Blog

Living a regret free life

Over the last few days, we have been talking about the top regrets of the dying. Thinking and reflecting upon the shortness of our sojourn here on earth is an excellent way to live a better life so that we don't have the regrets at the end of our days.

The good news is that while we are still here, we have thousands of opportunities to change the stories of our lives and leave a legacy that we are content with.

Living a regret free life begins with recognizing what we would like our life to stand for. An excellent way to do this is through the "Eulogy Exercise".

A eulogy, as you know, is a speech given at a memorial service in memory of the deceased. Loved ones gather to say good words about the dearly departed and what impact they had on their lives.

The Eulogy exercise is a little different. It entails writing out two eulogies for yourself.

The first eulogy is to be written as if it is going to be read today. Write it in the present tense, as if the people gathered at your funeral...

Continue Reading...

I wish that I had let myself be happier

Many of us do not realize that happiness is, in fact, a choice. A choice that we can make on a daily basis by focusing on what we have rather than what is lacking. On nurturing what is present and available rather than yearning after what may never be ours.

Bonnie Ware found that this awareness came late in life for the people that she cared for. She says, "This (regret) is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize 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."

This is such a good reminder to all of us – to ask ourselves what we can do today to take charge of our own happiness and wellbeing.

We can get choose today to get out of emotional ruts that...

Continue Reading...

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

Much too often, we do not speak our truth, express how we really feel or ask for what we need for many (not very good) reasons. These reasons can include self-protection, fear of upsetting the other, keeping the peace etc.

Much too often we forget that relationships can better survive our truth than the resentment borne from not speaking up. It is in fact, emotional disengagement that destroys relationships rather than the feared conflict from a spoken truth.

Ware found that not expressing feelings had an additional cost. She found that not expressing their true feelings was something many people regretted at the end of their life. "Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others", she writes. "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."

Once we start practicing expressing our true feelings, we begin...

Continue Reading...

I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

Bronnie Ware found that almost all the men and quite a few of the women she spoke to, regretted spending too much time working at the cost of spending time with family and loved ones.

This one did not surprise me at all.

It seems that as a generation, we have completely blurred the boundaries between work and non-work life. Our work has taken over all aspects of our existence.

With the advent of technology, work follows us home, on the dinner table, on the prayer mat, in bed, on vacation, in the shower . . . you get the picture.

It may be helpful to remind ourselves that no one on their death bed ever wished they had spent more time at the office. (attributed to Rabbi Harold Kushner)

Continue Reading...

Learning life lessons from the dying

Are you familiar with the story of Bronnie Ware the palliative care nurse who wrote the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying?

Although employed as a personal carer primarily to look after physical needs of dying patients, Ware found herself having deep and meaningful conversations with her clients.

Ware came to appreciate that people who are dying realize what is most important and what is not, and are more likely to speak honestly about their life and what they wished they had done differently.

Through many conversations and interactions with the dying, she began to notice some common regrets they expressed and gathered their wisdom and experience in her book.

Over the next few days, lets explore the top regrets of the dying. Maybe we can learn from their wisdom and live a regret-free life ourselves.

Continue Reading...

Be open to influence

Continuing with our series on the timeless wisdom of Imam Ali (as), the quote for today is: "One who is headstrong and opinionated perishes, while one who seeks the advice of others becomes a partner in their understanding".

When we are highly protective and defensive of our opinions, it is usually a sign of fear, insecurity and a lack of confidence. It also leaves us little room for growth, reflection or expansion of wisdom.

So the next time someone offers us a suggestion or a piece of advice, lets pause before automatically dismissing it. Just fully consider it before making a decision either way. Considering something does not mean agreeing. Listening to a point of view with an open mind does not meant that you automatically accept it.

Listening with an open mind leaves the opportunity open, though, to grow in understanding and insight and to become a 'partner in their understanding'.

Continue Reading...

Pause before you promise

It is hard to say no to those we care about. It seems much easier in the moment to make a promise when a request is made than to disappoint and upset the one who is asking (especially if they are a child, a family member or co-worker that we see everyday)

The trouble is, when we promise something we have no intention of doing or are not in the position of doing, it ends up causing twice the amount of upset and disappointment, both for ourselves and others. Our words and our promises do not hold much weight. The promisees are never quite sure whether or not we will make good on our promise.

Imam Ali (as) puts it very eloquently: “One who is asked a request is free until promising". On another occasion he said, "A graceful refusal is better than a lengthy promise.”

So the next time a request is made which you cannot or will not fulfil, consider a graceful refusal.

This may be challenging in the moment, but so much easier in the long run for you and for the relationship.

...

Continue Reading...

Buddha and the farmer with the 83 problems

Sharing a story today that captures the concept of AIMing at happiness that we have been talking about this week. . .

A farmer came to see the Buddha for a solution to the problems in his life.

My first problem is my work, he began:
"I like farming, but sometimes it doesn't rain enough, and my crops fail. Last year we nearly starved. And sometimes it rains too much, so my yields aren't what I'd like them to be."

The Buddha patiently listened to the man. . .

My next problem is my domestic life, he continued:
"I'm married and she's a good wife… I love her, in fact. But sometimes she nags me too much. And sometimes I get tired of her."

The Buddha listened quietly.
"Also, I have kids," said the man. "Good kids, too… but sometimes they don't show me enough respect. And sometimes…"

The man went on like this, laying out all of his difficulties and worries.

Finally he wound down and waited for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right for him.

Instead,...

Continue Reading...

AIM-ing at happiness – where is your attention?

What you put your attention on will determine what you see and how happy you will be.

Really!

Your world, like mine, is full of beauty, compassion, kindness and heroism.

It is also full of cruelty, evil, disparity, disease and distress.

Where is your attention?

Continue Reading...

AIM-ing at happiness

We often say and hear the phrase "have a positive attitude" to be happy.

But do we understand what exactly having a positive attitude means and how do we practice having this positive attitude?

Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener in their book Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, also reiterate the necessity of a positive attitude in life as central to personal happiness and life satisfaction.

The authors use the acronym AIM to represent the basic components of a positive attitude that are necessary for happiness:

A: Attention
I: Interpretation
M: Memory

So, this week, let us work at improving our AIM at happiness.

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.