i’m thinking about dying – part 2 – final wishes, sensation being the key to happiness, emotions, awareness

dying to be meHow long ago was it I wrote about dying?
I’m back there – curious again.
I may (on behalf of amy) become curious about guilt (and I’d add shame to that) also.
Over the next wee while I’m to post beautiful articles or films or poems or tidbits about the art of dying.

From The Guardian: Top 5 regrets of the dying

From Huffingpost: What the dying want you to know about life

and my favourite…

From Upworthy: 7 powerful photographs of people living out their final wishes

This final story helped a wee insight. Along with a TED talk I will share on the next post. And along with Anita Moorjani’s insights and encounter with death. I currently see people want to experience sensation in their final wishes before dying. They want to see the sunset, hear their grandchildren laugh, taste their favourite ice-cream flavour, feel the ocean around their body, smell frangipane in the night air. I started to wonder if this is the key to being present. Sarah Napthali talked about it in Buddhism for Mothers, noting what is going on, how I am feeling, what can I see, hear etc – developing awareness.

I know one of my top 5 lessons for living is learning to be present.

I love day-dreaming of ‘brighter’ days. When I have more disposable income, when I make the next festival, when I get new drawers that fit my clothes and don’t get stuck when I open and close them so that I am more motivated to put my clothes in drawers rather than leave them in the clothes bucket for the moths to digest, when my kids sleep through the night, when I feel peaceful in all my relationships with all people, when I take life less seriously…

I have struggled with the ‘how to’ of being present. I have flirted with gratitude diaries. I have promised to meditate. I have day-dreamt of a daily practice.

buddhism for mothersBut the notion that the essence of being alive is to experience sensation (and Anita would add emotion see footnote) is a so-far-so-good-how-to for me to present.
I can BE with my senses. I can revel in them. I can (with awareness and stopping all the to-dos, the distractions, the activities that mask my discomfort with vulnerability and intimacy and LOVE), I can SEE my daughter’s little nose, sapphire eyes, rose red lips and milky skin.
I can HEAR my son’s laughter or the wind making music with the trees.
I can FEEL my husband’s soft and strong hands touching my back or the warm water of my nightly shower ‘baptising’ me after each day, preparing me for the new.
I can TASTE the meal I’ve prepared for all family.
I can SMELL the orange blossom in the neighbour’s garden. I can put the washing bucket down, go over the that blossom, push my eyes, nose and lips into that scent, and feel it run through all of me.

When I connect back with my sensory experience I go


This also brings me back to something Erin and I talked about. The fine and difficult balance of experiencing ALL emotion, experiencing it and stopping before indulging in it. She shared if we are there, if we meet our emotion, the pure emotion, the potency will last 90 seconds, after this point it becomes something else. It becomes the ‘story’ of that emotion. In this conversation with Erin I had shared that I was trying to tame or edit out the anger in my life, because I didn’t want it around my children and family. After this consult with Erin (who runs Satsang with Erin, Hawaiian bodywork and casual consultations) she suggested rather than suppress this emotion, meet it, listen to it. This also reminds me of a conversation with a dear friend Tess after she’d spoken to a local therapist about emotion: become aware of the root emotion, is there another emotion alongside, underneath, on top if it? The surprising thing that happened for me, was noticing especially as I began to listen, I couldn’t decipher my emotion (Tess had experienced this also). Was is anger or was it fear or was it deep deep sadness? The other surprising and delightful thing that happened was, when I stopped ‘trying not to get angry’ I realised I was allowing other emotions to register – that of pure JOY, of finding something funny, or finding something exquisitely moving.

Ah, the joys of motherhood. Having the gift of relationship and love to discover new depths and dimensions.

I will finish with this footnote from Anita Moorjani.

“My new perspective has made me wonder about our focus and purpose, if reincarnation and time itself don’t exist the way that so many of us were raised to believe. What if all our goals are the wrong way around? What if heaven or nirvana is actually here in physical expression, and not there in the afterlife?

I SENSE THAT WE CHOOSE TO INCARNATE into a physical body in order to express love, passion, and the full range of other human emotions not available to us separately in the state of pure awareness and Oneness. What if this life on this planet is the main show, where the action is, and where we wanted to be?

This reality is a playground of expression. It looks as though we aren’t here to learn or gather experiences for the afterlife. There doesn’t seem to be much purpose in that because we don’t need any of it there. Rather, we’re here to experience and evolve this physical universe and our own lives within it. I made my decision to return when I realized that life here was the most desirable state for me at this time. We don’t have to wait until we die to experience nirvana. Our true magnificence exists right now! – from Dying to be Me, by Anita Moorjani.”

If you think others may benefit from some of these ideas, please share this article e.g. on facebook. I would love our community to meet and talk more about dying, so that we live more freely.


  1. Great post Emily, thanks for the reminders of how to be in the present, how important it is to be with emotions (challenging work) and how this transforms them. Interesting to contemplate this being it, the big show.

  2. Always so interesting Em. The photos are very moving. A while back, when I craved ‘me time’ I discovered ‘me moments’ instead, those moments when yes, I stop, I feel, I sense and I become deeply present in ME xx

  3. love the topic of dying Emily, thank you for sharing. Its some thing that is not talked about enough. Between, have you seen the movie ‘The Fountain’? Epic!

I love reading your comments, kia ora for taking the time to share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s