My friend Patti introduced me to the concept My One Word, and I have found it to be a powerful and peaceful way to make positive change in my life for the coming year. Instead of making a long list of New Year’s Resolutions, the concept is that you find one word that will help you be better this year.
You may find it strange that my word this year is Death…I did. I’ve been meditating on what my word should be for about 2 weeks now, and this word keeps coming back. Maybe because I have faced death and suffering quite a bit this year in my circle of family and friends. Maybe because a friend challenged me this year to regularly ask my self what I would do if I only had 6 months to live. Or maybe because I recently learned that contemplating death has actually makes people happier.
In Bhutanese culture, one is expected to contemplate death five times a day. This practice is proven to be the secret to making the Bhutanese people among the happiest in the world. Scientific research suggests that when we consider dark thoughts, our brain automatically seeks happier and lighter thoughts to create balance.
It seems even more basic to me. If I consider the fact that I could die today, I will live differently. I will be more present. I will do the things that I’ve been putting off. I will tell people how much I love them.
Most of us avoiding thinking about death. We create a false sense of security, believing we have endless days to live out our life. We start to float through life instead of living it because there will always be a tomorrow. But what if there wasn’t? Someday there won’t be.
If contemplating death can spur me to more fully live my life, I’m going to think about it every day! I downloaded an app that has been built for this purpose called WeCroak. WeCroak has up to 5 messages a day that help you face the reality of death and contemplate your life. Like a daily gratitude practice and a daily prayer practice, I have started incorporating facing death into my daily routine. Sometimes it has been as simple as, “Don’t forget, you’re going to die.”
What would your life look like if you were all in every day? I’m not talking heroic gestures or trips or anything spectacular. What would the same life you’ve been living look like if you just changed how you were living it? If you were fully alive and present?