It’s hard to be cheerful after hearing of 3 people passing away within the same week.
The first was a female doctor I had known through work and whom I admired so much. She was the most kind and friendly doctor I knew who really cared about her patients. I loved visiting her, even though for work, and missed the long friendly chats we had. She was 53. The second was just a client at work, an elderly woman who irritated me and was very demanding and yet whose resilience and inner strength I admired. The third was an old friend of mine who was exactly my age. We lost touch years ago when she moved abroad, but kept in touch through Facebook and met briefly a few months ago when she was in between chemotherapy treatments. She was always smiling, she loved life, was passionate about everything and achieved so much. She was happily married with two beautiful children. The last time we met, she never mentioned her illness and never complained.
All 3 lost their battle with cancer.
It’s at times like these I realize how short life is. I know this is a cliché and an expression we all learn in our early years, but now its true meaning stands out. My fear of death has increased over the years. When I was young I was carefree and just lived day by day thinking I am going to live for ever. At the time when I was battling depression I also wasnt afraid to die, because the thought of living was too scary. This all changed when I had my daughter. With the birth of my daughter came this enormous weight over my shoulder and the fear of death hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly 2 thoughts became prominent in my mind: Fear of losing her, and fear of dying and leaving her motherless. I think this fear I will never be able to shake off.
When people die around me, these thoughts haunt me for days. I get depressed again, but this time I don’t want to die, instead I cry because I want to live and I realize how precious life is. A feeling of panic comes over me because I start to think of all the things I never achieved, all the places I still want to see, all the happy moments I still want to share with my family. And that’s when I realize that I spend too much of my time living in the future. When we live in the past (like I did very much throughout my previous marriage and divorce) or in the future (only thinking about what to do next and what we wish) we miss out on the Present. And the Present is the only reality because the past is gone and the future hasn’t happen yet, and when it does happen it wont be called Future, it will be Present. I have decided to try harder to focus more on the Present, where life really is.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make Now the primary focus of your life….Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment” Eckart Tole
Many of us tend to try to keep the past alive because without it, who are we, really? Many of us believe our happiness is in the future: one day when we get that job or find the right person, or make enough money, then we will be happy or at peace. But we can only find happiness in the Now. And if we accept this it is to our advantage because we will never have any regrets. It’s not easy to live in the Present. Practicing mindfulness can be very helpful in this respect, and it’s something I am working on.
As his holiness the Dalai Lama says, the purpose of our existence is to seek happiness. So death now reminds me not to waste time in wasteful thinking. We cannot dwell on sadness and regret. We cannot keep thinking about all the things we don’t have. We have to learn to appreciate what we DO have. Also, when we are striving to reach a goal or when we see something we desire, we should ask ourselves “will it bring me happiness?” …Because sometimes we think we want something and then once we achieve it we realize that we are still not happy. One can also train the mind to be happy. We all want to be happy. But we cannot wait for someone or something to make us happy, we have to find it inside us. Just like they say in the Trolls movie. There are many ways to do this but we can start by Giving. Being kind, compassionate and giving to others is one way to feel happy ourselves.
This is a very complex topic to discuss here in my quick blog, but I just had to put my thoughts to paper because I have decided that life is short, and the best way not to have any regrets is to be happy in the Present. So today let’s go out there and love ourselves and love the world. Let us try to be happy because Today is all we have!
“Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it” Dr Seuss