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Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Regrets?

Uploaded: Mar 28, 2014
Here's a follow on to my last piece about focusing on today, and not waiting until tomorrow, which never comes. I received an article that was written by hospice worker Bonnie Ware; she lists the Top Five Regrets of The Dying (which is now a book: www.hayhouse.com/the-top-five-regrets-of-the-dying).

Here's the list without her detailed explanations:

"1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier."

Maybe there are others wishes you would have for you own list.

Consider writing a list that is not of regrets, but of a plan of how to live, for as long as we each have. Here's an example, based on Ware's list; add your own:

1. I have the courage to live a life true to myself and my marriage that is filled with integrity.
2. I work hard enough and engage in life with those around me.
3. I express my feelings and listen and give empathy as others express their feelings.
4. I spend quality time with my friends and loved ones.
5. I let myself be happy and leave happiness in my wake.

Comments

Posted by Erin, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Thank you for this. I would add "be present with your loved ones/ try to not be distracted in quiet moments." I regret not trying to still myself more.


Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 7:32 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Erin, you're welcome. Being present is, for many, a spiritual practice (meditation). We can be present in small ways (while driving, feel our hands on the wheel; walking to the mailbox and noticing what we see in detail, do we hear birds, leaves rustling, the train whistle; while exercising, we can feel our heartbeat, our sweat on our skin; as we listen to those talking with us, we can make eye contact, sync our breathing to hers . . .).

Small steps.

I like to ask myself, "Where am I right now?" It brings me to the present. Maybe I have to ask myself this question 10 or 50 or a 1000 times a day to keep coming back to this moment.


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