© Gaye Wilson 2009

Image by pongsterToday is my father’s birthday. If he had lived, he would have been 83. Although he has been gone for three and a half years, I saw something that he would have liked the other day, and for an instant thought about buying it for him for Christmas. Then I remembered. And I felt like I had lost him all over again.

When someone dies, the world loses. The family loses. Friends and loved ones lose the opportunity to be with that person, to talk to them, laugh with them, confide in them, advise them and find out what they know. The person’s entire knowledge banks and memories are lost – unless they were preserved in some way – books, photos, diaries, blogs even.

Have you seen the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson called The Bucket List? I watched it on DVD last week. It’s about two men with terminal cancer who write a list of things they want to do before they die. And then they go out and do them. Both of them waited until they were dying to do some things they had wanted to do all their lives.

Why wait to do what you want?

When you are dying, it’s probably too late. If you’re dying of a disease, you might not be well enough to climb a mountain or learn a new language. If you die suddenly, it’s definitely too late.

Every day you are alive is a gift. Don’t let it pass you by.

A friend sent me a message from the Dalai Lama today. It says exactly what I wanted to say in this post, so I have quoted it here:

**

Today we have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences but less time.

We have more degrees but less common sense, more knowledge, but less judgement.

We have more experts but more problems, more medicine but less wellness.

We spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, read too little, watch too much TV and pray too seldom.

We’ve multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too little, and lie too often.

More leisure and less fun … more kinds of foods … but less nutrition …two incomes but more divorce …fancier houses, but broken homes.

That’s why I propose that, as of today, you do not keep anything for a special occasion, because every day you live is a special occasion.

Search for knowledge.

Read more.

Sit on your front porch and admire the view without paying attention to your needs.

Spend more time with your family and friends, eat your favourite foods, and visit the places you love.

Life is a chain of moments of enjoyment, not only about survival.

Use your crystal goblets, do not save your best perfume, and use it every time you feel you want it.

Remove from your vocabulary phrases like “one of these days” and “someday”.

Let’s write that letter we thought of writing “one of these days”.

Let’s tell our family and friends how much we love them.

Do not delay anything that adds laughter and joy to your life.

Every day, every hour, and every minute is special.

And you don’t know if it will be your last.

If you’re too busy to make the time to send this message to someone you love, and you tell yourself you will send it “one of these days”,

BELIEVE ME

one of these days you may not be here to send it.

**

The Dalai Lama nailed it, didn’t he?

I would add one thing to what the Dalai Lama said.

Make a legacy. Don’t let your knowledge and memories die with you. Leave something of yourself behind.

© Gaye Wilson 2009

hand“If you don’t know [what's wrong, what you've done, why I'm upset/angry], I’m not going to tell you!”

Has anyone ever said that to you?

How did you feel?

My usual response to this exceptionally stupid statement is “What the …?”

A couple of weeks ago, someone left an organisation that I’m involved with because she had some issues with how it was being run. That’s fine, but the person had never given any indication before her resignation that she was not happy. The remaining members of the organisation were left scratching their heads in bewilderment. What did we do? How could this have been resolved? And more importantly, why didn’t the person say something????

It’s like being told “If you don’t know, I’m certainly not going to tell you!”.

What a stupid thing to say. I’m not, nor do I know anyone who is, a mindreader. I can’t know what you are thinking unless you actually say it. Why do people do this? I actually heard a senior executive say this to a subordinate one day. Say what? An executive telling a junior that she’s not happy about something the junior has done/not done, but won’t say what it was? How crazy is that?

I used to be a Conflict Resolution Trainer with the Conflict Resolution Network. One of the first principles of conflict resolution is to actually address the problem. No-one will know there is a problem unless someone says something. Problems cannot be fixed unless they are addressed.

It would have been much more productive for everyone if the person who left the organisation had said something to someone about how she was feeling. Then the person responsible for the behaviour that caused the distress could respond. No one knows how someone else is feeling. No one knows for sure what else is going on in someone else’s life. There may have been only one instance of the issue, or several different issues. It may have been because the person who unwittingly caused the distress was having a bad day, or was under a lot of stress, or was distracted, or was simply misunderstood. No one will ever know, because the issue was not addressed.

The bottom line is that conflict can often be handled well if the distressed person actually says what is wrong.

How many times have you done or said the equivalent of “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you”?

Don’t you think there is a better way?

Speak up if there’s something bothering you. You’ll never get resolution if you don’t actually address the issue.