"Do not choose marriage!" might sound fresh coming from a woman whose blogs seem to centre around her marriage and children more than her art!
Apologies for those who are here for the art because HOO is an art gallery.
Could I make a small confession here? I write this blog for my kids. But I hope that you will enjoy it too! I had hoped that my children will refer to it in the future, to get a sense of their mother's voice. Perhaps they will glean some wisdom or learn from my mistakes. If I don't always write about art and you are here for that, I will apologise to you now. Okay and with that been said, let us get back to my marriage! My marriage appears happy because it is happy. I don't write or depict anything that isn't an authentic slice of our reality at home. They (my children) would know if any of it ain't right! So I keep it real.
My husband and I, although legally married, prefer not to have a marriage. Instead of marriage, we choose to have a spiritual partnership instead.
I came across the concept of a 'spiritual partnership' when I saw a conversation between Gary Zukave and Oprah. I can't post it here, but you'll be able to watch it on Youtube or buy his book. One fundamentally important idea shared was that two people who come together in a marriage should be prepared to risk it all, rock the boat, lose the relationship by being honest with each other. Telling the truth to each other should come at all times, not in the heat of an argument but when you are in love & in times of peace.
I hope that one day this blog post helps my children to build a happy relationship with their chosen soul mate, and I hope that you dear reader can glean from it, what you may.
I would like you to read and ponder on the following gem of a find. It is especially important message as we face an uncertain future with the COVID-19 pandemic still at large. Please pay special attention to Number 3: I wish I had the courage to express my feelings, as it relates to spiritual partnerships.
Top 5 Regrets of The Dying by Bronnie Ware
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. 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.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn't work 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.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. 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.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. 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.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. 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.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Bonnie Ware is the author of the new book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Visit her official website Inspiration and Chai to purchase the book.
On a departing note (no pun intended) Steve Jobs, in 2005, said during his Stanford Commencement, asked that the young graduates live their life like it is their last day on earth. If so, won't you want to be spending that day with your spiritual partner? Are you one half of a spiritual partnership, or would you like to have one? It starts with one crucial requirement: HONESTY.