Thursday, November 6, 2008
This morning while out for my morning walk I listened to the music of Josh Groban. Typically when I hear him sing the song You Raise Me Up, I feel particularly happy to be alive. Today was no exception. Although, today it made me think about death.
What was different about today's inspiration was that I imagined this song being sung at my memorial service. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about death nor am I afraid to die. I'm in perfect health, which is probably the best time to plan one's memorial service since your mind is clear and focused. It's also fun to think about the impact I would like to have on those that attend.
So, at the risk of ruining the surprise if you, the reader, should outlive me and be attending, this is the basic plan formulating in my mind right now:
The Memorial will be held outdoors if weather permits ( I don't want the attendees to be uncomfortable). I will try to die sometime between May and October; Decorations will be colorful and lively.....Flowers will be wild ones from fields or friend's back yards. There will be lots of food around....probably in the form of my favorite appetizers , which will easily allow for mingling amongst the guests. Of course, there will be a nice selection of wines, plus juices or cider for my tea-toddling friends. A lovely array of desserts will also be served....most of which will be chocolate.
As people mingle, sharing funny stories of experiences they shared with me, there will be numerous articles of memorabilia and pictures of me with many of those that are gathered. The general feel of the event will be joyful with many tears.....of laughter mostly.
After a suitable length of time that all gathered have eaten their fill and have met their fellow attendees, the M.M.C (Master of Memorial Ceremonies) will ask the guests to be seated. A general overview of my life will be shared. What some may believe to be my greatest accomplishments will not get any more air time than the simpler things in my life that I enjoyed completely.
The M.M.C will also share my personal message for all gathered. The essence of which would be about living each day fully with no regrets....to give of your gifts to serve others, while creating joy for you.....to stretch beyond what's comfortable......to be grateful for everything......to find something to love in everyone (especially you).....to never stop learning.....to forgive everyone that ever hurt you.....to enjoy everything you do.......to accept all that is......to never give up hope......to dream beyond what you ever thought possible......and to eventually die smiling with gratitude for every adventure along the way.
Following this message, Josh Groban will sing or if he's busy that day, a recording can be played. The final song for this piece of the Memorial will be the Hokey Poky....since that is what it's all about. Naturally, all present will participate with the appropriate movements.
For those that want to continue to celebrate my life, there will be music and dancing until night falls and everyone says good-bye.
(Sounds like a fun farewell, doesn't it? Well, consider this post your invitation... If you're interested in being the M.M.C., contact me soon.....just in case)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Last evening, my husband and I gathered with friends for a pizza/election-watch party. Although our hosts made it clear that all guests were welcome regardless of their political party or candidate preference, all present were supporters of Barack Obama.
It was great fun to share in this event with friends that have the same hope for change for our country that my husband and I hold. I imagine our gathering was a microcosm of our nation with people from all backgrounds gathered in living rooms everywhere, feeling the same sense of connection and hope.
With many traditional Republican cities and states supporting Barack Obama, it is clear that our new president elect was able to inspire people across party lines. His message of HOPE, and yes.....a strong focus on working together to meet our country's goals, touched people of all colors and ethnic backgrounds. He has inspired us to believe our country can solve it's current financial and health care crisis, preserve the environment, become energy independent and can end war as a way of life, moving us closer to a world of peace and prosperity for all.
I believe Barack Obama's win was due to his ability to inspire the majority of American people that with hope we can create change.....with hope we can come together as a country and be stronger than we have ever been before.....with hope we can mend old wounds and give birth to new possibilities.
When hope is lost, belief in change disappears and people give up. It is clear the U.S. is not a country giving up, but rather one that is taking a huge step into a new era of truly being united.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In the spirit of what may be the most noteworthy national election of my voting life time, I am reminded of my lack of desire to follow a script for my life.
In following the campaigns of our candidates, I have noticed that speeches obviously being read from a script vs. those that are spoken in the moment have a vastly different impact on me, the voter. Being a listener, I am opening myself to not only hear the information being shared in the form of promises, programs and plans, but also to feel the heart of the speaker. In my view, Barack Obama, was able to convey that sense of authenticity, without question. Even if I may not have agreed with every plan, there was a very natural connection and inspiration that came through his words, because they were his in the moment. A side effect of this authentic connection was that there would be room for disagreement and peaceful compromise.
Yesterday, I volunteered at the Obama/Biden Campaign office to make phone calls encouraging people to vote and to offer a ride to the Polls if needed. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to be handed a script to read. I understand that a script in this venue is the easiest and fastest way to share the needed information, yet when I looked it over before making my first call, I gulped. I wondered how I could last 3 hours reading this script and not just be myself in conversation.
After doing my script homework, I made my first call. Thankfully, it was a machine that answered. Somehow reading the script to a machine, didn't bother me as much as the dreaded anticipated live person on the other end of the phone. As I moved through my list, many of my calls turned out to be automated listeners, which seemed perfect for me, the automated speaker.
Once I was about half way down my first page of contacts, I had a live person on the other end of the line. I took a deep breath and began to read the intro of "Hello, my name is ____________. How are you today?" Without any warning, my authentic voice took over. I found myself, just talking....basically sharing the same information in the script, but it was being said my way. I understand many volunteers needed a script to do this job, but for me, breaking free of it, began to create some fun for me in the process of making these calls.
I enjoyed engaging with the people that would speak with me. I didn't get upset with those that hung up on me. It was enjoyable to simply share the importance of sharing our voice in this election by voting.
So what does that have to do with living life? For starters, living a scripted life that someone else wrote for you can be very uncomfortable. It may not be a fit or a match for who you are. It may feel like you are playing a role, rather than being authentically present with the unfolding story of your life. Living a scripted life can eliminate the exciting unknowns that can create a stimulating and joy-filled experience. Living by a script is limiting you to a one dimensional plane and sacrifices your gift of creating in the moment, trusting you will be lead and making choices that come from within you rather than outside of you.
So on this historic election day of 2008, I encourage you to go out and vote authentically. You'll know it's authentic by how good it feels.