On what really matters in life

I have always been interested on figuring out what  the right way to live is.  Largely that was due to the fact that I grew up in two cultures that did not see eye to eye and so I was forced to look at life from an early age.  As I grew up I got into world of self-development, psychology and philosophy.  And all I found was that there is broad array of opinion on how to live and most of it is theoretical.

I have often thought that the best way to figure out how to live is to speak to people who are on their way out.  So what do our fellow human beings who are dying wish they had lived/done differently?   Five things:

  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 had not worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I’d had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I’d allowed myself to be happier

Where did these come from?  They come from a lady that worked with / took care of these older folks.  I encourage you to read the full article as it really is worth reading:  Regrets of the Dying

On the importance of family and friends

On Monday morning at 5am I dropped of my wife and children at Gatwick Airport so that they can spend a week with their French family sking in the Alps.  And when I dropped them off I was thinking “Great, I am going to get some peace and so can get on with all the stuff that needs to be done.”  During the working week that worked out just fine:  I had lots to do at work and I got on with it.  In the evenings I either wrote, I read or I watched a movie.   I even reached out and talked with a friend or two in distant lands by using Skype.  I was alone but did not have the time to be lonely.

Today, I am not busy and I have already done all that needs to be done.  And so I am alone with myself.  Being with that I totally get that whilst life has been peaceful and easy this week, it has also been without any sunshine.  I have missed and do miss seeing the faces of my wife and children.  I miss hearing their voices.  I miss getting and giving hugs.  Today, I am both alone and lonely.

Now I am totally ok with this feeling.  Because I know that I will be picking up my wife and children on Monday morning.  And I have already arranged to go and see my sister and her family this weekend.

Nonetheless, I feel for all the people in this world that are alone and lonely and have no-one to turn to.  I wish I could share a tea/coffee, some food and conversation with you and drive out the loneliness – even for a little while.

Reality is fine, it is my ideas about reality that cause all the problems

Have you ever noticed that it is not reality itself (what is so) that creates the problems in our lives?

Reality can cause us pain but not problems.  Yet it is our ideas on how I/you/we/ they/ it should be that gives rise to our problems.  We simply forget that reality just is and it can never live up to what we want, when we want it.

So my brother-in-law Simon had is face smashed in playing rugby.  Yet, he never had any problems with that and still does not.  He simply went through what he had to go through to get his face put together.  And he has played rugby for many years after his accident.  He does not blame anyone or anything: it happened, he knew it could happen and so forth.

I also have friends who have divorced and in the process they created many problems for themselves simply by insisting on holding on to their viewpoints, their stories – where they are or were the victims of injustice.  It is the stories that they create which create their pain.  For the reality is simply that they are no longer with the person that they fell in love with.

Where do I sit.  I would love to be like my brother-in-law Simon, yet too often I find myself in the camp of my divorced friends!  That is where mindfulness comes in – when I am mindful I can give  my story and join my brother-in-law and accept reality for what it is and what it is not.

On the beauty of life and living

This week, the sun shone;  joy arose, smiling all over!

This week, saw two birds (one a little red robin) dancing about in my garden; joy arose, smiling all over!

This week, young and old, male and female, laughing and dancing in Egypt; joy arose, tears down my face!

This week, a human being I have met only once touched my life by putting her trust in me and making herself vulnerable; gratitude, respect, joy arose – are present today.

Beautiful smiling face looked right at me and gave me the right of way my path was blocked by a line of parked cars;  delight, joy, gratitude – you see me, you care!

Independence is an illusion. You  (the sun, the birds, my fellow human beings) and I dance in the web of life; relationship everywhere – open your heart and you will experience it.

On relationships or why I simply love Rosemary!

How you ever stopped to really consider what is a ‘relationship’?

Do you think of ‘relationship’ as a  solid object that once created lasts for a long time, perhaps even an eternity?

Do you think of a  ‘relationship’ as being like a holiday – a clear starting and end point and in between there is lots of adventure, excitement, novelty and fun?

Do you think of ‘relationship’ as communication – talking, discussing, debating?

Do you think of ‘relationship’ as a meal around a table – the meal has to be created, the people invited to the table and there is sharing of food and conversation?

I realise that I have thought of my relationship with my wife as rather like an enduring object.  We created that object many years ago and having been created it should simply last.  After all we have been together for some 19 years.

Today, a wise friend (Rosemary) reminded me about an aspect of ‘relationship’ that I had perhaps never realised and if I did do so then I had certainly forgotten it.  She stated “A relationship needs to fed and nurtured”.

Yes, a relationship has to be fed and nurtured.  And that reminded me of gardening.  When I plant a seedling it needs lots of attention in the form of feeding an nurturing (light, water, heat etc).  As the seedling grows into a young plant it still needs feeding and nurturing.  As the young plant grows into a strong and healthy established plant, it still needs feeding and nurturing. All that changes is that the both the volume, regularity and form of that feeding and nurturing.  If you forget this and fail to feed and nurture the plant, even a strong established healthy plant, it will wither and die eventually.

I realise that to date I have had a mistaken picture of some of my closest relationships.  Thinking that they are now well established plants, I have mistakenly assumed that they no longer need to be fed and nurtured – they can look after themselves.  Thankfully, these relationships are not dead, simply withering and looking for some tender care.  That is my commitment: to give that care in the form of regular feeding and nurturing.

Thank you Rosemary for awakening me from my sleep!

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