“Having feared death all of my life, now that I have confronted it, I no longer fear it. Had I during my life feared death as little as I do now, I would have dared more and better things.” Rex Winsbury (www.hospice.net)
Several years ago when I knew that it was time to make peace with death, I read this article by Mr. Winsbury who had spent some time in a hospice in England with an illness that was thought to be terminal. He eventually did recover, left the hospice and went on to lead a very active life. His thoughts caused me to wonder what was I doing or not doing in my life because of my fear of dying?
Recently a friend told me of being at a family gathering and feeling for the first time that she was insignificant and mostly invisible. There were younger people, many family members, who were discussing events with their children, events at their work place, as well as the latest 14’er they had climbed. (For those of you non-Coloradans, a 14er is one of the many Rocky Mountain peaks over 14,000 feet tall.) For the first time she felt almost insignificant and realized that the important events in her life were now quite different than many of her younger family members.
For a long time I have loved the Beatles’ songs. I first was introduced to them at a Peace Corps party in Turkey in 1965. They had just become famous in the US and it was fun listening to them in Istanbul. I had joined the Peace Corps to make the world a safer place and to serve under-served children. It was truly an inspired time.
After returning home and moving to Denver, I joined a group in the late 80’s called Beyond War. I truly believed that because of the threat of nuclear war, countries would begin negotiating disagreements as war was no long an option.
Now in 2016, we have growing numbers of under-served children all over the world, Turkey is in turmoil and war and killing is the plat du jour on the evening news. Underlying racial hatred is boiling over, resulting in frequent killings in the US and abroad. Our political climate is filled with attitudes and actions that we would not tolerate among our children of any age.
Keeping a journal is basically sitting down with a pen (or computer) and paper and writing about what is going on with you. It’s like keeping a diary. Rather than writing down just the events of the day, however, you wrap those events with feelings and thoughts-of what was real in them for you.
Journal writing began for me quite a few years ago when there were many confusing events going on in my life. I wanted to make sense of them. I started with and have continued to use an inexpensive spiral lined notebook from a local grocery. There were fancy journals in the Hallmark store but I found that they intimidated me. I didn’t feel the need to write every day but just when I was inspired to do so. The mere act of transforming my thoughts into legible words always provided me a sense of relief and joy.
After reading and researching for this article, I realized that when I wrote my book, I didn’t dig deep enough into the different aspects of passion and may have left readers feeling “hung out to dry” after reading it.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love, addressed this in a recent Super Soul Sunday talk she gave. She had often spoken about the necessity of finding your passion until she recently gave a talk in Australia. After her talk, she had gone back to her hotel room and read an email from a woman who had just heard her speak. This woman was very upset as she felt that she didn’t know what her passion was that Elizabeth’s talk had left her feeling very helpless.
I remember as I was getting older, I didn’t feel I had a passion. I responded to situations as they arose, but there didn’t seem to be a common thread. Sometimes I was interested in the arts, sometimes in politics, and I did love to plan trips and travel. You might say I was a dabbler.