Once in a while it’s worthwhile therapy to ponder your own death, Charles Dickens’ style.
The world ain’t so focused on you that it wouldn’t keep going if you died, so it’s a valuable exercise to try it out your mortality for a while.
When I suggest this to people in counseling I often call it Dicken’s Therapy.
It comes from the Dicken’s story of “A Christmas Carol” where elderly miser Scrooge is made to examine his life.
Scrooge is not swayed by reviewing his past life, nor by seeing the life of those around him in the present, but he is moved to massive change by being taken to his future funeral and finding that it is not at all what he hoped for.
The therapy of imagining your own death.
I also call it Mark Twain therapy, based on the Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer version that has the two boys go off on wild adventures and come back to find everyone in the town’s church giving them a funeral because they have been given up as dead.
At their funeral they listen in and hear people speak about them in ways they’d never known when they were alive.
Therapy by mentally extrapolating on from your own death is a common enough idea.
Visit your own funeral Dicken’s style. Hover over your casket. Write out your own eulogy.
What would you WANT people to be saying about you?
What would they ACTUALLY say about you?
Are these two the same? And if not what can you do to close the gap?
What will you leave behind when you are gone, ie what is your legacy?
I often add in a sense of urgency and comparison by asking, “What if you died tomorrow?”
And yes I ask myself these questions too.
In fact it helped me make a decision just last week.
This online self help work is part of the legacy I want to leave to the world, but much of it is still being developed. I have much more I want to offer here.
However when I asked myself the “What if I died tomorrow?’ question, it cleared up one piece.
Hopefully this piece will be ready this week.
When I announce it, if you agree it’s worthwhile then you can join in. You’ll be able to make a difference to the lives of others and add it as another part your legacy too.
Oh, and if I do die tomorrow, then the few people who I’ve already spoken to about this can take this as part of my last will and testament. Go-ahead to find a way to do it for me. Thanks.
-Dr Martin Russell