In the past couple of months, I have heard from two friends who've been given the diagnosis of ‘terminal’. Their reactions were dramatically different. One is in denial, refusing to talk about it, and is suffering through rounds of chemo and all the side effects that ensue. The other responded with quite a different attitude. He said “I have somewhere between a few minutes and forty + years to live”. He made me laugh even though he was still digesting the news.
Having studied the mind-body connection for many years now, I learn something new every day. The one thing I know for sure is that our attitude about life, will ultimately dictate the ending to our story.
I can speak from experience because I lived a good portion of my life in irrational fear. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was hiding behind a myriad of masks. I wore different ones depending on what situation I was in. I had a work mask, many different social masks, and I became so comfortable wearing them, I began to believe my own false identity. If ‘they’ only knew what I was really thinking, they wouldn't like me. I could easily morph into whatever you wanted me to be. I was lost in a sea of deception.
Now don’t get me wrong, fear can be your friend. It will warn you against dangers, and can alert you when you know something in your body doesn't feel right. Fear can become your ally. It is an emotion and one that we all experience. It can jump start you to take action, or completely devour your spirit until you find yourself in a fetal position in bed. It all depends on your perception.
I had the privilege and honor to spend some time with a very good friend of mine who knew she only had a few months left to live. Once she moved past the fear of losing her life, she truly began to embrace everything, even the pain. She told me that she had left all her emotional baggage at the carousel, never to be claimed. That’s when I realized that life really is a precious gift, and every day we should be grateful for the opportunity to begin anew. Why was I spending so much time deceiving myself and other? I put all my masks in a backpack and left them at the carousel as well. Living authentically was the gift that she gave me. I am forever grateful, and dedicated a chapter to her in “The Wellness Code”.
The reality is, we are all terminal. As soon as we are born, we begin to die. Now I don’t say that to be morbid, but to jolt you into the mindset that you never know when your last day on this planet will be.
We get so engrossed in our stories, be it our past, or our future, that we never fully experience living right now. Give up the notion that you can have a better past. It isn't going to happen, so why continue to re-live it? Our future is shaped by our actions today, so it’s critically important that we show up. There is finality to the word terminal, but we all have a finite amount of days. I thank my friends for reminding me of that.
Each of us will have an ending to this story that we call life. The only person who ultimately gets to decide what that last chapter will look like, is you. Here’s to happy endings….