In the midst of all that has emerged in this wild year, Pat, dear friend and treasured member of our faculty of coaches at Hudson entered the final stage of her life and left this earth at the start of October. She spent a month in our local Santa Barbara hospital followed by several months in a home care setting. A true sage and mentor to so many -- a lifelong learner, mother of five, PhD holder, author of three books, master coach and a model for living well -- she will be well remembered.
Pat was also a self-described extrovert who enjoyed nothing more than sitting together over a long conversation about life, books, politics and more. So when the last months of her life became intertwined with this pandemic; her family and friends were unable to come together face to face, to sit together in intimate conversation. Yes, there were small gestures -- when she left the hospital and was transported to another setting, several of us made wild signs and stood at the exit singing good cheers to her; the flower drop offs, the notes; but through those many months her contact with others was largely at a distance and over the phone.
Sounds hard, and while I am sure it was -- I also witnessed once again, all I learned from Pat about using all that we are given well; remembering that connection to others is the key to a good life; and always finding the learning -- even at the end of life. And so she did as she had always lived -- she adapted, reached out, reached in, touched what was meaningful and took what she could learn at this time in her life.
The night before she passed, we shared a farewell over the phone and I asked her if she had any advice for me about this life -- she said this: don’t wait, don’t wait. I love those words and I think she was speaking into the lives of all of us. Don’t wait, live now, take risks, go big, experiment and find the meaning and the learning wherever you are and in whatever your work is at this time in life.
We are living in extraordinary times and while it’s easy to grouse about all we miss, Pat’s reminder is a powerful one and I suspect she would invite all of us to elaborate on don’t wait in our own lives. Here is the spirit of a few of her words of wisdom to contemplate in this season of giving thanks.
Live more, this is the one life we have. Notice what is possible and what is just out of reach that might be a wonderful challenge to seek out. Pay attention to what matters and perhaps what matters even more in these times we live in. No time to waste.
Learn more, it’s simply the best way to grow. It might be a book, a poem, a class, a full-blown seminar; or it might be walking in the woods and noticing the birds and trees. Learning is a balm for the brain and the heart. Share your learning with others.
Love more, it’s the great elixir of life. There is a sense of fragility in our midst in these times and loving more may be one of the most important acts for all of us. Finding simple and small ways -- a balm for the giver and receiver. Reaching out, extending a hand, helping a neighbor, noticing where a small difference will matter.
Leave the world a better place -- each day and in each interaction. Connection, understanding, coming together instead of coming apart. Treading lightly on our beloved Earth, seeing those in need and understanding we are all connected to everything and everyone.