I have done goal setting under the guidance of Jack Canfield and John Assaraf, and now teach my clients and students how to design their lives using these principles, but have myself omitted the ultimate goal. I have visualized myself at the end of the life dinner table as an elegant and eccentric senior surrounded by family and friends, giving out the speech and soaking in the love, pride, joy and an overall satisfaction of life well lived. What I haven’t done is to visualize and set the goal for the way I want to leave this world.
Before you raise your eyebrows leaving this part to uncontrollable Destiny, Higher Power or God, think about how much of it is really in our hands.
Just like wealth, health, joy, all those things we at some point thought were uncontrollable, part of our DNA, our Earthly and Heavenly Luck, the way we die can be moderated to the same extend. And no, I don’t mean you choosing the death by fire, crash or drowning, as that is really part of your destiny altered not fully but to some degree, by you exercising enough common sense and developing a certain level of consciousness. If you walk into a dark alley at night, you do invite the unknown. If you stand too close to the moving train, you are asking for trouble. If you are hanging over the abyss to take an Instagram pic, it could be the last one you will be remembered by. At the same time, unexpected things do happen to us all, even when reasonable caution is exercised, and that is not something we have control over.
No, I mean the death that is inevitable possibility by all of us in industrialized countries, a hospital, mechanized death.
In her book, Extreme Measures, Dr. Jessica Zitter, paints a grim picture of the way we leave this world when certain preventative measures haven’t taken place. I say grim, as in general, we, the people, shy away from anything that has to do with death, leaving certain controllable aspects of it to the hands of others. It dawned at me during the course of this reading that it is like leaving your goals, dreams, bank accounts to others.
Why? Why not take charge of the ultimate goal, pronouncing clearly our last wishes of dying in peace, surrounded by family, possibly exposed to fresh air, the sun, the sound of chirping birds, the smells of life? Dying according to our innermost values, not by others trying to guess what they are when we are unable to communicate them clearly.
Dr. Zitter takes her readers through the journey behind the hospital curtains when last breaths take place, often prolonged by painful procedures in cold, foreign settings. She explains what does taking all measures to save a dying body really mean and how most people would never agree to them, if they knew what was involved. She shares the necessary resources to make educated decisions and share them with the doctors and family. Resources that can be retrieved when the time comes, as for many of us who will not die in our sleep or suddenly during a normal day, these will become invaluable both for ourselves and family members left behind.
I rarely talk about inconvenient truths because the public has more interest in fun, recipes and joy of living. So am I honestly, but day after day we coach people to wellness and some days are filled with so much resistance to heal from wounds of the past, from habits and patterns, we feel obliged to say that this resistance leads only to a premature death. Many people are addicted to arguing for their limitations, as if to justify why they can’t change or let go…
I found this book to be inspirational not only for taking charge of our final days, but for the contribution we can make to our own wellbeing during our lifetimes to avoid certain unnecessary, avoidable, lifestyle and emotional diseases leading to premature death, leading to hospitalizations, and often mechanical life support, if only we took determined action. As Dr. Mark Hyman said in NY, during the IIN conference, our ultimate goal should be to fall asleep peacefully, maybe on a beach, after an evening filled with joy and dance under a star filled open sky, a glass of delicious wine, celebrating life in arms of loved ones. Falling asleep from old age not from disease, taking full responsibility for our physical and emotional health to the extend it is possible.
All the unhealthy habits and addictions, both emotional and physical that we form contribute to disease formation. Do we know how we will die? No, it is part of the mystery, part of our destiny, but can we focus for a change on doing what we can with joy and a sense of responsibility for our bodies and minds?
When you do the best you can, you live in acceptance and peace. But so many people don’t take that responsibility. Many live from moment to moment without giving much thought to what their single and cumulative actions do to their bodies and lives. Many people leave all aspects of their lives to the unknown, including those that clearly are in our hands, like certain aspects of life, health, wealth and death. Taking 100% responsibility for your life, as Jack Canfield teaches in his Success Principles, should also relate to health and our final moments.
This book might change the way you view life. Maybe it’s time to view if with the end in mind. Thinking of death and putting your wishes in writing does not mean speeding it up. It means you have taken full responsibility.
Joanna Puciata is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Founder of Heal ‘N Glow, Student Mentor at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Certified Gluten Practitioner, Holistic Skin Care Designer and Author of Vague Memories and Stripes. Her mission is to teach and inspire people to take responsibility for their lives and live to their fullest potential by being in charge of their actions, thoughts and choices creating a successful and joyful Life by Design. Joanna has mentored hundreds of women worldwide and is known for her tough yet inspiring and feminine approach.