Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Regrets of the dying.

So I came across this article a few days ago and finally got a chance to re-post. Needless to say, this is kicking my ass.



Regrets of the Dying - Bronnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. 

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five: 

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. 

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard. 

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. 

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle. 

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. 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. 

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win. 
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. 

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships. 

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise 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. 

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. 

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Me, Peter Drew and pixel face.

Thanks to the wonderful world of social media, I responded to a call for volunteers to have their image taken by local Adelaide street artist, Peter Drew.

I jumped at the chance. Having been an admirer of Peter's work in Adelaide for some time, the thought of being a part of one of his projects was a little exciting to say the least. I arrived at what could only be described as an artists version of a 16th century underground dungeon, filled with paint, brushes disused canvases and many other unnamed and unrecognizable things.

I sat on a mat on the floor, put the cube on my head and held a cube in my lap. Peter went click, click, moved about a bit, thanked me - and it was all over.

Check out the finished product below that is now a past up on a wall outside The Buff Club in Glasgow.

Check out The Buff Club HERE.

Other work in this series by Peter Drew

Previous work by Adelaide artist, Peter Drew.

It was and is a real thrill to be a part of some art work that traveled the globe to sit on some lonely alley way wall outside a club.

Visit Peter Drew HERE>



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Chat Show Blog

Hey check out this new blog 'The Chat Show Blog' - I got mad and shamelessly plugged all my own stuff. 

Check out the The Chat Show Blog HERE.

Thanks to Tim Ashdown - Word....



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Film review - Silver Linings Playbook

I love a film with no CGI. Further to that, I love a film that still hails to the old school philosophy that a good film rises and falls on strong characters, great writing, excellent acting and equally good direction.

Silver Linings Playbook is one of those films that Hollywood only produces about once a year as for most studios they’re just too risky. What they don’t understand however, is that a film about two main characters dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and bipolar is more relatable to the average person than most Hollywood productions.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gun Control v's Gun Violence

 It seems that in the world of US politics nothing stirs the loins of conservative liberals more than the phrase ‘gun control’ – ok except maybe abortion and gay marriage. I can’t imagine what it would be like for most Americans to be a part of this debate seeing your country fiercely divided over such an important issue.

Guns, it seems, strikes right at the heart of America. The gun control debate has raged for years despite the gun deaths of Presidents, children, soldiers, politicians and countless of everyday American’s who are subject to gun violence.

What interests me more, is the reaction from President Obama and the Democrats in trying to reign in the violence. Behind closed doors of the White House, in a room somewhere, Obama sat with Vice President Biden and his scores of advisers  to come up with a strategy to address this issue. I am thankful there were some communications professionals in that meeting. They came out with a strategy that included policies, meetings, new laws and community action. But under it all it was clear – “We’re talking about reducing gun violence, not gun control.”

Not once has there been a statement, or even an inkling that Obama was looking for ‘gun control’. Instead he is after reducing ‘gun violence’. What’s the difference? There’s a huge difference. Spin, and word selection play a major role in communicating en mass and the Obama camp is better at it than most. The term ‘gun control’ creates fierce opposition based on the pointless argument surrounding the US Second Amendment. Alternatively ‘gun violence’ suggests that there is room for healthy debate about the amount of injuries and death caused by guns in the US - one step closer to possible change. Will it work? Only time will tell.

One word can make all the difference. Ask the average person if they think the US should reduce gun violence and you will most likely get a ‘yes.’ Reducing gun violence is a good thing, making people safer is a good thing, keeping children free from harm is a universal good thing.

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. 
We all breathe the same air. 
We all cherish our children's future. 
And we are all mortal.” 

Talk about gun control – and things and people get ugly. When I see a news report of a ‘gun control’ rally on the steps of Washington, all I do is shake my head because most of them don’t get that words matter. Talk about reducing gun violence and you have a chance.

Healthy debate will always trump political bickering.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why I write.

I write because of an inner compulsion to tell stories. If I’m honest with myself I don’t particularly enjoy the process of writing. The reward is in the end result; when a story is over, when the characters are alive and no longer annoying my vacant thoughts. Finishing a story is like what I could only imagine a title fighter feels when winning a big fight with a stunning knockout victory. I stand back and look at the sentences, the phrases, passages, and pages as they whimper in the corner too tired to wrestle with me anymore. The process is exactly that, a big fight. From first thoughts, to ideas, to plots and conception, the first creation in my mind heralds many hours of unsettling work with the hope that the second creation will be as inspired as the original.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fight Club, Jack Nicholson and the skill of being ordinary.

I can’t help but think that we’re all destined to be ordinary. Ironically, to do ordinary well, takes an extraordinary amount of effort and skill. Why is there a cultural and societal pressure to live up to an expectation to jettison away from the ordinary and live large? To be successful, to reach your potential, to be all you were meant to be?

I was interested by a story a work colleague told me over coffee one morning at work. The night before, she had attended her son’s year 7 graduation. She told about how, during the ceremony, each student was asked what it was they wanted to be when they were older. To her dismay, almost ninety percent of the class said they either wanted to be a celebrity, a celebrities’ assistant, or a famous world class sports star. There were none who desired to be Scientists, Writers or Mathematicians. Now obviously, our desires and hopes change quite a bit from the age of 12 to adult hood – but an interesting thing is at work here. Not only is this a pretty accurate view of today’s youth culture, it also shows the lie and draw of celebrity and being ‘extraordinary.’