“Before I die…”: The Inspirational Wall that gives Hope to all

September 19, 2016

Too often our lives are jaded by stress, despair, and hopelessness. The demands of life weigh heavily on us, and it’s all too easy (sometimes even necessary) to put aside our dreams and aspirations.  After a while, we can lose sight of them altogether. Then, when we go through the many troughs of life, such as grief or depression, the struggle to resurface is that much harder. We may feel we have nothing to work our way back up to.

One inspirational woman chose to transform her grief into art. Art that has the power to breathe life and hope back into our beaten down societies. Candy Chang, a talented artist living in New Orleans, has created something truly wonderful out of her own, personal healing process. It all began in 2011; Candy was in the midst of grief, struggling to make sense of her life and what she was feeling. She was searching for a way in which to express herself and reach out to others fighting their own battles. An abandoned house and some spray paint later, the ‘Before I Die’ wall was born. See below the before and after shots of her cool masterpiece!

It has become normal to feel stressed. It is not unusual to feel stuck in a life you’ve unintentionally ‘fallen into’. We’re often so preoccupied with that next promotion at work, getting on the housing ladder, making sure we always look perfect – we forget about what we really want, and what’s most important to us.  Candy Chang believes that it does not have to be so. Her ‘Before I Die’ creation proves that sometimes people just need a little reminder; an opportunity to take some time for a bit of self-reflection.

Let me paint you a picture: a middle-aged man is on his usual morning commute to work.  Exhausted after a fitful night’s sleep fretting over his divorce, he hastily consumes his 2nd coffee of the day, wondering how he’ll push through until evening.  Ahead, he sees a crowd gathering in front of a wall. His eyes scan dozily over the commotion as he passes. People are writing on the wall… They’re writing on what looks like an oversized chalkboard! They’re filling in the blanks of lines with spray-painted text, ‘Before I die I want to__________’. He looks around bewildered: women with babies, elderly couples, trendy youngsters, men and women in suits; are all busy scrawling away. Why are they all smiling?

“Before I die I want to__________”:

“…Experience life. Travel the world” “…Write a bestseller” “…obtain total enlightenment” “…[be] a part of a positive change, rather than observing it” “…Save a life” “…Sail my own boat” “…Be happy.”

He stops dead in his tracks. He cannot remember the last time he felt truly happy; he cannot recall when last he gave any thought to his dreams of starting his own  business. It’s been years since he took his daughter camping. When was the last time he did something to help someone else? This is not life; this is not living, he realises with a jolt. A crowd continues to gather near him, wearing thoughtful expressions. He contemplates a little longer before continuing on. He finds it very hard to concentrate for the rest of the day.

A year later, we return to our man. He’s still a little stressed – but only because he’s got his own budding business to run! He’s recently back from a weekend away with his daughter and there’s a lot to catch up on. Now, he walks to work every morning with a spring in his step, with the promise of a fulfilling career and  life ahead.

Moral of the story, folks: a little hope goes a long way! I’m not saying that every passer-by is going to be able to start their own business within a year, but planting the seeds of hope can kickstart a positive knock-on effect. This could lead to making small changes that will have a real, positive impact on your quality of life, and that of your loved ones. Candy says the artistic experiment showed her that “she was not alone” in feeling lost and disconnected to the world. It helped her “restore perspective and share intimately” with others, despite being an introvert. Visit her website to find out more about her!

Her empathy has reached the far corners of the globe. Images of her art project were shared on social media, and soon people got in contact to see if they could bring this inspirational wall to their own countries and communities. Fast forward to 2016: there are “Before I Die” walls in 73 different countries, in 36 different languages! You can find them in Denmark, Jamaica, China, Germany, Spain, Iraq and the UK, to name just a few.  Dreamers everywhere have banded together to breathe passion and positivity back into life.

The wonderful Before I Die book is a vibrant, hardback portfolio of these incredible international wall displays. See below an excerpt from the book:

Click here to buy your very own copy! Treasure it as a constant reminder to fulfill your dreams and support others to do the same. There’s also the opportunity to request permission to bring the “Before I die” movement to your own city. Become an ambassador of hope and inspiration for your community: visit her page to find out how!

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