Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be Careful What You Want

Tucked-paw restorative yoga
As sometimes happens, a comment made on my blog inspires me as being wise, and something I should write about.  It comes to this:  things often don't go my way.  My way.  The way I like or plan.

Actually, this is very serious in our lives, it's not just about small stuff like getting into that pottery class or having to visit with a difficult person (who might just be a relative).  I've seen people be very stubborn about life and death their way, hang on to life, complaining that it isn't fair for them to die at this age, they don't want to die, they refuse to die.  This is how some people respond to a very bad prognosis, such as metastasized cancer:  I'm not going to let this beat me.  It is sad to be in a group with someone like that and see them try so hard not to accept the inevitable.

We are working on the big issue around here right now, having lost so many people to death the last couple of months.  We will be offering a course at our church in January based on the book Being With Dying. A lot of this will be about accepting our own mortality.  But I was going somewhere else with this that is probably connected a documentary we watched last night on Netflix that has me thinking.  It was called Happy.

One of the things I like about watching movies at home is that I can fool around baking cookies at the same time and making notes on my iPad.  I knew that happiness is not found through external goals, such as more- than-enough money, status, things, winning.  But what surprised me is that it depends on the kind of goals you have.  The big three are -
to help others
to grow personally, spiritually
to maintain close, connected relationships
This is so cool - the scientist who talked about this, Richard Davidson, turns out to be a long-time meditator, and friend of our beloved friend, The Dalai Lama, who himself appeared in this documentary, too, explaining how compassion is intrinsic in human nature.  That gives rise to the interesting possibility that you don't have to work on compassion - just vow not to get in your own way. 


  1. I watched my grandfather die at home, from simple skin cancer on his nose his refused to take care of that eventually grew into a tumor in his brain. He was 93 anyway, but he was not ready or willing to go. Having lost 85% of his money and business to the wife of his dead brother he screwed out of his fair share in their life long partnership in a court case. He left my grandmother with no will or trust and having to scramble in her aged single years while dealing with lung cancer. On the night before we going to have dinner, with her clothes laid out on a chair for the following day, she had a heart attack in her sleep and passed comfortably in her own bed was time. My mom found her in the morning, and she looked peaceful and like an angel. She sat with her, knowing it was on her time and she was ready. Consequently, my mom
    has never cried since about her passing, is prepared for her death with ease and planning. Yet, still not really present with it though.

    But I have heard that to meet a person who is comfortable and present with their own death is a life changing event.....I want to be that person.

    1. I have delayed posting this because I felt like I wanted to say something about it. But on rereading it, I can't add to it. This is an eloquent testimony. I'd like to be that person too, and I'd also like to be able to let a beloved one go with equanimity when it is their time, though at the same time I am always afraid of that happening.