. That's it for this week. I trust you enjoyed this post. Leave me some comments, share this with others, and we'll talk to you next week.


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