6 Second Moments

A low self-image is usually not based on fact but on mismanaged memory. – Orrin Woodward

The phone rang in the middle of the night. It was the Veterans Administration Hospital calling to inform my mother that my father had passed away. I was 7 and where I slept and where the phone was located were in close proximity. After my mother received the news, she began calling family members and made the comment, “What am I suppose to do with a 7-year-old boy?” Overhearing that, I processed her words to mean I was a burden.

That one comment, when uttered, lasted all of 6 seconds, but my decision to let it define who I thought I was lasted for decades.

I often use this example to show the power of what I call 6 Second Moments – a few seconds worth of words from another which can have the power to shape our identity and what we feel we are capable of for the entirety of our lives.

In adulthood, that memory came flooding back and I realized how I had loyally lived out...

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We're All In Hospice

You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.– Rumi

We are all in hospice. From the moment we arrive through the portal of birth, we begin the journey towards another, equally shared portal for our exit.

The origin of the word hospice refers to being either guests or hosts. This world is our host and we are its guests. As guests moving towards that same exit portal, we are free to ‘do life’ with regard to how we think, how we speak and how we choose to treat the billions of other guests who are journeying towards the same destination. Regardless of what kind of guests we choose to be, the world is a non-partisan host whose arrival portal remains open to every soul who enters.

After an evening meditation class, I drove to an area hospice to be with a member of our spiritual community. His crossing through the exit portal was immediate. I placed one hand near his heart and chest as the respiratory fluid shook his body. I sang his favorite congregational song...

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