My grandpa had been dying for 14 months. He suffered from a kidney cancer. The kidney was excised, for 8 years he had been enjoying his second chance. Then metastases broke off. 14 months of his illness exhausted us physically and mentally. And Christmas was coming like it is coming right now. My mom and my sister were wondering: should we invite the whole family, as we used to do every year? Is it better not to invite anybody? Can we find another solution? Grandpa couldn’t walk then, so we carried him in his office armchair and obviously he didn’t like the idea of people coming and seeing him in this state. He said: they will come and take pity on me. Do you know when he passed away? On December 23rd.
$ At all costs he didn’t want to celebrate Christmas.
$ I think people hate Christmas. I mean adults. Children enjoy presents, Santa Claus etc. Since my grandpa died I observe how obituary columns change at this time of the year and my impression is people prefer to die than to live Christmas again. That president, this singer, that philosopher and I’m only talking about celebrities. My grandpa is not among them. I must find statistics related to this. Statistics taking into account the climate (these months, the very looking out of the window leads to depression) and religion (what holidays generate similar emotions by Jews, Muslims, Hindu).
$ You were talking about a conclusion that had been growing in you since your grandfather’s death.
$ Right. The conclusion is: I don’t want to have either a grave or a funeral. I came to this conclusion when my grandpa had died and we were not only exhausted but also in despair and I discovered how much red tape there is in funerals. I found it inhuman to force the family to handle this when what they need is to weep the dead in the first place. Adrenaline starts to loosen up its grip, the ocean is still full of tears and tactful people ask you routine questions: have you paid the rent for your cemetery plot? Where do you wish to hold the funeral ceremony? What flowers? Funeral meal menu? Which cinerary urn? It is a huge industry that flourishes because people prefer having a row with a gravedigger, a hewer or an undertaker than to feel grief and loss. My grandpa died a couple of years ago so my decision has not been taken on the spur of a moment. I even put it down in my last will.
$ What does you will say?
$ That I specifically want neither a funeral nor a grave. My will is to be cremated and I want my ashes to be strewed in an appropriate place.
$ I feel moved. It’s so thoughtful of you. You don’t want anybody to get through the usual red tape after you die. Instead, you want them to be able to cry out all their sadness as long as they need it.
$ That’s right. What I can do is to “be the change I want to see in the world.” This business has been burgeoning because we all comply with it, because of the tradition, because of the church. And I say: no!
$ You said the Covey’s exercise had been tough for you since you hadn’t concentrated on the very exercise but on your own reflections on the ceremony.
$.Yes. I escaped into a substitute subject and I was very clever to chose this particular one because it’s tough, too.
$ World championship in substitute subjects.
$ My will solves another problem: there won’t be any speeches. I’m so afraid I’ll fail, I’ll let people down, I won’t meet up their expectations. When you started reading the Covey’s text I sweated like a pig because I thought to myself: then it will be too late to do anything and I will still be there only with my goals, plans, dreams. In one word: disappointment. With one difference: now in a cold corpse. So I switched to the subject of the details of a virtual funeral.
$ The reflection you had after your grandfather’s death came along with the question we are handling today: targets and expectations. Perfect timing.
$ I got stuck at the very beginning because firstly I mocked the word “mission” and then I escaped from working on it.
$ May I suggest something? Have a look at the third part of bagua 1. What are your professional dreams? Remember: sky is the limit.
$ I don’t know how to do that, but my dream is to work not for money. In my dream, money is earned itself, a bit more than I need, and I work only if it’s play: I only do what I like. It implies for example saying goodbye to clients who try to humiliate me at the first meeting. At present, if I come across such people, I think of tactics, defense and attack because I need their money.
$ Confucius said “When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.” Anyway, as for your dream of money making itself. Could it be a multilevel barter? A gas plant warms your house in exchange for your services, a grocer’s delivers food and a theatre – tickets?
$ No, no, it can’t be like this. A barter doesn’t allow me to change gas plants, grocer’s, theatres easily. Secondly, one day I’ll be old and weak, unable to work. How am I going to get anything then?
$ It can be specified in the contract.
$ Do you think it’s possible?
$ It’s neither about what I think nor about whether it’s possible or not. It’s about igniting your imagination so that you can see your harmonious life and then live it. Two things. One of your priorities is financial security, whatever it means. The other thing: you dream of pure joy at work. Is it so?
$ Yes and yes. Financial security is among my priorities in bagua 4. The other ‘yes’: I wish joy could be my inner barometer telling me whether to do a thing or leave it. Joy, i.e. not duties, contracts, promises, good manners, conventions or financial results. And the interesting thing is what I do is not a core question. I like doing many things: designing furniture, creating websites, human resources management, cooking.
$ To sum up: joy is a priority. What else?
$ Honesty. And integrity. I can’t imagine myself merchandising GMO food.
$ In time you’ll be able to complete bagua 1. Let’s jump to bagua 9 now, where most of your gaps are.
$ There’s one huge gap, hahahaha!
$ I can see something…
$ Yes, I put down one priority: fulfillment.