Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Surprising Secret to Joyful Living.

On my Facebook page, I asked my FB friends this question,

 "If you could repeat one simple pleasure or go to your favorite  spot, what would it be?" 

The answers, and I got many (thank you!) included,

beach walking during the day or at dusk,  picnics, sunny spots, sunsets, diving, honeymoon vacations, star gazing, a soccer stadium.

Cities with special memories, childhood homes and rose gardens.

Snow capped mountains and busy markets,

Pina coladas, iced coffee, tomato soup and warm bread, belgian chocolate and peanut butter ice-cream.

To be fair, I wasn't quite honest with my question. 

What I really wanted to ask was.........

"If you were at the end of your life and could have one last pleasure or experience, what would it be..?"  but I didn't want to scare any of you off by appearing maudlin.

If I had asked this question would you have wanted to answer? 

Would you have given the same  response, a different one or would you have stopped reading....?

 For many people this is not something they want to think about.

However I have been thinking about this question a lot. 

The reason it has come up, is because I have been participating in some more hospice volunteer training, this time with Hospice Caring Inc. In this excellent training and during the volunteering at JSSA Hospice and my subsequent job there, I learned and saw first hand that Hospice isn't where you go to die. Hospice is about having the optimum opportunities to live, fully and comfortably, while you are dying

As part of this philosophy, hospice volunteers often help patients and their families fulfill their wishes of, for example, drinking extra large chocolate milkshakes, taking a trip to a baseball game, playing tennis, taking walks under the spring blossom,  or what ever it is they would like to do.

In the Netherlands a project called the Ambulance Wish Foundation  was recently highlighted by a British TV channel. The journalist told the story of Mario, a 54 year old zookeeper, with terminal brain cancer, having his last wish fulfilled. An ambulance came to where he was being cared for and took him and his sister to Rotterdam zoo one last time.. 

Look what happened when he got there.

A giraffe notices Mario and licks his face on the former zoo keeper's last visit. Photo: The Ambulance Wish Foundation

Mario with one of his giraffe's at Rotterdam zoo. Credit: The Ambulance Wish Foundation

( From ITV News site) "The Ambulance Wish Foundation - a charity that specialises in taking non-mobile terminally-ill patients to fulfill their dying wishes - granted Mario his last request and one of the animals leant down to give Mario a kiss on the cheek.
Kees Veldboer, founder of the Ambulance Wish Foundation, told Dutch newspaper Algmeen Dagblad: “These animals recognised him, and felt that [things aren’t] going well with him.
“It was a very special moment, you could see him beaming. It was very nice that we were able to work on the last wish of this man,” he added."

This story and the video that followed it, showed many people's wishes being fulfilled by this project. 
What moved me so greatly was the joy on the faces of the patients and their families.
Many of the places people wanted to see, were much like the list you helped me make above:- trips to the sea, cafes, a sports stadium, to see animals, their home, a view from the top of a tower, putting their feet in the ocean or going for a swim.  

But my hospice experiences and this news piece have also made me question What would I like to do at the end of my life? Do I know what would be most important to me and does my family know my wishes ?  

Do you know? 

Have you thought about what brings you most pleasure, calm and comfort? Do you know what you want to do most.

And if you know, are you making sure you visit those places often and joyfully now? 

Have you shared them with your family now, while you are fit and well and able. 

Why are we waiting to figure these things out?

Let's make sure we know what brings us pleasure, what we want to repeat over and over as we age and what we would want to do if we had one more chance.

To me this is about living joyfully in the moment. 

This is about filling our lives with things we love NOW. 

Things that make us smile or laugh or inhale deeply. 

What are we saving them for....our last requests?
I know for sure I want my last request to be something I love so much, I've done it many many times before. I want to sit in a Spring garden, surrounded by flowers and blossom, with my family. 

And I have told my  family, not because I am being morbid or think something is going to happen to me.
 But because I know they would want to fulfill my wishes as I would want to fulfill theirs. 

And knowing them now will make it much easier when the time ( a long time in the future, I hope)  comes.

What would you request?

 "If you could repeat one simple pleasure or go to your favorite  spot, what would it be?" 

Let me know below.

 Thank you to all of you who answered this question on FB. It was an amazing and inspiring list. Please feel free to add or repeat your requests here and tell me when you have fulfilled that special time or visited that place again.

If you liked the post, please share it with your friends.

Hope you make something you love into something you do, very soon.


You might also like to read:

5 Ways to Bring Comfort in Times of Grief or Distress

Among The Weeds( Reads)

The Guide To Thriving beyond The Crises in Your Life: 4 Effective Steps

Please email me at or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 
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