Bronnie Ware, a longtime Palliative Care Specialist who cares for people in the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives, documented the regrets of the dying.
Their #1 regret is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”.
I’m sure you can share a collective sigh with me when you hear the sadness in that…a sigh of despair for the dying with no more time, a sigh for yourself that is shaded by the fear that “I hope this won’t be me”, or an even more defiant sigh that signals “I vow this will not be me”.
But the reality is most people will acknowledge this tragic truth and still likely end up dying with the same regret.
In my work, I vow to support women in reaching a business and life of fulfillment and freedom and not regret…living a life that is at least “half a shade braver”, borrowing a phrase from poet and author David Whyte.
I know that’s the better choice for me…to live a brave, fulfilling life.
Is it for you?
This also brought to mind an obituary I read recently on the actress Cicely Tyson, who died at the age of 96 after a lifetime of playing roles on stage and screen that were her civil-rights statements. Roles that she shaped into acts of advancing human rights.
As written in The Economist, “defiance came naturally, as a black woman in a world where black misery was largely ignored and black beauty dismissed. Consigned to a typing pool when she left school, she walked out, declaring that God did not intend her to bang on a typewriter for the rest of her life. In search of a modeling agency, a path that saw her face in Vogue as well as Ebony and Jet, she sent her photos all over New York, and did not care when her mother threw her out for it. Hired in a small way in the late 1950s for feature films and off-Broadway, she soon put her foot down. There were roles she approved of, and roles she would rather starve than take.”
Ms. Tyson lived a brave life. A life dedicated to rising above the obstacles inherent in systemic racism that were put in her way, breaking the stereotypes of roles given to black actresses and showing that she, through her signature defiance and choices, would find a way to show the strength and true values of her race while at the same time fulfilling her own dreams.
It’s not an easy path, and yet for those committed to living a life true to themselves, it’s the only path.
A path filled with clear choices and courageous action.
This is what I call living life “half a shade braver”.
Quote of the Week
People living deeply have no fear of death.
~ Anaiis Nin
With heart and brilliance,