[This is third in the series of this topic…. to understand what’s being said here, please read the last two blog posts. Thank you.]
A topic of this nature, how to understand and potentially handle regrets, in a blog post of about 500 words, would be considered foolhardy, even by myself ;)… but, nevertheless, I’m going to try and do it :)! Instead of preaching, I’m going to share how I handle this matter in my own life.
Here’s what I do: I divide all desires, small and big, partly frivolous (getting a tattoo/body piercing, taking a dance course) and/or materialistic (buying a high-ticket item when money is scarce), personal yearnings (traveling somewhere, doing something special for someone I love), and other wants and needs, into two sections.
One contains the superficial, slightly worldly and materialistic desires, and the other contains the ‘higher’ soul-needs… which cannot be compromised, which I don’t want to fail at, at any cost, which I know will nourish my soul and deepen my connection with the Universe — these may involve money spent on intellectual and/or spiritual activities, spending money and effort on making calm/peace-inducing and other similar changes in my immediate environment, permitting myself the luxury of paying for what is meaningful in my life, vis a vis people, places, things.
So, then, I take these two sections, and one at a time, I address the items on the two lists and give it the ‘death-bed test’! A ‘death-bed test???… what’s that, you’re probably wondering :)! Well, all it means is that when I’m ready to pass on, how will I feel about this particular thing? Will it be alright with me that I didn’t do it, or will I feel remorse and regret that I let the time or moment pass, and didn’t do, or say, something I should have 🙁 ? And, at that point, if it’s absolutely clear to me, at a deep, and soul level, that I’ll have regrets, while dying, I go ahead and just do it, and/or say it 🙂 !!!
And how did I hit upon this ‘test’? It happened when after 25 years of deliberating whether or not I should get a tattoo — seeing a beautiful rosebud on a woman’s ankle on Oxford Street in London in 1980, immediately wanting it, but having been raised in India, very conventionally, with strict ideas of ‘wrong’ and ‘right’, was very unsure about getting it — for reasons of ‘What will people think?’ ‘I’m the principal and owner of a school — if people find out, will it hurt my business?’ ‘Will people who judge people with tattoos, find me too wild?’ — all these, and a host of related questions kept me deliberating forever! Then I moved to Montreal in 1993, at a time when tattooing had evolved, it was all the rage, and I knew in my heart I still wanted one…. a-n-n-n-d, s-o-o-o, I decided to give myself the ‘death-bed test’ 🙂… and immediately I knew… if I didn’t get my tattoo, I would be very regretful on my dying day, that for the sake of what others would think, I didn’t get it in this lifetime 🙁 🙁 🙁 !!! This discovery was SO FREEING, brought such a sense of liberation, that I decided I just had to be true to myself, and I went ahead and got my tattoo!!! This experience led to the wonderful innovation of the ‘death-bed test’! Since then, whenever I’m faced with a situation that I start deliberating too long over, I give myself this ‘test’!!!
Your turn, now… give yourself a death-bed test, and think about what you would do differently, what would you DO instead of not doing, and in the final analysis, what would see you smile, on YOUR death-bed? Choose that, and DO IT 🙂