“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that’s waiting for us.”–Joseph Campbell.

So you’re on your deathbed. You’ve lived a long and vibrant life. You have your family around you. You’re ready to cross over feeling very content and complete; ready to move on the next adventure waiting for you on the other side.

What would you like to say as your parting words to your friends, family, world?

Today’s post was inspired by a story that came through the Facebook pipeline called “Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed.” The actual post on which it was based is called “Regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware, a nurse who spent years with dying people.

The “regrets” – in brief:

  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.

Read Bronnie Ware’s full message

So here’s what I think…

  • There’s still time to make some changes.
  • There’s still time to live the life that is waiting for you all along.
  • There’s still time to discover, and enjoy, a little heaven on earth before it’s time to actually go there.

If you need a little assist, I offer some nuggets of wisdom from the Goddess of Hardscrabble and Heart  – one of my all time favorite writers – Anne Lamott:

  • “I hope you have gotten sufficiently tired of hitting the snooze button…
  • “Every single day I try to figure out something I no longer agree to do. You get to change your mind—your parents may have accidentally forgotten to mention this to you. I cross one thing off the list of projects I mean to get done that day…
  • “You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.”
  • “The very center is the truth of your spiritual identity: is you. Fabulous, hilarious, darling, screwed-up you.”

From “Becoming the Person You Were Meant to Be,” by Anne Lamott, O Magazine

p.s.  I hope that my parting words would be something along the lines of: “Wow. That was one hell of a ride! Especially when I finally figured out how to slow down, keep it simple, and stop taking my self so seriously.”

How about you?


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Showing 2 comments
  • Rosemary

    Years ago, I participated in a guided meditation during a retreat on death and dying. The monk guided us to consider what there was left to do in our lives before we die. We worked backwards from having many years to live, to 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 week, 1 day….You can imagine the grand plans entailed when there were still many years to live. But as time grew short, in my imagination I saw that I wanted more time with family, friends, my garden, writing thank you letters, and bequeathing favorite items. But what a surprise when I realized that with just one day to live, I snapped out of the meditation and thought: I have to clean out my closets!! 🙂 It was both a reality based realization and a wonderful, insightful metaphor. Now, twice a year I clean out my literal closets. I hope that I spend time daily clearing out the metaphorical ones…Thanks for your blog!

    • Stephanie Bennett Vogt

      Rosemary, your story tickles me soooo much!

      I LOVE that your impulse on your final hours was to clear your closets, and that it has inspired you to keep doing it ever since. In the end I believe that “clearing” with compassion (what doesn’t serve and support us) is really is what being human and evolving is about. We have the opportunity to clear NOW – both the physical and metaphorical – in this lifetime, while we’re still able. We certainly don’t want to take our “clutter” (aka stuck energy) with us when we go.

      Thank you so much for your comment. You get the added distinction of being the first to post here on my new Web site “home”!!

      Happy clearing!