As usual, time has flown by and most of us are off for the holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hunukkah or simply the winter season, this time of year provides us with a little extra time to reflect, or not, on what is most meaningful in our lives. If we look beneath the baubles and the bows, we can probably find some greater desire than that for the latest goodie on our wish list. One way to get in touch with what this greater desire is for you is to....believe it or not.....take a few moments to contemplate your death.
I know it sounds morbid, and very un-festive, but contemplating the end of our lives can actually help us live in the present more fully. If your willing to go out on a limb with this idea, you might try the following exercise (adapted from J. Forsyth);
Take a moment to find a quiet place and get as comfortable as possible. Now imagine that you're observing your own funeral. Visualize the room your funeral would be held in. Smell the fresh flowers. Hear the music in the background. Look around the room. Who do you see?
Perhaps you can see your loved ones, friends, family, relatives, coworkers, or neighbours. Listen closely to the conversations and what they are saying about you. What is your parter saying about you?....your kids?....Your best friend?....Your colleagues?....Your neighbour?
Listen carefully to each of them as they say the words that, in your heart, you most want to hear about yourself. This is how you want the people that you care about to remember you. Your wisdom will let you pick and choose exactly what you want and need to hear from them. Take a few moments to play out this scene in your mind and let the words of your loved ones sink in.
Now take a moment to take note of the comments you heard. How does the way you are living now fit, or not, the way you would like to be remembered. If we translate this concept to special occasions, we might reflect on what are priorities are, and how we are choosing to celebrate. For example, do you really need to run yourself ragged baking all twelve varieties of Christmas cookies? Do you wish for people to remember you as exhausted?
There are no "right" or "wrong" answers to our questions, but asking them can open our eyes to how closely we are living according to our deepest desires and values. If you do find there is a gap between what is most important in your life and how things look today, you might take a moment to write a list of things to "keep", things to let go of and perhaps things to add to your celebrations.
Hopefully we all have occasion to live it up for years to come. By living more consciously, we can more fully enjoy each celebration as they come into our lives.
Have a Happy and Safe Holiday!