A life well lived

One of our speakers at the library last week, John Baugher, has a new book coming out about the joy of end-of-life care. I’m certain I’ve never heard anyone speak about end-of-life as being a joyous time. Most of us face end-of-life care, for ourselves or for others, with a certain amount of dread. But John’s decades of working with hospice have left him feeling otherwise.

But John’s talk didn’t center on the end of life. It centered on a life well lived. And not as a reflection – but as a daily practice. His question was:

“Was your life well lived – today?”

So what does it mean to have a life well lived? We’re all different on this one. Is it time spent doing your best work? Time spent with friends and family? Time spent on art? Time spent traveling? Time spent discovering? Time being joyous? Time being compassionate and caring?

Here are some ideas from our group discussion to help you ponder your own life well-lived ideas.

  • Be mindful – not as a fad or a sometimes thing, but as a core ethic, as something that’s part of who you are.
  • Pay attention with all of your senses, and stay in each moment you experience.
  • Work on having a “softening of a hardened heart,” of feeling open-hearted compassion for those around you.
  • Be aware of and curious about things that are around you, including yourself, others, and how things work. And be non-judgmental about all of that.
  • Tune into nature.
  • Practice having a flexible mind. How can you think differently? How can you act differently from what you expect of yourself?

It’s both a gift and a responsibility to be clear about who you are and what you want to get done in the world, cause once you decide, it’s time to change habits. To focus. To speak up and take action.

If you want a life well lived, what can you do today?

John’s book won’t be out until next April. I’ll be one of the first to read it and you know I will post about it here!

I’ll close this with the glorious Maine sunrise – photo thanks for the wonderful photographer Tracy Newman Carroll. Thanks, Tracy! Someday soon I will be out running again at sunrise!

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I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future posts!



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