I had the opportunity recently to dive into a conversation with a Death Coach. (Yep, that’s a thing…turns out, looking at our fears around death can really catalyze living the life you really want.)
What she said was that in looking at death, and making decisions about how her clients wanted to do life differently, many people focused on their relationships with others. They want to be kinder, they want to share how they feel more often, they want to get less hung up on the little things.
And mostly, they want their loved ones to know how much they truly love them.
What would be left unsaid if you were to die today?
I don’t mean to be morbid, but really, what would you wish you had said to the people you love?
My dad will turn 93 next month. (Why I have a dad that’s so old is a story for another time, clearly.) He’s in great health, and is as feisty as anyone I know, but his death isn’t something I can pretend is in the very distant future anymore.
When that became apparent to me, two things happened. One, I had to find a way to work through pretending like every time I saw him would be the last. (That would have been too traumatic for both of us, and perhaps a bit overkill, no?) And two, I had to think through what I really wanted him to know, without a doubt, whether I had the chance to say goodbye or not.
There is no doubt in my mind that this man knows I love him, appreciate him, and that he has made a wonderful difference in my life (and continues to do so). And for me, I can live with that, even if I don’t get to say goodbye.
It might be something or someone different for you…but going through this process with my dad has allowed me to transfer this to other people in my life. I don’t leave any love on the table. I don’t wait for the right time, or just the sappy moments. I tell people how I feel when I feel it, and I’m thankful that the emotion I often wish to share is love.
So, it’s settled: just love people more.
Easier said, than done, right? And what about the rest of your life – your to do list, and the bills to pay? You can’t just lay around loving people all day.
What if I told you that the rest of your life isn’t what’s getting the way of you loving more?
What if I told you that you could go about your life in the same way with a whole lot more love, would you be willing to drop the thing that’s getting in the way?
Lemme guess. You want to know what that thing is before you’ll decide.
Well…since you asked.
You need to fire the sentinel that’s been assigned permanent duty to guard your heart.
You know the part of your heart that has been hurt in the past by family, friends, lovers, or even perfect strangers? Yeah, that part.
When you decided you didn’t ever want to feel that way again, you assigned a guard. You said, “Stand here, and don’t let anyone in, no matter what. It’s not safe.” Ok, you probably didn’t say that, but this reaction – without the words – is very typical.
And while this guard has been effective at keeping people and things out, it’s also keeping your love at a distance from the places you truly want to give it. (It may be helpful to think of this as the blood that flows to and away from your heart. If it’s not coming in, it’s not going out.)
Tap in to the softer places.
This doesn’t mean splaying your heart open for all to see. It’s more like giving it careful attention to making it whole and strong again, so you don’t need the guard anymore.
I wish I could tell you this is an easy three-step process, but everybody has a heart that’s traveled a different path. I can tell you that it involves shining light onto the dark parts. I can also tell you that when something feels dark to you, it’s hard to be the one to look at it with genuine light.
So, really, the only part of the process that’s straightforward is connection. Sharing your heart can heal it.
If you knew you were having your last conversation with someone, what words would you want to not be left unsaid? What needs to heal so you can bring more love into the everyday moments of your life, so there are no regrets?