A life dedicated to service...

Week 15: What matters to you?

What Matters to You Day started in Norway in 2014, with the simple goal of encouraging meaningful conversations between patients, caregivers, and families, and their health care providers. A similar project is being organized by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council (see details).

The ongoing project on this blog is to “Live this year as if it were our last.” Our aim is to bring attention to moments when living and dying meet. Life begins anew with each in-breath and, as sure as anything, will, at some point, end on an outbreath. Makes sense in theory, but so difficult, nay impossible, to comprehend. Very few of us live with such an understanding, truly “know” this reality. A line in a chant says, “There’s light in that darkness, but do not look for that light.” Try not to figure it out, it suggests, step aside from thinking and discover what’s right in front of you. Wanna try?

Here in Victoria blossoms are out all over the city, in private gardens, public parks, up and down many streets. (If there are no blossoms where you live, find a flower shop.) Step up to a blossom, look and see close up, and bring your nostrils near. Become a child again, aged five or six — or a hummingbird, a bee. Switch off thinking and, for an instance, immerse yourself in sensory awareness. Neither good or bad, right or wrong, happy or sad. Just touch and smell and . . .

When you’ve had your fill, pause for a moment longer, then ask: What matters to me?

Soon afterwards share your experience with another person: a friend or a stranger. Keep it simple — and listen.

image credit: Cherry blossoms courtesy of Butchart Gardens

About the Author
Peter lives in Victoria, BC, where he volunteers in health-care. teaches mindfulness meditation, and offers end-of-life care.

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