If today was the last day of your life, would you be doing what you’re doing?

Death - the only certainty of life

Death – the only certainty of life

“Fear not that life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.” ~John Henry Cardinal Newman

“I wish I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.” ~Bernard Berenson

There’s an abundance of quotes available about making the most of life.

I often wonder what it would take for some people to realise that the choice to live it fully everyday is primarily theirs.

Granted, our circumstances and upbringing will have an affect on our choices, but at the end of the day, we can choose to be limited by them, or we can discover the gifts we’ve gained on our journeys, and use them wisely.

Death as an agent of change 

I’m extremely fortunate in that I’ve only ‘lost’ my grandparents – no-one else in my immediate family has had any serious illnesses or died.

I have however, had the experience of friends dying.

One in particular, in her 40th year, had a huge impact on me. I remember the shock that someone I’d only recently spent time with, could suddenly be gone, never to be seen again. Her death was one of the decision makers in my choice of travel to New Zealand initially in 2001.

“The more side roads you stop to explore, the less likely that life will pass you by”. ~Robert Brault

In 2005, I met the man I would marry in 2009. His first wife had sadly died in 2003, also at the age of 40 (ironically isn’t that when life is supposed to begin?). It took a long time after we got together for him to commit to me, he’d never imagined a life without her. Once he did make the choice, he opened up to so many opportunities to make the most of life, knowing from personal experience how suddenly it could all end.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ~Mark Twain

Living before you die

In June 2005, at a Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, talked about pursuing our dreams and being open to the opportunities in life’s setbacks. It’s an amazingly inspiring presentation,  titled ‘How to live before you die‘.

The part that really resonated with me, was that he looked in the mirror every day, and asked himself “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’  If the answer was ‘No’ too many times in a row, he knew it was time to change something.

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake.” ~Marie Ray

Writing your eulogy

If you could write our own eulogy, what would it say?

I was recently touched by another untimely death. A midwifery colleague who’d been instrumental in bringing the option of water births to the West Midlands area, and possibly to the UK and elsewhere, through her unwavering passion and purpose.

She’d heard about the concept at a study day, and from that had made it her mission to find out more and introduce it to the Trust she worked at. The results of her three-year audit ‘The Tide Has Turned‘, was published in The British Journal of Midwifery in 1998.

Sadly I didn’t get to see her before she died, but I did send a letter to the Hospice which was read to her on the eve of her death. I told her what an inspiration she was, how she’d made an indelible difference to the lives of so many midwives and childbearing women and their families. Her daughter phoned me the next day to tell me she’d passed away, and that they’d all been touched and comforted by the words I’d written.

Why had I waited so long? Why hadn’t I made more effort to contact her while she was alive when I’d heard she was unwell in April? I guess my own life took over, with the huge changes I was making this year, and the priority of spending time with my family. So that’s ok. But it did motivate me to set up a Facebook Group for people who had worked in the maternity department at the Trust, and many people from that wrote heartwarming tributes too.  Now we can keep in touch, rather than wait until someone else dies before telling them how amazing they are.

Talking about death

I’m intrigued about the ways we talk of death, if we even venture to do so.

I have a fascination with graveyards, and reading headstones. People ‘pass away’, are ‘lost’, they ‘go to sleep’, rarely do they ‘die’. Why is that? I’m a member of an organisation called Dying Matters , which helps to get the concept of embracing our own mortality out into the world. Death seems to have overtaken sex as the taboo subject.

Delving into the book ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven‘, you can explore how things you do or say, actions you take or neglect, can potentially have a life-chaging effect on others, even though you may not be aware of it at the time.

“Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.” ~Thomas P. Murphy

Points to consider

  1. Don’t wait until you’re dying before you start living – be wary of delaying your ‘bucket list’ until that ‘magical age’ of retirement (the one governments and employers keep changing!). Many people don’t make it that far.
  2. How frequently do you tell the people who are important to you, how much they mean to you – and why.
  3. Are there people who’ve made a positive impact on your life, that you can talk to and tell them – now, before it’s too late?
  4. How will you be remembered? What would you like your eulogy to say?
  5. If you’re not living the life of your dreams, what steps can you take towards that path, and who can support you along the way?

Live each day fully

“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Don't delay - live today!

Don’t delay – live today!

My daughter recently sent this image and caption to me – that’s how I plan to grow older, and just in case I don’t make it that far, I love surprising people frequently.

If you want a supportive coach to challenge you to change and awaken to living each day fully, please get in touch and see if I can walk alongside you (go to my contact me page to book a suitable time and day).

Awakening Your Life – what does this mean?


Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.”~John O’Donohue

Do you wake up each morning happy to be alive and thankful for another day full of endless possibilities?

Or do you struggle to shake the sleep from your eyes and body, dreading the day and wondering what you’re doing, who you’re doing it with, and where you’re going?

Maybe you alternate between the two, or sit somewhere in between?

A fascination for change

Whilst studying for my ‘Holistic Life Coaching Diploma’, I brainstormed words that resonated with me for my coaching ‘niche’, my specialty, and my passion. I listened to clients and the feedback they gave about their coaching journeys. I searched for other coaches and the ‘titles’, or ‘niches’ that headed their blogs and websites.

I’ve been forever fascinated and drawn to change, in a variety of ways during my life – I mostly do not fear it, I generally embrace it and relish the excitement and surprises that it can bring. I believe a life without risk is a life half lived, and that the biggest risk is not taking one.

However there are also times when I wonder what it would be like to just ‘be’ settled and content in one place, with no need to move around or change so much – and there have been times that I’ve done that, but I cannot imagine living in that world constantly.

The word I strongly felt associated most with my aspirations and style of coaching was ‘Awakening‘, and despite someone (well intentioned) suggesting ‘Awakening Your Life’ sounded like ‘mumbo jumbo’, I persisted and remained true to my gut feeling.

Dictionary definitions suggest to awaken is to: stir up a feeling, to awaken or arouse strong emotions, to bring out, to trigger, to stimulate, kindle or revive.

An online search reveals the following possibilities:

Awakening – noun: stirring up, birth, waking, waking up, revival, awaking, animating, rousing, stimulation, provocation, arousal, enlivening, activation, kindling, incitement, vivification the awakening of national consciousness in people

1. rousing; quickening: an awakening interest.
2. the act of awaking from sleep.
3. a revival of interest or attention.
4. a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of something: a rude awakening to the facts.
5. a renewal of interest in religion, esp. in a community; revival.

n – the start of a feeling or awareness in a person a picture of an emotional awakening

Living a limit-less life

I realise some people associate the word ‘Awakening’ with religious connotations, and this can be one aspect of it. For me though, it’s about encouraging and supporting people to make the most of their life here on earth, secure in the knowledge that no-one can possibly be sure that there is anything BUT this life.

The messages we’ve listened to during our childhood and taken into adulthood, we’ve formed into our limiting beliefs about life, and may be keeping us trapped in an emotional prison and preventing us from living limit-less lives.

The media feed us mainly negativity and drama in order to sell their wares, and the government instill more propaganda to lead us to believe we live in a world where we must all work harder and longer, and spend all our time saving for a retirement that we may never live to see due to our lack of a work/life balance.

I’ve been a midwife since 1988, supporting women to birth their babies, and also committed to guiding students and colleagues to provide continuity of excellent care to childbearing women and their families.

Awakening lives is a continuum of this – as a Life Coach my purpose and passion is to support and guide clients to bring their hopes, dreams and aspirations to fruition, to let go of their ‘buts’ and ‘what ifs’, their regrets of the past and fears of the future, to seek ways of valuing the simple things in life – feeling gratitude for what they have in this moment rather than always seeking things they think they don’t have and feel they need in order to be happy.

To love themselves first and foremost in order to see that love reflected back to them from others, and once they’re able and willing to do this to then discover ways to visualise and live their dreams by moving through their fears and changing limiting beliefs.

So, ‘Awakening Your Life Coaching’ is about:
1. Awakening – giving birth to a new life, a new way of seeing your world primarily (internal), and then the world outside of you.
2. Beliefs – what do you believe about life? Where and when did those messages become your truth? How can you reframe these so that they serve rather than stifle you?
3. Change – what is there about your life that you want to change? Are you happy where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re spending time with; or are you frequently wishing you could do something/many things different/ly?
4. Dreams – what have you always wanted to do, but don’t feel ‘brave’ enough to find ways to make it a reality?
5. Emotions/Feeling – are you more of a thinker (to do) than a feeler (to be)? Do you fill your life with so much busyness in order to stop your self from feeling emotion? How can you begin to let go and be still, to listen to your heart and its wisdom, and trust life to bring you what you need?

If you’d like to explore some of these concepts, contact me for a free discovery call to see if a Life Coaching relationship with me is for you.