Has this summer flown by for the rest of you? I can't believe I am writing a newsletter for August, time is moving so fast! With this theme, I wanted to write and explore haste in our lives. I have been listening to some great podcasts this summer and have come away with a deeper understanding of how "busyness" truly impedes our wellbeing.
In Buddhist teachings this pace of latching and grasping for something external is believed to lead to unhappiness. This doesn't mean not to have goals or strive for things, it means if we are continuously longing for something more we are missing the happiness that can occur right in this moment.
One podcast I recently listened to was about 'How Dying works' (I know it sounds morbid and I wouldn't necessarily recommend, but it's anatomically fascinating!). The hosts disclosed the 5 common regrets that palliative patients express to their nurses before they pass. Here they are:
The first is - I wished I lived a life that was true to me and not what was expected by others. This saddened me because I see this a lot in practice - people not happy with their career, partner, lifestyle choices...don't wait to make changes, you are worthy of living the life that lights a fire inside of you.
The second was - I wish I didn't work so much. This also saddened me because this has become a societal norm/expectation. We can't turn it off anymore. I think we should all explore how available we are and how that is affecting our mental health. In the end - is it worth it?
The third was - I wish I expressed more emotion. I love that this was one of them. Our emotional beings are at the core of our overall "well-beings". If our emotional state is out of balance, our physical state will follow suit. Speak up - whether it's asking for what you need, saying I love you, apologizing, whatever it may be - express yourself.
The fourth was - I wish I had stayed better connected to friends. This is one where we all let "busy-ness" excuse us from reaching out. You don't have to see someone to let them know your friendship matters. Send a text, email, call - let people know they are important to you even if time doesn't permit getting together.
The fifth (and most important in my opinion) was - I wish I had chosen happiness sooner. Happiness is a choice! Yes terrible, unpleasant and unplanned things happen, but choosing to be happy and grateful for what is currently present in your life is a choice. The hosts elaborated on this by saying that if the grass is always greener somewhere else, you are robbing yourself of your own life's potential for happiness. Starting a gratitude journal is a great way to get this in check - write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for. It can be as mundane as "I am grateful for the flowers on the walk to work" - anything that switches the psyche out of the 'latching and grasping' that Buddhist theology highlights.
I invite you all to look at these 5 common regrets and see where you align with them. If I can be of any assistance in helping you reach your goals of true well-being - please reach out!
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I hope that things slow down for you to savour the life that is uniquely yours!