I recently watched a documentary on TV called A time to live, a wonderful film with 12 different accounts of having a terminal prognosis and finding positives in life. When I mentioned this programme to some people they said they thought it would be depressing so didn’t bother watching it. It was only after I said how inspiring it was hearing these courageous stories that they too found it uplifting!
When it comes to my own views on death and dying, they may seem radical to some though similar to others. I think it comes from when you experience bad times you know what good is and to enjoy it. When someone you care for dies that is a reminder that life is short and to live it fully as they did.
A time to live brought up themes I have been thinking about and how anyone can make these changes in life to have a happier experience and better quality of life right now. I remember once reading a book called Moving on up, with stories of how people had moved forward in life. While these were great and inspiring, one theme they all had was something bad happen to each of them, whether it had been from cancer, time in prison or job loss. This I feel only has people focus on the bad fortune, circumstance and drama around death. I get why these were all put together, things are born from either inspiration or frustration and from catalyst moments a kind of re birthing happens.
Catalyst moments don’t just happen to those with cancer or any kind of disease, a cataylst is a person or thing that precipates an event. In my experience my catalyst moments have been working a job I hated being in and having depression gave me an oppotunity to express how I felt with art. Leaving a relationship that didn’t fully serve me gave me a new sense of freedom, appriciation for life and evolving creatively again.
From A time to live I’ve chosen six points that you can intergrate into life now, whether you are sick or healthy, disease is dis – ease in the body and we all want ease and en-joyment!
1. Not caring what other people think
Straight away, a women says ‘I used to care what people thought of me, know I don’t give a f**k’ this point was also brought up in the book Dying to be me by Anita Moorjani and really puts it into perspective that going outside of ourselves thinking what other people will think and having worries, will just create dis-ease for ourselves. A few years ago I started saying ‘I don’t care’ when it came to other people having their judgements over what I wore, where I was or did, if it feels right to me then that was good enough for me.
‘What another person thinks of me is none of my business’ – Wayne Dyer
2. Letting go of those you don’t serve you
Annabel Nnochiri is a good example of this from the documentary as after finding out her cancer had spread throughout her body, told she had 2 and half years to live she finally made the courageous move to leave her husband of 28 years and live life on her terms. Leaving a relationship that was no longer serving led to living more, painting, salsa dancing and travelling. Were these massive changes what led her to live 5 years on? I think so. From my own experience, I am living proof you can leave someone you love as the relationship no longer serves who you are now as a person and come out the other side happily and in better health.
3. Be more healthy now
This may sound like an obvious one but out of everyone Louise looked radiant and glowing, despite having a terminal illness. Louise says in her interview how she makes lots of juices, has turmeric, is vegan and so on and you can tell! It really showed, she was bountiful and beautiful. I’m not saying we should all go vegan and eat salads all day, though one way to get the most out of your day is to eat for your vitality.
4. Bring more tranquillity to life
I liked the clips of Cindy in her home in the city and her cottage in the country both featured her playing the soothing sounds of a crystal singing bowl, she went on to talk about Buddhism and mindfulness practices have really helped her have more peace in life. Meditation, yoga, being in nature all benefit us in some way and can be added to life easily.
‘Nature is implusive.To be implusive is to be fully alive’ – Marty Rubin
5. Be here now
I liked Lisa’s views on being present and the strong woman she is for her daughters ‘Your futures yours, all I can do is be here now’ and how she noticed the brightness and beauty of people in her life as well as stepping back and noticing if what she was thinking or doing was serving herself or anyone and making changes when they weren’t. Life is now – that’s reality, as author Byron Katie would say. When we are in the present we are at peace and from there we can all grow great things!
6. Do things instead of talk about them
This was brought up and is obvious and you often read ‘since my diagnosis we’ve had more fun than ever’. While I understand I also think – don’t wait for a diagnosis to do stuff you really want to do! Just do things. Show up, have fun, be free and stay open.
After watching Dieing to be me I wanted to do something different in my own life. I wrote in my journal a Living list – a list of fun things I’m doing in the month or to book/plan for. Like a bucket list but with a focus like the film, on living.