During a recent presentation to 1st and 2nd year OSU medical students about death and dying, I reminded them of the delicate balance between life and death. The six quotes below, three having to do with life, the other three with death emphasize those intertwined qualities that make us human.
Growing older, I’m trying to live more from the heart. Many feel that is where the soul resides. I’m not sure of that but I am convinced the heart is like a vast reservoir from which intuition flows. It has become so difficult to listen to the quiet voice of the heart with all the noise of social media. Balancing the near constant stimulation of the mind with the cool waters of the heart, for me, means spending as much time as possible out in nature. Take a few minutes to reflect how these writers view that kind of balance.
The mind is the last part of yourself to listen to. It thinks of everything you can lose. The heart thinks of everything you can give, and the soul thinks of every thing you are. Neale Walsch
The old Eskimo hunters she had known in her childhood thought the riches of life were intelligence, fearlessness, and love. A man (or woman) with these gifts was rich. Jean Craighead George
Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something. Jackson Brown Jr.
As I discussed with the medical students, it’s not easy to face your own death at any age, especially when you are only 24 or 25. But facing your own death allows you to live life more fully. The concept of living into dying. Being grateful for each day. Living in the moment. Living each moment. Take another moment to appreciate these reminders.
Death twitched my ear. “Live!” he said, “I’m coming. Virgil 1 AD
If you only had an hour to live, what would you do and why are you waiting. Stephen Levine
It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth, and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up. Only then will we begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.
Dr. Kubler-Ross wrote the first really popular book on dying, “On Death and Dying”, in 1969. She introduced the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. Recently, Dr. Atul Gawande wrote a New York Times bestseller, “Being Mortal”. In the book, he explores the idea of living a good life all the way thru to a good death.
I remind my family, friends and patients that there are only two things you take with you when you die. The people you love and the people who love you. That’s it. Nothing else. No stocks, no fancy house, not even your underwear. I refuse to spend any more time than necessary acquiring “things” I can’t take with me when I die.
Life is precious but oh so fleeting. I try to approach each day with a sense of wonder and excitement. Hold your vision, trust the universe.
Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area. He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics. This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.