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How to Write a Eulogy… For Yourself

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Here’s the latest from 30 DAYS OF INTENT! Iman and Natalie, accompanied by YouTube star Hannah Hart, visited Laurel Lewis for a lesson in death and dying. Laurel is a registered nurse who specializes in end-of-life care, and she is best known for her “Death and Dying Dinners.” We interviewed Laurel on the importance of contemplating death as a way of living life more fully.

The Chopra Well: Hi, Laurel! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. First off, can contemplating our own death aid in a spiritual journey?

Laurel Lewis: Contemplating one’s own death is a spiritual practice. It can certainly be the focal point of any meditation or journal writing. A Buddhist would say that we should examine it with every breath. That may be much for the beginner. How about we start with twice a day, upon waking and just prior to falling asleep.

The idea is to become more conscious of how you are spending your time, who are spending your precious time with. Is the way you live your life contributing to your overall happiness or depleting you? By contemplating death we learn to identify friends, coworkers, habits, family members, even thoughts that are no longer serving our greatest good, not serving our life’s purpose fully. The spiritual practice of contemplating death somehow gives us permission to live our lives more authentically and to live with more purpose and compassion. When we truly realize that death can come at any time, that nothing but death is guaranteed, we see that our life is so precious. It allows for an incredible feeling of freedom and personal responsibility to live life with beauty, connection, purpose, joy, compassion and gratitude.

CW: You lead Hannah, Natalie, and Iman through a process where they wrote and heard their own eulogies. Have you done this exercise, yourself? What’s it like? What’s the hardest or most interesting thing about it?

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By The Chopra Well

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7:10PM PST on Dec 19, 2012


8:30PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

I had this exercise recently with my husband, but his obituary was published after he succumbed to cancer. now i have a greater appreciation for waking up in the morning.

5:29PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

I am an organ donor and I also plan on donating my body to medical science. There won't be a funeral because my relatives and I are not close. If they did not spend time with me in life, I do not want them at my funeral.

9:21AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

I'm a former journalist, so I've long had in mind to write my own obit -- seeing the cringeworthy articles that came in from the relatives after the person's death -- but I've never thought of it from this POV. Thanks!

9:29AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

Writing your own eulogy may actually be a helpful exercise for making people aware of just how fragile life is, how short the time really is, and how much more they may want to accomplish before the inevitable end. Have you gotten done that which you most want to do? The clock is ticking. Time is running out. Hit that bucket list hard. Do what you can for the world. Most importantly, make sure that the people you love really do know that you love them. Quit wasting time. Live.

7:19AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

Dana W.- That's not too controlling, hon. You can specify whatever you wish.

6:01AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

I don't think it's too controlling at all Dana! You're life, why can't YOU choose how you wish to be "sent off " as we say?!

1:53AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

Thanks...guess that's better than buying your coffin and keeping it in the basement!

11:23PM PST on Dec 2, 2012

I'd rather write one for the Republican Party...

8:03PM PST on Dec 2, 2012

I often think of writing my ulogy. No one knows you better than yourself.
Thanks, bev

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