What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?
Have you thought about what you want to do before you die? Have you thought about the fact that you are going to one day die?
Throughout my life, I have often said that we are only guaranteed the current moment, so we should embrace it. That thought helps me to stay present and appreciate what I am experiencing. I believe it is also one of the things that has helped me to not fear death.
We spend so much of our time thinking about the future...planning for the future. What if you take a moment every day to think about the now? What if you take time every day to be fully present?
What if you take a moment every day to remember that you are going to die?
I recently listened to the NPR podcast, Rethinking Death. Per the podcast, “It's hard to accept that everyone eventually dies. How can we better understand death as a part of life? In this episode, TED speakers contemplate the end of life with wisdom and humor.” The podcast consists of five stories of which I plan to share further in various blogs.
Today, I want to share more on Guy Raz’s interview with Candy Chang, artist and founder of the Before I Die art project.
After the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one, Candy found herself contemplating death a lot. And as she shares in her Ted Talk, this made her feel deep gratitude for the time she’s had and brought clarity to the things that are meaningful to her life. Yet, she admits that she struggled to stay in that mindset due to day to day life. She decided to create a space for others in her New Orleans neighborhood to share their thoughts on what they would want to do before they die. This gave her community the opportunity to stop and contemplate death. It gave them an opportunity to reflect on life.
“Death itself isn’t negative. Death just is. And death is going to happen to all of us.” ~ Candy Chang
Candy’s wall made such an impact that people began to reach out to her to create a Before I Die art wall in other cities and communities. Today, there are over 2,000 walls around the world. To learn more about the Before I Die art project and create your own, click here.
It may sound a bit strange at first, but allowing yourself to contemplate your death may bring you more appreciation and joy in the life you live. You may find that you live in the moment more. And that you do the things that bring the most meaning to you and others.
I recently read an article in the New York Times about the app, WeCroak. The app is meant to bring about mindfulness. Each day, it sends five reminders at randomized times on your smartphone to stop and think about death.
The reminder states, “Don’t forget, you’re going to die.”
Per the website, the concept is based on a Bhutanese folk saying that to be a happy person one must contemplate death five times daily. I signed up for the app after reading the article and enjoy receiving the reminders. Each time it pops up on my iPhone screen, I take a moment to breathe in the thought that I am going to die, to recognize that I can only live in THIS moment, allow joy to fill my heart, and I often genuinely smile and sometimes even chuckle.
The reminder of death need not be sorrowful, but can instead help us cope with difficult moments by offering a bigger perspective, or just put a smile on your face! To learn more about the WeCroak app, click here.
“There seems to be much less suffering for those who live in the wholeness that includes death. Not a morbid preoccupation with death but rather a staying in the loving present, a life that focuses on each precious moment.” - Stephen Levine
I encourage you to take a moment today to contemplate your life. Take a moment and breathe in the thought that THIS is the only moment you are guaranteed. How can you make the most of it?
What do you want to do before you die?
For me, there are a few things. I want to write and publish a book titled, Finding Beauty in the Contrast of Life. I want to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to floor and raft the Colorado River. I want to visit Thailand. I want a true, unconditional, loving, beautiful intimate partnership. I want to help others find beauty in every aspect of their lives.
Most of all, when I get to the end of my life I want to know I fully lived every day and was always present in the now.
Please share with me what you want to do before you die in the comments section below. Let’s make this blog our art wall!
“Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.” ~ Candy Chang