I had hardly clicked on the “Publish” button for my last post, The Poetry of Regret, when I saw this post from KindSpring.org: No Regrets: Living with Dying. In it the author, Kitty Edwards, describes her time with Patti Pansa, a professional engineer and life coach with Stage 4 metastasized breast cancer. Patti asked Kitty “to assist her in her journey towards death.” It’s wonderful post well worth reading.
What struck me about it was how it counterbalanced the five regrets I mentioned in The Poetry of Regret. I had been considering using those regrets as a basis for a series of small group spiritual direction sessions. Now I’m thinking of approaching that from the “no regrets” angle.
Consider these practices from Patti on how she lived her final days with no regrets:
- Be Grateful Every Day
- Trust—Take the Risk
- Courage to Be Me
- Choose Joy
- Love Myself & Share It
Kitty’s post is full of wisdom from Patti on each of these. And I have no doubt that I could find an abundance of poems about all of them. For example, this from Stuart Kestenbaum:
Prayer for Joy
What was it we wanted
to say anyhow, like today
when there were all the letters
in my alphabet soup and suddenly
the ‘j’ rises to the surface.
The ‘j’, a letter that might be
great for Scrabble, but not really
used for much else, unless
we need to jump for joy,
and then all of a sudden
it’s there and ready to
help us soar and to open up
our hearts at the same time,
this simple line with a curved bottom,
an upside down cane that helps
us walk in a new way into this
forest of language, where all the letters
are beginning to speak,
finding each other in just
the right combination
to be understood.
Joy…”it’s there and ready to/help us soar and to open up/our hearts at the same time,…” A lovely description. And a lovely way to live.
So I’d use the same format outline in The Poetry of Regret. And I’d find an appropriate poem for each of Patti’s practices. If you’ve got any ideas on poems that could work, I’d love to hear them!