Without a name; an unseen face
And knowing not your time nor place
Tomorrow's Child, though yet unborn,
I met you first last Tuesday morn.

A wise friend introduced us two,
And through his shining point of view
I saw a day that would see
a day for you, but not for me.

Knowing you has changed my thinking,
For I never had an inkling
That perhaps the things I do
Might someday, somehow, threaten you.

Tomorrow's Child, my daughter-son,
I'm afraid I've just begun
To think of you and of your good,
Though always having known I should.

Begin I will to weight the cost
Of what I squander; what is lost
I should never forget that you
Will someday come to live here too.

- Glen Thomas (Interface Carpet Co.)
 
 
I am more...
than what I look like
than what I say
than what I'm good at
than what I like
than what roles and titles I have

I am more...
than what I think about
than what I dream about
than what I know
than what I believe

I am more...
than what I have done
than what I can do
than what I want to do
than what I will do

I am more...
than how fast I run
than how strong I am
than how high I jump
than how smart I am

I am more...
than the successes I had
than the people I love
than the money I have
than the smile I wear

I am more...
than the mistakes I made
than the people I have wronged
than the money I lost
than the scars I wear 

I am more...
than where I've been
than where I am
than where I'm going

I am more...
than when I was born
than when I will die

I am more than who others think I am.

I am more.
 
 
Once in a very rare blue moon, a story comes along that takes my breath away, pulls out the tears hidden deep in my ducts and rips my attention away from everything else. In return, the story gives back an undying admiration to the choices made, the inspiration to live courageously and a fresh perspective on 'sweating my small stuff'. 

I am in awe of the mother's compassion and the singer's courage.  

Enjoy the blue moon.
 
 
When Ms. Bronnie Ware, a woman who worked for years with the dying, wrote a list of the top 5 regrets people say aloud on their deathbed, I teared up a little bit. Here is her original text. May it be as much a  blessing to you as it was for me. 

---
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice.  They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
 
 
Anyway
by Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable
Illogical and self-centered. 
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, 
People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, 
You will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, 
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, 
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, 
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, 
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, 
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
 
 
In the last year, I've reflected on life's big issues, following my wife's cancer and chemotherapy treatments. I have found it healthy to ask myself these profound questions while reviewing the validity of my automated answers. This list comes from Sam Keen

Enjoy the introspection.
  • What do I really want?
  • What brings me joy?
  • Who am I when I dream?
  • Why do I feel the way I do?
  • What do I fear?
  • Who has wounded me?
  • Whom have I injured?
  • How do I deal with guilt?
  • Do I need to have enemies?
  • How do I forgive?
  • Whom and what will I love?
  • How will I express my sexuality?
  • Who are my people? My family?
  • Where is my place?
  • What is the source of my power? My self esteem?
  • What is sacred? Worthy of respect? Inviolable?
  • For what or whom would I sacrifice my time, my energy, my health, my life?
  • What can I do to lessen the quantity of evil in this world?
  • What are my gifts? What is my vocation?
  • What must I do to die with a sense of completeness?
  • What myth have I been unconsciously living?
  • In what measures are my “values” mere prejudices, my duties blind commitments to unexamined norms?
  • What have I sacrificed to win the approval of others? 
  • What have I sacrificed to become successful?
  • In what ways have I blinded myself, disowned my power, denied my potential?
 
 
I pondered this question, sitting in the depressing oncology department as my wife was getting her 8th out of 12 chemotherapy treatments back in August 2009. Conversations with other cancer patients and their significant others often turned around what was lost with cancer and how their priorities changed.  And then, to insert hope in the discussion, we would talk about what we had left that we cherished.

It felt cliché at the time - you only know what's important once you lose it. But it's true. When I (and they) got stripped of what I we made life 'life', this question had to be answered. And the soul-searching did me some good. 

In the blink of an eye, with one phone call, or with one sentence uttered from the doctor's mouth, the following things can disappear (in no particular order ;) )

- my stuff
- my health
- my loved ones health
- my achievements and distinctions
- my reputation

- my plans
- my social involvement
- my affiliations
- my stuff - bis (I know I already said it, but it's so important sometimes, it bears repeating)


So what's left ? What can I grab on when I feel like Job ?

- my values and my faith
- my resolve
- my REAL friends


Here's one man very touching and eloquent take on it. 
 
 
My friend Reg Athwal, a world reknown expert on Human Resources, posted this story which I think demonstrates the power of perspective. It's something that struck me in the last year that I needed, and something I think all entrepreneurs who get sucked into their businesses need more of.

One day, a very rich man decided to teach his son about life, and took him on a trip to a very poor village and they spent a couple of days with a very poor family. When they returned home, the father asked his son:
 
- Did you like our trip?- Yes dad. - Did you see how these people live?
- Yes dad. - Tell me then, what did you learn from this trip? The son replied:
- I saw that we've got 2 dogs, they've got 4. We have a pool in the middle of the garden, they have a huge lake. We've got imported lamps for the patio, they have the stars. We live on a small lot, they live on a big farm surrounded by meadows. We have maids to serve us, they help each other with everything. We buy our food, they grow it. We have a wall surrounding our house to protect us, they have friends to rely on. 


The father was speechless.

And the son added:- Thank you for showing me how much we still lack daddy!!
 
 
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was an amazingly talented Renaissance man: author, inventor, printer, politician, satirist, scientist, civic activist, statesman, diplomat, and one of the founding fathers of America.

Part of his considerable legacy was to leave us with brilliant thoughts, inspired by his Puritan background. Most of them have found their way to our common sense, but we forget they came from a man who believed in doing good every day:

- A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
- Beware of small expenses. A small leak can sink a great ship.
- An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
- Anger is never without a reason but seldom with a good one.
- By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
- Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.
- Half a truth is often a great lie.
- He that lives upon hope will die fasting.
- He that's secure is not safe.
- If you would be loved, love and be lovable.
- Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
 
 
One of my 4 core values is compassion. I believe it is the one value that truly differentiates us from being self-loving, egoistical people. Our caring and grace for others is the one key to make sure our collective future becomes a livable one.

Last year, Karen Armstrong, a reknown religious scholar, made a plea at TED for a Charter for Compassion: an initiative to 'to restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.'

One year later, with the help of TED and 150 000 contributors like you and me from 180 different countries and 4 different languages, Karen's dream is finally becoming a reality.

How different would our businesses be if we applied this charter in our commercial transactions ? in our interpersonal relationships ? with people very different from us ? Here are inspiring examples and a way for us to act on it.

Enjoy the Charter for Compassion.
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.