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I have seen myself evolve with different experiences, environments and people. There were certainly some seeds of my character planted by my parents, but as life has changed difficult decisions have defined me. Sometimes those have been simple decisions e.g. I can't let that happen. We are faced with these decisions reguarly, and many people do the right thing. THE RIGHT THING
The movie that best symbolises this type of decision to me is the true story of Michael Oher in The Blind Side. A woman who took in a young boy off the street and they changed each others lives.
NO BEST WAY
My sister's keeper is a predicament where there is no right decision. Do I donate my bone marrow to save my sisters life, or do I say no to let my sister live her life.
WHO AM I
These decisions get to the crux of people defining Who Am I? The Pursuit of Happyness is such a film where regardless of the challenges integrity is important. Will Smith reminds me of my dad "don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something" and "if you want something go get it period"
WHO ARE WE
Who am I is just a cellular level question, and we act in an organism. Who are we is more complex, as we are affected by the actions of others. We have different agenda's and pressures. A community can be divided or come together in the definition of who are we. The "I" and "We" are connected. A person may have to stand up for what they believe in, and influence a community to take action. This kind of decision can be seen in Erin Brockovich's true story.
WHO IS THE COMPANY/COUNTRY?
Finally multiple communities can make up an organisation or country. A person may need to affect decisions by influencing members, and that can be done directly or indirectly. A person would need to think through the impact of actions, key players and also stay true to what defines them.
The Last King of Scotland is an extreme example of how a doctor reflected on his morals and saw Idi Amen for who he really was, took personal accountability and put his life in danger in the process.
These movies are just to illustrate the type of decisions we make. At these critical points in life it is important to remember who you are, what you stand for as a community and who the company or organisation is. Many of them are true stories, and show just how much a defining moment can have on other peoples lives.
What if we had our time all over again. This touching synopsis of the Top 5 Regrets of Dying People by Bronnie Ware. Bronnie worked in Palliative care and recorded the most frequent five regrets in the elderly as:
- I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.'This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.'
- I wish I hadn't worked so hard.'This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.'
- I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.'Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.'
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.'Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.'
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.'This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.'
How do we better manage our energy in an increasingly busy and hectic world. There are more rules and regulations in our society which means we have to complete taxes, forms, censuses. Technology has advanced and enhanced our lives in so many ways, and at the same time we increasingly have more email and messages to deal with. Kids are great (I Love Mine), and we stretch our time between kids, family and friends. These are just some of the challenges of modern day life. So what do we do:
1. De - Clutter
I am reading a lot currently on mindfulness. It interests me, but intrigues me as there is never just a one size fits all. For some people it may be best to focus on one thing and do it well, for others it may be two or three. My number is five if I ever take on more than five it does not work. My five are : Husband, Children, Work whatifpa, Learning (Doctorate) and Yoga. Sometimes people do amazing things multi-tasking. This may be an unpopular thought in the current trend of mindfulness. However, just look at the true story of Erin Brockovich she took on a Goliath of a lawsuit. Yes she went through challenges as she was stretched between her children, her partner and her career; but what a difference she made!
I had to remove other things from my life because they over zapped my energy. So sit down and write a list of everything that you do, and include things like your friends or your husband if you are married; after all they are important. Then think about what is really important to you. What ever is not important drop it. It is not a failure to lose it, and in fact can turn into a positive. When I dropped being Netball captain I had done my turn for 2 years, and moving on left space for another person to breath their ideas and more energy into what is now a flourishing club. Refine your list until you have what you feel is balance.
2. Your World
Do not live in constant comparison to anyone else. This is a waste of energy. It does not matter what anyone else does, says or thinks. This should not be mistaken for arrogance, but the point is if people are looking for constant gratification from others it only zaps energy. Everyone has flaws, issues and problems. Just deal with what you can affect.
I practice yoga regularly because of it's restorative properties. There is no best form of exercise. The secret is to pick something that you love and want to do without having to battle to build up motivation to practice. I love Tony Sanchez's Yoga because with 2 children I can do it from home, and fit it around my busy schedule.
Speak to people that can be your friends, or your family if you are feeling affected by an issue. Bottling up worries or concerns can drain you.
Outsource chores like cleaning or gardening if you can, so you have the energy to do the things you love.
6. Utilise Technology
Utilise technology to simplify your life, get things done quickly and surround yourself with the people who give you energy. For example, I love online shopping as it reduces the time I have to spend going around the shops and takes minutes compared to hours. Long gone are the days when I would spend the whole day "down town shopping." Now I am happy to be in a nice pub garden where I can do the 11.00am feed for my son, and my daughter can run around playing. When I do have to go to the shops on the weekend the baby sick, inadequate changing facilities and the difficulty of actually trying clothes on with a toddler is not something that I miss.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0ftkL6qhT8 True Story of an inspiring woman
With age comes wisdom. Regina Brett has shared 45 lessons that she has learnt in the Plain Dealer newspaper, Cleveland, Ohio. Reading her column helps to put what is important in perspective. The urban legend is that she is 90, but in fact she is a lot younger but never the less wise.
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written".
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August 2010, so here is the column once more:
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take NO for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time does NOT heal everything. Give time time to let some love heal you.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.