Bronnie Ware

Bronnie Ware

23 July, 2012
On life and death
Author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying-A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing
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Bronnie Ware is the author of the full-length memoir, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying - A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. She also runs an online personal growth and songwriting course, has released albums of original songs and writes a well-loved blog called Inspiration and Chai, including articles that have been translated into several languages.  Pascale Seiler, Ecozine’s Wellness Expert Blogger, talks to Bronnie about her views on life and death.
 
Pascale: Why don't you share with us first-who is Bronnie Ware?
 
Bronnie: Born in Sydney, Australia in the 1960’s. No studies immediately after school – I had a career in the banking industry instead. I studied music later in life, due to my love of songwriting. I am also a gentle natured humanitarian at heart, who believes that everyone has a story worth hearing.
 
Pascale: What are your top five values for living and what is your personal belief on dying?
 
Bronnie:            
1.Noble speech – no gossip, no lies.
2. Always honour my own heart.
3. Be kind.
4. Live in gratitude.
5. Breathe fresh air.
I’ve been around too many dying people, including those who smiled joyously at something or someone I could not see as they were very close to passing on. I cannot help but believe there is more to go to, or to return to. Dying is just another transition in our soul’s journey.
 
Pascale: What personally drew the topics of death and dying into your world?
 
Bronnie: Although I’ve always been quite a philosopher and accepted that death is a part of life, it was not a conscious choice to become interested in death and dying. The field became a part of my calling without me truly seeing it coming. I was searching for a job with heart. I found it!
 
Pascale: Then what brought you to work in palliative care? How did working in the caring profession alter you?
 
Bronnie: The job as a palliative caregiver chose me, really. I wanted to do a live-in job so that I didn’t have to pay rent or have a mortgage. I didn’t want to get caught up in those payment cycles, enabling me to be freer to work on my songwriting. But the work soon became my main job.  I am a much stronger and happier person as a result of all I learned through my time with dying people.
 
Pascale: It's amazingly interesting I have read lots of books on how to deal with death once death descends on our doorstep. Examples of authors that come to mind would be people like Elizabeth Kubler Ross. What grabbed my attention about your book is that your book was one of the first choosing to laser in on the regrets of the dying.  Why not share with us what the top five regrets of the dying were?
 
Bronnie:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the life others expect of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
 
Pascale: For me this is very liberating as it helps signal lots of messages to the living. What are your thoughts on this?
 
Bronnie: Although the book talks openly about death and regrets, it is actually a book about life, courage and hope.
 
Pascale: What personal life lessons have you gained from working with the dying? And how if any has this changed the way you see life?
 
Bronnie: That at the end of your life, what other people think of you is irrelevant. So why worry about it before then? Live a good and kind life, but always be strong and stay true to your own heart, above all else. Your life is your own choice. Your happiness is your own choice. This becomes even more obvious when you are looking back on your life at the end.
 
Pascale: Bronnie, you have written this great book entitled the Top Five Regrets of the Dying. What is your intention or desire for readers reading this book?
 
Bronnie: That they find the courage to live a life true to themselves and that they are able to revisit the book when their sense of hope needs renewing.
 
Pascale: Another way of saying it is if you knew you had done one thing with this book what would that be?
 
Bronnie: Given people the permission and courage to be themselves, and taught them how to realize their own worth.
 
Pascale: Now that you are aware of the five regrets of the dying what regret/s, if any, are you ensuring are fulfilled in this life time?
 
Bronnie: I’ve learned to have compassion for myself for things from my past that I might have done differently. I prefer compassion to regret. Now I am a different person, much stronger, so I have the courage to make the right choices. This ensures I am not creating any future regrets.
 
Pascale: To the readers reading this out there is there any final words of inspirational wisdom that you'd like to share whether it is on life or death that would be wonderful?
 
Bronnie: Listen to your heart. That is where your answer lies. What you need to know will surface during quiet times, when not forced. Be courageous enough to trust in each step as it reveals itself, without knowing exactly how it will all turn out, but with the faith that your heart will guide you through each step as it surfaces. It is leading in the right direction.
 
For more information on Bronnie Ware, visit: www.bronnieware.com.

 

By: Pascale Seiler
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