Jennifer post: What can you take with you when you die? Redux

I was walking down the corridor at home trying to figure out where I’d left something. A book. I was very frustrated, and I went from room to room, searching everywhere for this book.

But I couldn’t find it. I was getting very grumpy with myself. And then an idea popped into my head: What can I take with me when I die? I can’t take this book I’m looking for, so why am I getting so frustrated and grumpy?

And then I thought to myself: Not only can I not take this book with me, but I can’t take any of the physical things around me, things that often preoccupy my thoughts. Like all the junk in the garage. Or the side curtains that are starting to fade. Or the mattress in the spare bedroom that needs replacing. Or the plants that need repotting.

These things that really don’t matter, yet I think about them. And other things too.

And I thought: I can’t take a clean garage with me when I die. I can’t take new curtains, or a new mattress or plants in bigger pots. Or the sundry other things that I think about from time to time.

So what can I take with me when I die?

When I’m quite happy to take my last breath, when I’m about to move on to my next adventure, I would like to take with me the things that matter to me – like the joy and love that I’ve experienced during my life; the love I’ve shared with my husband and my children. And the beauty of nature, and art.

The beauty of a field of wild flowers.
The beauty of beauty.
And the deliciousness of fresh and exciting ideas.
And of discoveries.
And mysteries.

What I don’t want to take with me is anger and frustration and greed and a desperate need for more and more things. 

So many of us spend our lives working hard at acquiring things that we’re going to leave behind: a big house. A nice car. Beautiful clothes, and expensive nick-hacks.


Some of us work hard at leaving behind a legacy, which is generous. But sometimes the cost of that legacy can be ill-health, or acrimonious relationships, or anger. Or disappointment when things don’t work out the way you’d hoped.

I finally found the book, at last. It was where I’d put it. Lost things are always where you put them.

And then I thought: I’m just going to forgive myself now for getting into this state of anger and frustration, and I’m going to look at everything around me quite differently.

I then shifted into a place of peace and equanimity, because I realised that none of it was important. What’s important is relaxation, and happiness, and joy and love.

These are the only really important things you can take with you when you take your last breath.

Jennifer –

Jennifer Cluff pic 2 copy

16 thoughts on “Jennifer post: What can you take with you when you die? Redux

  1. Haha – hardly genius Steve – but hey, I’ll always take a compliment which contains the words “brilliant,” “good looking like George Clooney,” and “genius.”



  2. Ha ha ha Bill.

    Jen, I’m glad I can comment on this. I had this discussion with someone at work this week. All the ‘stuff’ we accumulate in life. Not just the physical stuff either. When you let it go you are so much lighter. I read a quote this week I quite liked “The spiritual path has more to do with subtraction than with addition…How much can you leave behind?” Meister Eckhart

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crazy business humans with their stuff! Donna I’m at it again-ironing tiny pieces of fabric. I was going to throw it all away put I love it all, every last little scrap. I’m just going to have to take that love with me. And my love for you. Jen


      • I know what you mean Jen. And I know that you weave each piece of fabric together with love and you have so much of it to share. I love you too. I’m so glad are paths were meant to cross.

        I did a mixed media art class last Sunday which was fantastic. I’ll never look at a scrap of paper the same way again.


  3. Jen,
    I read this post while I was walking the Camino and thought how appropriate your posting was for me to read that particular day. That day I had walked past some Camino graffiti which very simply said “Love is all that matters”.

    And how true that is!


    • Arlene, I loved the photo of you in Santiago! And more Compostelas! Now they represent something so wonderful! You will be taking every step with you! Your right love is all that matters! jen


  4. Hi Jen & Bill – happy travels to India. Like I said in my email to you, I stopped accepting ‘things’ a number of years ago, and only accept bottles of red wine or champagne (if people absolutely HAVE to give me something!) but mostly I ask & hope for TIME – meet me for a walk, coffee, a picnic, a chat; any way to connect rather than just spend!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that Britta. TIME rather than MONEY.
      Next time someone asks me what I want that’s what I’m going to say.

      Thanks Bill – I still learn and still get so much from your blog.


        • I agree Bill. I was walking with Greg today and we were talking about goals. We need new walking goals. Any time you want meet half way and go for a walk let us know.


          • Hey Donna, we’re up for that! But we’re off on Thursday to India, then not back until oct 9th – then I’ll probably be coming up to Brissie for QUT duties mid October – so we might be able to do something up your neck of the woods.

            And hey, we could go back to that Turkish joint!!

            bb xx


    • Yes that was a brilliant thought you sent thru Britta – time and commitment rather than a gift that you probably don’t need. So much more nourishing emotionally and spiritually. Very clever of you!!


    • Britta,
      I love that ‘TIME’, yes such a wonderful gift! But I also like the bottle of champagne and/or wine 🙂


      • Yes, the idea of the bottles was so people who would not take notice of my ‘no present’ edict, could at least assuage their need to give. I like it as a choice of compromise!! 🙂


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