A Life or A Lifestyle/I’ve Done Everything that I’ve Come to Do

“It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross MD

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“In those days, a phrase kept coming in my head and didn’t let me sleep. Everybody keeps talking about the California Lifestyle. The question that came up was “Do I want a life or do I want style?”

~Nisha Srinivisan

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“I knew that it was coming,” she revealed. “He said it a couple of years ago. ‘I’ve done everything that I’ve come to do.’

~from an interview with Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson

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Yesterday I read two articles that were very meaningful to me and seemed to fit together. The first titled *Lessons from Living in Nature is the story of an East Indian couple who had high paying jobs in Silicon Valley and made the decision when their son was born, to move back to India, to live off the land and leave their high paying jobs and that lifestyle behind. *This article is very worth reading.

The second article I read….

prince-holding was an interview with Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson who talked about how she had been expecting her brother’s death because he had told her 2 years before that he was going to die soon, that he had done everything he came to do.

So I’ve been thinking about all this recently, looking back on my own life/life experience. At a certain age, I think most people do …there’s much more past than future. I remember a 96 year old man I interviewed for a project I was working on.alvin-copyHis name was Alvin Ivy and when I asked him about the future, he smiled and said “The future don’t look too bright anymore.” It was funny-he laughed and I laughed but it was true.

So I look back at my life, the choices I made..the choices I could have made..

LIFESTYLE

Growing up with my dad and my stepmother, we had a lifestyle [when I think of the word ‘lifestyle’, I think of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”…maybe the word means something more but that’s what I think of]

Anyway we had a lifestyle or actually my parents did, that involved belonging to several clubs….argyle eating at the best restaurants….food_wine living in beautiful places, houstonian-pooltraveling to Europe, Russia, Africa, sending all of us to private schools…the-hill-school and playing golf at country clubs in the US and the UK etc., etc.17th-hole-the-royal-and-ancient-golf-club-of-st-andrews

And this lifestyle worked for them for most of their lives…until they got older, when in her late 80s, my stepmother would often say to me “You’ve done so much and I’ve done nothing.”

MOTHER GRANDPON:EXHIBIT

Anne Lewis David, my stepmother at my Between Now & Forever event~ Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, Texas

Her lifestyle was no longer meaningful as death came closer, when my dad was in the nursing home and when most of her friends had died. And I thought then of this quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:

“To grow is the sole purpose of existence on this planet Earth. You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD

Elisabeth often talked about death as a graduation. jason breathing tube 2She did not believe that even babies or young children who died, died ‘before their time.’

“When we have passed the tests we are sent to Earth to learn, we are allowed to graduate. We are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD

johnnyAnd a patient we once took care of, a wonderful black woman who was dying of pancreatic cancer told us many times “When it is your time, you are goin’ !!!”

So for me, when I look back at the choices I made, I know I could have had pretty much the same lifestyle as my parents. But I made a very conscious choice when I was 28, a choice between 2 paths:  a life of ease with no worries about money, a life of luxury… or the survival of my soul, my spirit. If I chose a life of luxury, my body would live but my soul, my spirit would die and for me there was no middle ground. I knew I would have a hard road ahead-I was married then and I didn’t know how to do much of anything, didn’t even know how to write a check…but I chose the path my soul/spirit needed and when I had made the decision, I  remember that I went out and planted flowers.yellow-roses On this path I chose, there has been a lot of hardship..a lot and not much of a resting place but I have followed my intuition always and tried to do as Elisabeth said: “Always take the highest choice”.

This quote from Georgia O’Keefe has been very real and true for me:

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”

~Georgia O’Keefe

and this little poem, Elisabeth so often read at her workshops, has helped me many, many times:

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
~Guillaume Apollinaire

jim-gerri-jason

And this written by a friend who has lived with AIDS for nearly 30 years and whose brother, husband and 2 year old son all died of AIDS…. this is the way I understand LIFE:

“If I could relive my life and choose a completely normal life with no illness or death, I would choose my life today- without a doubt. The understanding I have gained far outweighs the option of living a normal life “

~Gerri Briggs

I’m posting 2 videos below, a video of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, “To Live Until You Die”. Elisabeth was my most important teacher for my work with death and dying and really my most important teacher about Life. If I had chosen the other path, the path of ease, I would never have met her or the many other teachers who helped me along the way. I would not have been able to do the work I have done and believe I was meant to do… and I would have wasted this lifetime.

I’m also posting a clip of Leonard Cohen “There is a Crack in Everything” because it’s beautiful and so relevant..to everything.

*If you appreciate this blog in some way or another and want to contribute in some way, you can go to my GOFUNDME  page or to  POOH’S STORE

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