It’s always good to be reminded of this once in awhile. If you did this task the first time it was posted (September 2011), try it again and see if anything has changed since then.
A couple of weeks ago, I asked you a question: How Do YOU Say Goodbye? This is an important question for you to consider because in every change or transition we undergo (and there are countless in our lifetime), the first step is an ending. Something has to end in order for something to begin. Grieving an ending, taking the time to really understand the loss of something, can make a huge difference in the way we embrace a beginning.
It has been said that every ending is akin to the death of something: a relationship, an era, a paradigm, to name a few.
So today, let’s look at the ultimate ending in any life time. The death of a physical body.
Oooohhhh, I know some of you are tempted to click the heck right out of this post. Not comfortable with endings? Or just this one in particular? You’re not alone. Consider yourself lucky that you can examine this ending right now and remember that analyzing the ending of something always allows you to benefit from a more conscious beginning of something else.
It might help to take a teeny tiny step outside of yourself for this one. Let’s imagine that you are actually NOT you, that you are a close friend of yours – someone who knows you quite well. This friend has the duty of writing your obituary.
Look at your life and write an obituary as if your life ended today. You can include all the typical details of your family, birth place etc. But the meat of it, the revealing part of this, is going to be how you fill in the following blank:
At the time of death, he/she was________.
How are you going to complete that thought? She was…stuck in a dead-end job? He was…living his dream life?
If you are totally uncomfortable writing this down, no worries. You will benefit from this exercise just by thinking about it. By the way, this exercise comes from William Bridges’ book Transitions but I’m sure we have all heard some variation of this. You know, like if today was the last day of your life, would you feel satisfied with your accomplishments/where you are to date – that kind of thing.
As you turn this around in your head, answer the following questions (in your journal, if you can – I’ll log them in Writing Prompts for you to refer to):
- Was it easy to fill in the blank?
- How did your response to the incomplete statement make you feel?
- If your response was not positive, what would you have LIKED to be able to say about your life at this point?
- What are some steps you can take to achieving this fulfilling state?
- Has this exercised changed something for you? Your outlook on your current life? Your relationships? The way you spend your time? Your thoughts?