It’s the end of May, and my husband and I have already been to three funerals this year. Two of them were for people who died way too young. During all of this, our cat, Gracie, went missing. Needless-to-say, these losses have taken me a while to process: why did their lives end so soon and what can I learn from these experiences? If you know me, I won’t dwell in the negativity for long---I can’t. Instead I search for the glimmer of light in the darkness. So please keep reading, as my goal is to inspire and uplift you which, in turn, will get me through this, too.
I still don’t have a reason for their passing, but I have learned that I need to be okay with the not-knowing. It’s natural for us to want to understand the why behind these situations. Maybe it’s because we think if we can only justify it in some way, it will help us move along the path of healing. However, when the answers don’t come right away, we must let go of the need to know so that the healing process can begin. Spending energy on trying to find the answers will only hold us back and one thing I do know is we don’t have time to waste! We need to enjoy our precious lives!
When I first started studying yoga with my teacher, she discussed the subject of impermanence---i.e., death. I would get so agitated during these discussions that I finally asked if we could talk about something else. This topic was so negative to me and I have a tendency to only want to focus on the positive aspects of life. But, she was just trying to teach me one of the important lessons yoga teaches us---everything IS impermanent. When we understand this concept, we can truly wake up to life and enjoy it fully. Because we know change is inevitable, we tend to see the beauty in the world more clearly and cherish every moment, person and experience. Conversely, when we are experiencing challenging times, the fact that we know it’s not permanent can actually help get us through the rough patches of life---this too shall pass! A good lesson that I finally understood.
So, when tragedies like these happen, I find a moment when I can sit with my thoughts, take several long, deep breaths and mentally list what really matters in life to me. Then I focus my energy on those things, which are:
My definition of health includes our physical, mental and spiritual health. They are all interconnected and are important to nurture. That’s why I find yoga such a great practice. It touches on each of those aspects of our health. Taking care of our mind, body and spirit are a priority, but so is self-love. In Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying to be Me, she proclaims that loving yourself is key to living a healthy and fulfilling life. Furthermore, she strongly believes that the best answer to healing (physically, mentally and emotionally) is self-love. She states: “Realizing that I am love was the most important lesson I learned, allowing me to release all fear, and that’s the key that saved my life.”
Family and Friends
After these experiences, my husband and I hold each other a little closer these days. We communicate our love many times throughout the day and express how thankful we are to have each other. I am sharing my feelings more with my extended family and friends too. Interestingly, I’ve also noticed it’s been easier for me to let go of some of the anger and judgement I have had in the past. I realize that many of those feelings are over small stuff and it’s kind of ridiculous to hold on to these negative feelings. Our relationships are so important and emotional connections are precious.
Appreciate Every Moment
My teacher’s lesson on impermanence has really stuck with me. It has helped me become so appreciative of my life as it is now. Plus, I’m living more creatively and expressively. I'm creating more joyous moments with the simple aspects of life and also taking more risks in order to expand and grow and experience as much as I can in this beautiful world we are blessed to be a part of. To quote Anita Moorjani one more time:
“Just enjoy and trust in the ride of life.”
These are the things that are truly important to me. I hope this article helps inspire you to take inventory on what really matters to you. Namaste!