The Purpose Of Life: Live Like You Are Dying, Loving, Accepting And Healing What Is
“If I had an hour to live, I wouldn’t be calling anyone who owed me any money, or anyone who had wronged me in any way during my lifetime….With the time I have left, I choose to allow my thoughts to rest in total peace, right here, right now in this precious moment.” ~Richard Carlson
Have you noticed that the moment you or a loved one receives news of a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, Parkinson’s Disease or ALS, or a significant loss, so much in your life suddenly takes on a different meaning?
Instantly, you find yourself valuing time and everything else in your life in ways you could never have imagined. Suddenly, you find yourself discovering meaning in places, including relationships, which you had previously discounted. Perhaps, for the first time, you “get” what this experience known as “the journey of life” (your life) is really all about. And, even better, you know you are “getting it.
Country music artist Tug McGraw sings a song, “Live Like You Were Dying,” that is especially meaningful to loved ones (or those close to loved ones) who have been recently diagnosed with cancer or any other significant illness. Written when he learned that his father had been diagnosed with cancer, the song touched hearts everywhere. In fact, it secured the #1 position in country music in the United States for seven weeks. What I love about “Live Like You Were Dying” is that it reveals an immediate shift in perspective regarding what seems to matter or not matter after being told that you are dealing with a life-threatening illness or possible loss.
So often upon receiving unwanted and unexpected news concerning the possible shortening of our lifespan, we question the meaning of life or our life’s purpose, and this, in turn, leads to a stunning sense of clarity and intuitive knowing about these matters. For example, upon learning that he may be dying, the main character of Tug McGraw’s song wastes no time in engaging in activities he has always wanted to pursue, including skydiving, mountain climbing, fishing and bull riding. Even more significantly, knowing that life may soon end, he engages in faith- related matters, including reading the Bible and forgiving everyone. The listening public, as judged by their desire to hear this song, appears to recognize the truths that McGraw speaks for so many of us.
The Tibetan Buddhists have long known and advocated that life needs to be lived as though we are dying. This is something I share with my patients who are stuck in their attachments to issues, things, places and people which prevents them from fully living their lives. When you are aware that your time is limited, be it as a senior, a terminally ill person or someone about to lose a relative or friend, all the issues on which you focused that have kept you at a distance from your family and friends melt away. It is at these times that your valuable material possessions seem much less valuable– but people you love and care about are more precious than ever. Why is this? It has everything to do with Choice and your awareness of the power of Love. (To be continued)
Susan Barbara Apollon
©2010 Susan Barbara Apollon
p.s. For our seniors, please visit our Seniors 101 page where you will find a link for the Longevity Solutions Members Directory.