Friday, 16 December 2011

I Had The Strangest Dream Whilst Taking a Catnap

I had the strangest dream whilst taking a catnap during working hours.

Next to my bed was a carpeted seating area with lots of cushions. Outside of this was a small flat roof which was overflowing with rainwater although it seemed to me there had been no rain recently and it was pleasantly sunny. The rainwater did not go down the drainpipe presumably because it was blocked by leaves and I had not cleared the blockage. Instead the rainwater was coming into my bedroom via a ventilation brick. I saw the water which was a couple of inches deep and was moving the cushions away when I heard a sound in the adjacent store room.

I found there a workman and asked him what he thought he was doing and how had he got into my house? He replied, “Well, I’m working with Mark.” Mark was a carpenter who specialized in marquetry. I had hired him to do some decorative woodwork in my living room. At that point, Mark walked sheepishly into my bedroom, apologized that he had not told me that the other man would be there and he had used my key rather than first check whether I was at home.

Suddenly, I heard my son laughing and playing in the garden and remembered that he had a friend with him. I looked out of the window and saw them running out of the garden down a side road. I called out to him but he did not hear. I left the workmen and ran after my son and his friend.

At the bottom of the road were ordinary houses but today the area had been transformed into an outdoors convention of The Salvation Army, the people who wear uniforms and play religious music and preach the Gospel. They can often be seen in town centres around Christmas when people give them money for the poor. In fact, I saw a TV commercial for them yesterday hoping to raise money for families who could not afford to buy any Christmas presents, let alone the ones their children really wanted. Meanwhile my children will receive an excess of LEGO and other toys which they want.

There were some stands set up providing drinks and food for these people but not the loud, garish burgers and chips type of stalls. They were serving plain warm English food like stew and bowls of soup.

This chain of events is symbolic to me. First, I was sleeping during working hours. On the one hand I know I should not have been doing this although I accept that a short sleep is better than a couple of coffees when tired. I know tonight that I have two hours of driving and an evening of networking so want to be refreshed.

I thought it had been sunny and had not noticed the rain which was now overflowing. There is a financial crisis on which I tend to think of affecting other people, not me, due to my mindset. At the same time I am dipping into capital rather than doing the necessary work to create income through different sources.

I was spending money on decorative work rather than ensuring the foundations were strong ie allowing the flooding to happen by not clearing the drainpipes. Beauty is a high value of mine and I like to look at beautiful things. Sometimes I fail to see the reality because I am so focused on what I want to see.

My son and his friend were alone yet I was responsible for them both. Why was I sleeping instead of supervising them? I am often doing my things but not being there for my children, especially my younger son, as the older one receives more attention through help with his school studies.

The Salvation Army were gently, in a non-intrusive way, reminding me of my soul, my spiritual side.

All very vivid and clearly lots of messages.

©Antonia Harrison 2011 from Personal Development in the 21st Century

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Top Five Regrets of the Dying

I saw this article about a a powerful book by a wonderful woman named Bronnie Ware which focuses in on the actual voiced regrets of people she encountered when they were dying. Powerful stuff – go and pick up the book! Here’s a small excerpt:

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.


P.S. Did this article stir something in your soul (like it did with mine)? Let’s talk. I’ve worked with many clients who have the same questions — and we developed a successful plan to turn that around. If you’re not a client . . . pick up the phone and call me. You can find me at

article by Rich Gee