Saturday, 14 May 2011

5 minutes in a coffin

I was listening to this episode of Dispatches on CBC radio where they talked about the alarmingly high suicide rates in South Korea. One company is trying to combat this trend by staging mock funerals for its clients. The idea was that if you imagine you're dead, you'll have more reason to live.

It's an interesting idea. Each employee had a photo taken, then placed onto a coffin. They were to write their own eulogies - for some, this was a very moving assignment.

But here was the kicker - as part of this course, the participants spent 5 MINUTES IN A CLOSED COFFIN. It was a time to be quiet and to reflect, to spend some quality time alone.

And it made me wonder:

  • what would I think about during those 5 minutes?
  • would I come out a changed person, even in a small way?
  • would I have a renewed sense of purpose, of why I'm here on this earth?
  • if I was thinking of dying, would it make me want to live?
For the group featured, it seemed to be a moving experience. People emerged - hugging, laughing, and relieved. One man said he was lazy in his normal life and now wanted to push himself in new ways.

This blog was one of my goals/dreams for this year - to push myself in a new way. I don't have big goals like climbing Mount Everest, but even the small ones seem to take some courage and persistence.

Here are some other goals/dreams of mine:
  • to sleep on a tropical beach and not worry about crabs
  • to be fluent in French (I vowed not to marry until I was fluent in French, but that vow was broken in favour of another one)
  • to some day, somehow be done sorting through the boxes of crap in our basement
  • to get my wedding photos into an album before I'm 50
  • to show love daily
  • to be and become my self
A favourite quote by Mother Teresa:

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. 
Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal."

Do you have a wish list of things you want to do? New ways you want to expand/push yourself?


  1. Funny you should ask. A few months ago I purchased a new journal from Nikki McClure titled "Things to make and do" (Google her name.. I love her art work! Worth a look). Anyway, it is divided into 10 sections - plan, wish, dream, build, explore, learn, make, grow, give and find. As of now the wish section is completely empty and the other areas are also quite sparse. This blog has come at a great time in my life, Rebecca. A time where I feel I am on the edge of searching, almost ready to dive in and devote some serious time to myself. So lets see...I want to create time in my day to think about what I want, what my dreams and wishes are, explore more deeply my spirituality and how to create rituals in our family, find an outlet for my creativity, find my passion, learn to be more optimistic and less fearful, learn how to rethink through my anxieties, spend more time with friends ..... and through all this feel more whole and complete so that I will have more energy for mothering, being a wife, daughter and friend. PS - Our wedding photos are also not tended to actually, the last time I had any photos printed was when Megan was 15 months old!

  2. I looked up Nikki, and love her stuff too! Maybe I'll have to get one of those journals and egg each other on. Sounds like you DO have a wish list to put in that wish section! Yes, yes, yes, to so many of the wishes on your list - they really resonate with me. I also LOVED reading SARK this past year. She's a bit crazy but I like it. Especially her "Make Your Creative Dreams Real" - that was a good one for me to read. She talks a lot about defining a dream (doesn't have to be big - it could be "clean out the front closet") and then making "micro-movements" - small steps toward that dream every day. And giving our "inner editor/critic" the boot. Those ideas were helpful to me.

  3. I feel like I never stop making lists. I was trying to find something in my handbag today and dumped out two notebooks, each half full of my lists of "TO DOs". One notebook isn't enough? Reading your list of goals Rebecca, I identified strongly with 'sort out the boxes in the basement'. That's always on my list(s)... plus the boxes in the closet...and in the spare bedrooms...and the sheds, etc. Too much stuff. Your goal of "Show love daily", however, caught my attention (and imagination) in a different way. What would my notebook look like tomorrow if I put the things on my list that truly matter and I so often forget:
    - stop talking
    - listen
    - stop taking
    - give
    - stop gossiping
    - speak about others with respect
    You've got me thinking.

  4. Mel, maybe we could get together to go through these put-off boxes together! And don't stop talking altogether - you have superb storytelling skills that are second to none! I know that your stories inspire me. But I hear you. Too often, I let words slip out (especially to my family) that I'd love to shove back in. Thoughtful speech is a good goal - I'll add it to my list!

  5. Rebecca, I want to thank you for sharing and making me think, not about the items on the "to do" list, but about my place in the world. I'm with you about the boxes of crap. Purging is such a cathartic, liberating task once completed, but such a difficult task to start (let's be honest, there's a million different things to do that are way more fun than sorting through crap in boxes!). I'm with you on the wedding photos. Let's set a date and we can both sort/organize photos and reminisce. (And after wedding photos are done, I've got a million (or so it seems) digital photos to organize/purge/sort...)

  6. My wedding photos are in a box too. Maybe we should have a party...

  7. Yes! A wedding photo box party! I'm in.