One Year to Live

It is important that when we come to die we have nothing to do but to die.
—Charles Hodge

What would you do if you had but one year to live?

  1. Getting Your Priorities Straight
    • What would you do if you had but one year to live? Write as fast as you can whatever comes into your mind, without censoring anything. Write until you have completely exhausted all ideas.
    • Then look over your list and edit it in any way you need to, adding, deleting, or changing any items that you feel need to be adjusted.
    • Prioritize these items in terms of what’s really most important to you.\Ask yourself, “Which of the high priority items am I willing to take the time to incorporate into my life, and how much time am I really willing to commit?”
    • Set a schedule for yourself to accomplish each item that you have committed to.
    • Make the commitment public (share it with someone) and let that person know that you have (or have not) completed the task when the “due date” arrives.
  2. Do A Life Review: Imagine you are on your deathbed. Look back over your life. What stands out as the most significant/important?
  3. Heal Your Past: Who in your life do you need to forgive? Who do you need to ask forgiveness from? The resentment you carry is carried in your body/mind. It is killing you, not the other person. One never knows when one will die. Don’t wait until it is too late to heal your relationships.
  4. Owning the Little Deaths: Have you acknowledged that the organizational shifts, change of command, and loss of a mentor/supervisor and/or co-worker at work, the emancipatand, and loss of a mentor/supervisor and/or co-worker at work, the emancipation of a child, the movement into a change of lifestyle, and the waning interest of a lover or friend all constitute a living death in your life? Every little death in your life contains a lesson and a gift that can only be realized by allowing oneself to grieve the loss. Have you allowed yourself these opportunities for growth?
  5. Write your own epitaph, eulogy, and/or obituary.
  6. Plan your funeral.
  7. A Few Good Books:
    • Meetings at the Edge, Who Dies?, and Healing into Life and Death, all by Stephen Levine
    • Missing, by Donald Hall
    • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rimpoche
    • A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last, by Stephen Levine
  8. A Few Good Movies:
    • Resurrection, directed by Daniel Petrie
    • Wings of Desire, directed by Wim Wenders
    • Fearless, directed by Peter Weir
    • Ikiru (to live), directed by Akira Kurosawa

Self-surrender… takes away the fear of death because you have already died, you have died to you as the center of you.
—Curtis Jones