Monday, February 9, 2009

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Life Lessons, and Relationships

Not too long ago a friend recommended that I read the book Life Lessons by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. As experts on death and dying she and co-author David Kessler write about their views on how to life life based upon the lessons they have learned in working with those who are dying. I have to say that I was at first put off by the book. I was thinking that it was full of trite sayings. Then I realized that this book was written while Kubler-Ross herself was dying and that she was trying to pack in as much wisdom that she had gained over the years and wanted to share before she herself died. Then I began to see the book as a treasure full of knowledge that I need to pay attention to.

In her chapter on relationships she talks about how all our encounters, however brief, are relationships and important for learning how to love. In this I think about my wife to whom no one is a stranger. She makes friends with everyone she meets and builds relationships with those people such as grocery clerks, librarians, postal workers, and others with whom she meets just once or sees on a regular basis. She sees each person as important and each encounter as more important than any task she happens to be trying to accomplish. Almost always we are some of the last people to leave church or events because there are too many people to encounter. I used to get irritated by this but have realized that I have much to learn from her. I have tended to focus on the task at hand and get preoccupied by thinking of the next task. To her the person is more important.By watching her I am slowly learning to focus my attention and to be mindful in my encounters with people.

So I am enjoying the book so far and recommend Life Lessons to anyone trying to live a fuller and more meaningful life.

Thought for the day

"The common denominator in all your relationships is you".

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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