It is now five years since my book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, was published internationally. So with a theme of five, here are five things I’ve learned since Five Regrets: five things I have lived by and that I share with you in detail in my newest memoir, Bloom.
1. Courage is the greatest tool for bringing our dreams into reality.
When I wrote my memoir The Top Five Regrets of the Dying I had no idea it would be translated into 29 languages, reaching people from all walks of life, or that the film rights would be optioned. If I had known it may have influenced what I wrote. Instead it was a raw and honest memoir, unedited, and released into the world with trust. I can look back now and see where it may have been improved, particularly as I had no formal writing experience. But would those so-called ‘improvements’ truly have made it better? It was the courage to use my unhindered voice, vulnerable as it was, that has connected readers worldwide to my story.
Courage is more important than following man-made formulas or rules.
2. Surrender is much more effective than striving or forcing.
All I knew when I sent the memoir out into the world was that I was guided to write it. Some of the wisdom shared within its pages honoured the requests of particular dying people, who had asked me to share their insights and learning onwards. The rest was what my own heart called me to share. I didn’t know if even one hundred people would be reading it. All I knew was I had to honour the message that was coming through me with such a force I would die with regrets myself if I tried to contain it. I then sent it on its way, surrendering it to its own life. I could support its journey but not control it.
Surrendering allows a greater power to weave its own magic in support of our vision.
3. Our dreams require us to triumph over upper-limits.
When the global sales of Five Regrets first took off, I was still bumping my head on my own upper limits. I was not yet ready for that level of success and the joy of broader choices that flow from such. It took a huge journey through chronic illness that followed for me to realise how much my dreams wanted to land on all levels. As I chipped away at those upper-limits, growing into my readiness for receiving, blessings not only flowed to me faster and less hindered, but I was able to allow them through with more open arms.
Dreams arrive in physical form when we have grown into a place of readiness.
4. Self-care is crucial for an authentic life.
There is a reason that the term ‘self-love’ floats around all over the place in modern times. It is a necessity for healthy living. Without learning to care for ourselves, we can never truly give our best selves to others. Self-love means caring for ourselves, as well. When we are courageous enough to honour our own needs then we are better equipped to serve others. If we truly honour our heart, gently caring for our own needs in the process, it will then call us to serve regardless. But it will be a healthy, balanced, joyful experience, rather than sacrificial, which often just leads to burnout, resentment, or regret.
It is only through serving ourselves that we can truly serve others with our best self.
5. Real life connections are the essence of joy.
One of the regrets dying people shared with me was wishing they had stayed in touch with their friends. Becoming incapacitated with illness myself, I was reminded of just how important real life relationships are. We can find peace through solitude, meditation, and nature, but shared experiences bring joy. The Internet is a wonderful tool for connection. We are fortunate to live in such times. Rather than give technology the power isolate us, however, it can be used as a tool for linking us instead. To transform online connections into real life experience is one of the best possible uses of technology.
Online connections cannot replace the sheer joy of physical hugs and laughter.
I’ve learned many things from dying people and even more from applying that wisdom to my own life. These five things - courage, surrender, breaking through upper-limits, self-care, and real life connections - are effective tools for anyone wishing to create a regret-free life.
For more information on Bloom, visit here.