Bonnie Ware, a palliative nurse in the UK made the headlines earlier this year with her book, The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. I have to thank Was Once, one of my Dharma blogger friends for forwarding me the link to Bonnie's website, and inspiring me to contemplate those 5 top regrets:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I went down the list and checked, am I living my life wisely?
Yes, I do live a live that is true to myself. This was not always the case. It's took me thirty some years before I even knew what my true self was, and a few more thereafter to live a life in accord with that knowledge.
No, I am not very good when it comes to having balance in my work. I still haven't quite figured out the difference between passion, work, and driven-ness. And I know I would do well to work less, and spend more time to just sit and practice being present.
Feelings used to scare me, but that was a long long time ago.
I probably could carve out more time for my friends. And at the same time, I am very aware of the preciousness of making time for loved ones. And I try . . .
Number five is not so clear cut. Letting oneself be happier is not that simple. I have found there is a big difference between intending to be happy, and actually being happy. It is not that easy letting go of the mind habits! With mindfulness practice however, the clinging gets to be lesser and lesser, and fear, and anger are no longer so compelling. I feel so grateful for my practice.
How does your life measure up to Bonnie's list? What do you need to change to make sure you will not end with big regret(s)?