A Dying Mother’s Letter

A touching article in the NYTimes about Elizabeth Edward’s way to pass on her wisdom to her children before the availability of Reflections.


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The Ties that Bind US

A great article in the NY Times by Bruce Feiler on generations sharing family stories. Definitely worth the read!


For more info on Bruce Feiler visit his website at www.brucefeiler.com



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Welcome to What’s New and the Reflection’s Blogosphere.

This is the place where you will find news, market information, writing tips as well as a variety of other information that we believe will enrich your Reflections experience and make it most rewarding. So stop by often to see what we have to share. It is our corporate philosophy to run the most transparent organization that we can. So, we also plan to use this venue to share how we have made business decisions so that you can understand the tradeoffs we evaluated to arrive at our decisions.  We welcome your feedback so please feel free to use our contact us facility to communicate with us..

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Why You Must Become an Expert at Telling Your Story

What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone new? You ask him to tell you his story.

But few people know how to do this well.

They give too much back story, drone on for 20 or 30 minutes, list arbitrary details that mean nothing to you, and putter out at the end, leaving you wondering what was the point. It can leave you feeling confused and unfulfilled.

This is not okay. Because you have a story to tell, and it deserves to be told well.

You need to practice. You need to become an expert at telling your own story. Consider some of the basic elements of any good story and how they apply to your story:

  • What’s the conflict?
  • Who’s the hero?
  • Where is the suspense?
  • How will the conflict resolve?
  • What’s the point?
  • Why does it matter to me?

Classic stories, myths, and fairy tales tend to happen in three acts. They raise each of the above questions and then answer them. The conflict gets worse for the protagonist before it gets better.

The movement of the hero undergoes a major complication at some point before he starts winning again. All seems lost before redemption happens.

And so, you must apply these same elements to your own tale. Why?

Learning to Tell Your Story

Here are three reasons why your becoming an expert of your own story is essential:

1. Nobody cares about your resume

For many professional fields, the resume is dead. This is especially true for creatives.

What people want to know is your story. What happens when I Google you? What does your “bio” say?

Future employers want to know: What are your life experiences, and how have they shaped you?

You need to be ready to tell them.

2. Story is the new marketing

Think about the nonprofit and for-profit organizations you know that are really making a difference. Chances are, they’re telling a compelling story. I can think of several that immediately come to mind:

  • TOMS Shoes began with a story that Blake told and continues every time someone buys a pair of shoes.
  • Charity:Water starts with the story of a birthday party and still offers you the chance to donate your birthday to help people lacking clean drinking water.
  • Apple‘s story is about the underdog eventually beating out the competitor who wronged him. Every customer gets to live out this same story each time they buy a Mac or iPhone.

Do you see a pattern here? Influential organizations and individuals tell a story that is so compelling others can’t help but want to join it.

3. You don’t know your story as well as you think

Telling your story helps you make sense of your life — why certain events happened the way they did. You begin to examine what has happened to and through you. You begin to make sense of who you are.

Telling your story can be incredibly therapeutic, and the practice often leads to greater confidence and understanding of self.

Most people don’t take the time to do this. They take their stories for granted; they don’t steward them.

Take the time to learn your story. We need it. And we need you to tell it.

If we’re going to be changed by it, you need to tell your story well.

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How to Look Back on Your Life with No Regrets

“My religion is to live and die without regrets.” – Milarepa, Tibet’s greatest ever yogi.

Imagine this. You are old, frail and sick. You are laying in your bed with your children and family members around you. They are crying. Their eyes are red and their faces pull forced smiles trying to make you feel better about what is happening. You are dying.

Now ask yourself this question: are you regret free? Are you going to slip away in to the afterlife knowing that you lived a good and moral and full life? Or, are you going to be panicking because your mind is full of regrets and you aren’t ready to leave?

In this post I want to give you a few simple ways to make sure you live your life without regrets. I truly believe that when death comes the most important thing you can have by your side is the knowledge that you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Why this is so important to know

First of all I want to talk a little bit about why it is so important to live and die without regrets. It is not a complicated philosophical argument or even a religious teaching. The reason it is so important is because all of us, at the time of death, are scared out of our mind.

Think about when you lose some little trinket that you treasure. It might be a necklace, wedding ring or your car keys. Think about how frustrated and anxious you get. You are so attached to that item you can’t bare to be separated from it even for a few moments.

Now imagine death.

At the time of death it is not just your keys or your necklace that you are leaving behind. It is everything. You are leaving behind your kids, your house, your spouse. You are leaving your morning coffee and your local park and all your life habits. Most distressing, however, is the fact that you are leaving behind your body. The very body that you have groomed and cared for and cleaned and loved your entire life. It is time to separate from it. And that is bloody scary.

At that point in time the only thing you have to rely on is a calm mind. If you are in a negative space; thinking about all your possessions and attachments that you are parting from then your death will be painful. If, however, you are calm, collected, happy and regret free your death will be no drama whatsoever.

How to look back on your life with no regrets

Now that I have done a little bit of an introduction I want to talk about a few things that you need to do if you want to die without regrets. If you have ANY IDEAS of your own I would love to hear them. This is one area where you can never have enough knowledge.

1. Do no harm
All the major religions and philosophies of the world have one thing in common. They all speak of the fact that the very core and heart of their teachings is the idea that you should do no harm.

This is the most important thing of all. If you have spent your life harming people your death will be an occasion full of fear and regret. If, however, you have spent your days helping people and lived a loving and caring life there will be no cause for fear at the time of death. Why would there be? How could anything bad come from a life spent helping others?

If you want to die without regret it is important to do no harm. Don’t harm others with your body or your harsh speech. Don’t gossip about people and ruin their reputations. Don’t kill or injure animals. As a great Indian Buddhist master once wrote in his seminal text:

“Even a tiny spark can set fire to a whole mountainside. Do no harm whatsoever.” – Shantideva

2. Waste no time

One of the major regrets that all people have is the recollection that you wasted a lot of your spare time doing things that had no real benefit. I touched on this in the recent post on recognizing your faults but I wanted to mention it here as well.

Human life is so precious. It is so rare and it is endowed with opportunities that no other species has. We have the mind, body and inclination to relieve the suffer of others. Not many animals can claim that they have this ability. But we do. We have the potential to travel the world, experience new things and grow as a person. We have the ability to love and the ability to bring joy to others’ lives.

This opportunity is so rare. It is so rare than even some other humans can’t claim to possess it. Impoverished souls in Africa and India and those in war torn countries do not have the opportunities that we relatively wealthy people in the west have. Wasting it would be the worst crime of all.

I truly believe that when death comes I will be more regretful of wasted time than of anything else. For the most part I do not harm a lot of beings and I do my best to help out when I can but, like a lot of humans, I am infected with the virus of laziness. I do not use my time well. If I want to die without regret I need to do something about this. And you do as well.

3. Take every opportunity that comes by
When you talk to the elderly about their lives one thing inevitably comes up – missed opportunities. Everyone has a story about an opportunity they had to work in a great firm or travel to a distant land or play for a great sporting team. And everyone regrets not taking that opportunity when it presented itself.

Something that I feel is very important is to take every opportunity that comes along. The reason for this is simple – you will regret not taking an opportunity a lot more than you will regret taking it and it not working out. For example, it would be a lot better to take a job in a distant land and find out it isn’t right for you than it would be to turn it down because you were afraid.

If you want to get to the end of your life and have no regrets you need to seize every opportunity that comes along. It doesn’t matter how small or big it is, never turn down something because you are too afraid that it won’t work out. 90% of the time you will only get one shot.

4. Travel the world
In 2006 my best mate was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. The doctors found the disease quite late and by that time it had spread to his bones and lymph nodes. It didn’t look good. During that time he said something interesting to me, something that has stuck with me. He said that he felt extremely lucky to have traveled.

It was really interesting to see a young man who was facing death say that one thing that really helped him was the fact that he had traveled the world and seen a lot of things. He said it made him feel as though he had lived a fuller life and hadn’t missed out on too much, despite his young age. I am happy to say that my friend has since recovered fully from the cancer.

If you want to die without regret I think it is not so important to see lots of things as it is to really experience them. When you travel I encourage you to stay in one place for longer than you would normally and really experience the culture and the location. Don’t just go sight seeing, try and really experience what magic the place has to offer. At the end of your life you will remember these experiences.

5. Train yourself in impermanence
Death is a lot like professional sport. If you spend a lot of time training for it you will do well. If, however, you just try to fluke it there is every chance that you will fail. The time to train for death is today. The method is remembering the truth of impermanence.

When you are laying in your bed with your family around the last thing you want is a clinging mind. The last thing you want is to be so pained by your attachments that you can’t bare to let go of your life. If you are attached to your house and family you will find it extremely hard to slip away.

The only way you can combat this is to remember impermanence now. Every time you see yourself becoming attached to something you should remind yourself that it won’t last. Everything composite breaks. Everything that goes up comes down. Nothing lasts. Don’t be depressed by this fact, be happy. For now you have the motivation for seizing the moment and making the most of life while you still have it. This is what they mean when they say you need to live in the light of death.


I truly believe that if you live your life with the goal to have no regrets at the time of death you will live a wonderful life. Don’t harm, don’t waste time and don’t miss opportunities. These three things are essential. Your goal is to make these things happen. I can write about it until the cows come home but until you change your life for the better it is all just idle speech. I wish you the best of luck.

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How to Reflect on Your Life

Reflection is the art of pondering on one’s virtues and faults. It is also the ability to reflect on the “here and now”, on your feelings and thoughts. This also includes reflecting on the thoughts, emotions and the feelings of others. This can help to improve oneself as you assess and reflect upon the decisions you made in life. Use your reflections as an opportunity to make profound and a constructive or positive change in your life. This may require letting go of some people and retaining others. This will depend greatly on the outcome of your reflections, also on the accuracy and intuitive feelings of these reflections.


  1. Relax yourself you will need to be in a relaxed state of mind in order to reflect on the past. Seek a place of solitude and silence. Distractions like a high noise factor, people talking or movement of sorts will create difficulty in thinking and following your train of thought. One can accomplish this by sitting on the rocks at the beach, relaxing in the park, on simply being comfortable in your very own bed or couch.
  2. Look back through your thoughts, both positive and negative. Feel the sensations strongly and re-live these experiences. Smell the smells, hear the voices, experience the feelings and make them real in your mind. Understand why you were feeling sad or happy at the time, and contemplate on the reasons reason behind these feelings. This will help put things in perspective and also clear your mind on future actions and changes you need to make.
  3. Spend time on each experience and try to use your senses to experience what happened. Use these experiences to better your life and to learn from these moments. Very often one stumbles across an “AHA” experience, the realization dawns on the “Why” and “When” moments. Use these experiences to your advantage.
  4. Increase your awareness and observation of events around you. This can be easily accomplished by being conscious of the ” here and now”, living in the moment so to speak.
  5. Pick up on verbal and non verbal cues when reflecting. Very often someone shows a particular emotion using body language or various other forms of expression. Reflect on a person’s frown, look of dismay, a startled appearance, a friendly smile etc. This information speaks volumes giving you a much clearer picture of the reality behind your reflections.
  6. Follow your intuitions and gut feelings. Something tells us when things are not right. Reflections are also an ideal way of helping improve on your sensing and feeling skills. You will become better with time, but try not to drive yourself into a depression if the realities you encounter become too difficult to bear.
  7. Use the mirror technique. Look at your self in the mirror and observe what you see. See yourself the way others see at you. Sense and feel what you see. Do you approve of this image?, Are you impressed?, Should there be changes that need to be made?, Observe your expression: Is it friendly or inviting? These subtle nuances will help you improve and introspect.


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