Meaningful Last Words

Aug 23, 2019

4 minutes
Meaningful Last Words

What would you say to the ones you have lost? If you could do it all over again, what would be your last words?

For the past 13 years, I’ve pondered these questions.

Endings are not what most of us think about. We focus on new beginnings, new goals, new achievements … but endings, who would want to focus on something like that?

Pardon me for stating the obvious, but we can’t have a new beginning without an ending first.

In 2013, as part of my 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training, I was honored to be inducted into the Himalayan lineage of meditation. This also meant that my mentor, Rolf Sovik, would gift me with a personal mantra to focus my daily meditation on.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the focus of my mantra was Shiva, the Hindu god of time, death, and destruction (aka the God of Endings + New Beginnings).

You might have seen images of Shiva before: he’s the blue guy with black dreads, snakes around his neck, + sometimes seen dancing on a pile of corpses with his tongue sticking out. He’s an interesting being.

In the 6 years since I received my mantra, through meditation and other practices, I’ve come to believe that Shiva was chosen for me because of all the endings I needed to create for myself. Specifically, ending outdated + utterly false beliefs about myself, my abilities, + the world around me.

Be Here Now

It doesn’t matter if we are successful or not. It’s about the journey and if we commit to it, something extraordinary will come of it.

Vashti Whitfield

Have you seen the TV series, Spartacus?

If can’t handle naked bodies or blood, then it’s probably not for you, but I really enjoyed it. Nudity + violence aside, the story told was the most engrossing part (but the nudity didn’t hurt).

The lead actor for the first season was a man named Andy Whitfield. He made you really believe he was Spartacus.

Unfortunately, Andy is no longer with us. He passed away in September 2011 from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 39 years old.

Be Here Now is a documentary about his 18-month battle with the disease.

Be Here Now. It’s all about being present and not fearing what you don’t know.

Andy Whitfield

The documentary is a vividly honest look at his battle, from both Andy + his wife, Vashti’s, perspectives.

I can’t imagine there’s a single person that wouldn’t be brought to tears by watching Be Here Now, so make sure you have some tissues ready when you watch it (check it out on Netflix).

I’m just gonna go with the flow. I can’t be questioning why, just accept the things you can’t change and do something about the things you can.

Andy Whitfield

The thing that struck me the most was the beautiful relationship he had with his wife and 2 young kids.

Those everyday moments – laughing, crying, eating – with friends and family. Those are where memories are born. The moments that we often forget, but they forge the foundation of our sense of happiness + confidence.

I know that fear and anger, which are probably the same thing really, they’re all outward. It’s all depleating, you know, when you invest in it, it’s all, it’s kinda not helpful. And the opposite of that is love, compassion, and forgiveness. So if you can convert into that, that’s an inward thing, that’s a healing thing … You should not wait to get cancer before you start to think that way.

Andy Whitfield

As the end of the documentary approached, I was overwhelmed with the memory of my father’s sudden death 13 years ago (he was 48, I was 22).

In Andy’s situation, his family was able to be there when he passed, but they also had to watch him struggle + suffer for 18 months.

In my father’s situation, it happened suddenly. All I got was a phone call + it was over – suddenly, my life was changed forever; a life I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for him.

Neither situation is “better,” but I can’t even remember the last thing I said to him. I can’t even remember the last time I talked to him before he died … it may have been years.

Those everyday moments that forge our mental foundation were few + far between in my family. Struggling to make ends meet meant that my Mom + Dad were rarely in the same room together. I spent the majority of my childhood alone.

Watching Andy with his children, the loving father that he was, knowing he wouldn’t be there to watch them grow up … it still pulls at my heart + brings tears to my eyes.

I don’t see how you can’t turn something like this into something wonderful, because what else is there to do?

Vashti Whitfield

What would you say to the ones you have lost? If you could do it all over again, what would be your last words?

We can’t go back in time, but we can have a more meaningful life going forward.

Forward is all we have + the only way we can truly remember those we have loved + lost is by bringing them with us, in our hearts + our Souls, on the journey ahead of us.

Photo by Craig Zdanowicz on Unsplash

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