Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative care nurse spent several years caring for patients who were in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their epiphanies on a blog called Inspiration and Chai and later in a book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. She writes about the incredible clarity of vision people have at the end of their lives and how we might learn from their wisdom.
Number one on the list of regrets was:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself not the life others expected of me.
Bronnie says, “This was the most common regret of all. When people realize 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. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
After reading this I felt thankful for my health and the freedom it gave to continue discovering, dreaming and building a life that was deeply fulfilling and aligned with my purpose. But did I had the courage required to live that life? Courage is defined as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere or withstand danger, fear or difficulty. What could I do to sharpen my courage? As I went through the next few days I looked for opportunities to show courage. I have to admit I didn’t find very many. The more I thought about the lack of opportunities the more I realized that the journey of fearlessly rediscovering one’s self is courageous in itself. Those who do are willing to lay themselves bare, to step outside routines, rituals, comfort zones and all things familiar and into the unknown. They were challenging beliefs, deleting those no longer valid and discovering new. They were willing to not know where they were going in order to find themselves. This was courage. There would be no regrets.
reACTION [to change in the response to stimulus]: Day 22-Inspiration and Chai
You can read more on Bronnie Ware’s blog.