Thursday, September 07, 2006

An exercise in three parts, Part 3.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

(If you came to this page first, I would encourage you not to read this, but to go back and do parts 1 and 2 first, before looking at part 3)


Part 3. Now go back to the same line you drew for parts one and two. Make a mark about one centimeter (or about half an inch, if you don't do metric) to the right of the mark you made for where you are right now. Imagine that instead of having whatever amount of time left to live that was indicated by the amount of space between your mark for right now and the right end of the line, instead you only have this centimeter or half inch left to live.

Take a moment to think about the goals that you wrote--the five things you want to accomplish before you die. Do part 2 of the exercise over again--write down 5 things you really want to do before you die, imagining now that you only have the one centimeter or half inch left on your life line. Describe each thing in 1-3 sentences. Take 3-5 minutes to complete part 3 of the exercise, but again, don't stress if it takes you longer or shorter. =)

If you do the exercise, I would *love* to hear how it went, and how it affected you, and so forth. =)


brooke said...

i am so not doing this exercise. my pastor-counselor has me breathing (meditating) 1 minute for every hour i am awake. that's difficult enough. maybe sometime when meditation is no longer so scary.


Benjamin Ady said...


You are a delight! I love it that you read the whole exercise without doing it! That's exactly what I would do, I fear, presented with this blog post. =).

The breathing sounds really hard, actually. I used to go over to ABRC's weekly 10 minute meditation. We'd all close our eyes, and sit and breathe quietly for 10 minutes. God damn that was hard to do. I *hated* it, sometimes.

Joe said...

B - love the way you changed the dates on the posts ;)

I'm obviously not suited for this exercise - I don't really *have* things I want to achieve in those concrete terms. If I knew I was going to die in the shorter term, I'm not sure I would do anything different.

I also need to spend more time in silence and meditation. The problem for me is that everything to do with religion seems so grey and useless to me. I know, that is a pretty poor excuse, but it is mine and I'm sticking to it.

Yesterday in church there was a sign for an evangelistic campaign which said 'There must be more than this'. I thought (experiencing the yawning chasm that is church once again) 'I damn well hope so'.

Seren said...

Thanks, Benjamin, that was good. Of course I did the exercise as written - I am a very good girl! (That's a difficult habit to break...)

I had acheiving financial independence on both my lists. I want to work as a professional nurse, and not be dependent on government or family money.
If i've got a long time i'd like to learn to play the oboe, do some drawing classes, sewing classes, be more disciplined with my writing. Discipline came into the long-life goals alot, actually.
I tried to think about what i would do if i'm going to die tomorrow, but all i could think of was "get a good night's sleep"!! Wouldn't that be a lovely farewell treat?
If i've got a couple of weeks left, i came up with spending lots of time in the forest, among big trees. Would probably be a good idea to do it, then, just in case!! Also, meditation. Which was expanded to "get to know the cycles of the place i live in, the ecosystem i am a part of. Celebrate my place in it - discipline in my practice" if i've got a long time.
also important to me is to have organised an ecologically sound burial before i die, to make sure i'm not stuck in some crazy hard-wood coffin that gets burned and releases its own tonne of CO2, along with my bones. I'm quite a controller - i want to have written my own funeral service too!
I'd hate to die in a war or a mass disaster. I want my funeral to be a big event! If i go with lots of other people it will be one of those mass memorial efforts with really tacky poems.
xx s.

Benjamin Ady said...


You have more hope than I do. I'm not convinced at all that there is more to life than this. I'd like to have that hope, but don't see anything to engender it anywhere.

It sounds like you strongly associate silence/meditation with religion. I wonder why that is? I don't get that so much, but maybe it's because I got so exposed to cognitive-behavioral therapy at UW.

Religion as grey and useless. I tend to to see it more as black and destructive.

Benjamin Ady said...


Hooray, someone *did* the exercise! You rock. =).

Are you *trying* to break that habit?

I want to do drawing classes too!

Isn't that crazy the way the goals shift a bit with shorter time? Megan *greatly* loves being in the woods as well. She likes to go for a hike in the woods at least once a week.

Thank you *so* much for sharing your goals with me. I feel honored.

Joe said...

Actually, I have quite a lot of hope, though I've seen a lot of bad religion, I've also seen quite a lot of good stuff - enough to make me believe that there are some pearls in all the pigshit.

The problem is that most of the time it is grey.

Liz said...

I have never actually seen this exercise, but I HAVE heard people say to think about how you would live your life if you found out you only had a year left. Seems to accomplish the same thing.
Yeah, I did it. I love self discovery exercises. I have wasted many many online hours taking online personality/career quizzes, etc. Serious stuff. RIght on up to the myspace "are you emo"? quizzes. (a forty seven year old emo...that's a new one)
Maybe I should ask myself if at the end of my life, I will say, dang, I spent WAY too much time online???