Piers Morgan interviewed American stage and screen actress Valerie Harper last night on CNN. After winning her battle with lung cancer in 2011, she has recently been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Her doctors told her that she has only weeks or months to live. She decided to go public with her health issue to remind us to focus on the things that are really important in life and to live life to the fullest. Knowledge of one’s impending death strips away the minors in our thinking and allows us to get to the majors – the true heart of the matter. She looked and sounded radiantly happy, even joyful at times, and it took my breath away. It was the kind of happy that we rarely see but recognize it as coming from somewhere deep, deep inside.
Some things she said she has learned and wanted to share were:
Don’t miss one hour of today thinking about tomorrow
Whatever lies ahead is just that – ahead – and not now
Refuse to think of the should haves, would haves or could haves in your life
Her point was to not let fear of your tomorrows or regrets of your yesterdays control your life. Since none of us gets out of here alive we need to learn to enjoy the ride. Each of us has our own unique lessons to learn and it makes sense to surround ourselves with positive energy as we are learning them. Yes, issues come up, challenges can momentarily reroute our path but everything that happens can be viewed in either a positive or negative frame – an opportunity to grow in wisdom or not.
Valerie also mentioned the topic of forgiveness. She said it is giving up the wish that the past could have been different and releasing the energy we are using to keep those regrets alive in our minds. Better to use that energy making today all that it can be.
When Piers Morgan asked her how she wanted to be remembered she said, “Up and off the couch!”
Valerie Harper is such an inspiration – a model – of how to accept the inevitable without anger or regret but simply with a sense of peace. A knowing and accepting in her heart that ‘all is as it should be.’ In facing her imminent death she is valiantly using the last bit of energy she has to reach out to us with a gentle reminder about the importance of truly living in the now. She is modeling a love of humanity that is so heartfelt it seems like her life mission. She is teaching us how to live as well as how to pass on with dignity and grace.
Watching her was both inspiring and humbling. I thank her for all that she has done to entertain us in the past and all that she is doing now to guide us in the present. Happy journey Valerie!
Let’s make it a great few days by putting her ideas in action!