"Meditate. Breathe consciously. Listen. Pay attention. Treasure every moment. Make the connection."
— Oprah Winfrey
— Oprah Winfrey
OK, so many of you know by now that I had to say goodbye to my baby, Harley, last week. My beautiful, furry ball of unconditional love has been with me through all the trials and joys of the last 16 years. He was my heart and I miss him terribly. But I am also grateful for all the years we spent together and the valuable lessons he taught me.
I experienced a major life change almost 10 years ago. I could never have imagined all the gifts that would appear as a result of turning a corner that would change my life forever. In many ways, I feel that I got a second chance, that I was reborn. Never again would I look at life in quite the same way.
The last 10 years have not always been easy...but it's been a helluva ride! My whole life has opened up, to varying degrees, because I learned how to take responsibility for my actions, ask for help, and show up, even when I didn't feel like it. I have also discovered that we are incredibly resilient creatures and have access to an inner fortitude that we don't always know exists. I have come to believe that people are inherently good at heart. (This has been proven to me more times than I can count, which essentially knocked the cynicism right out of me!)
But perhaps most importantly, I now understand that, fundamentally, we are not all that different from the next person. We all share many of the same hopes and dreams and fears. We all appreciate being treated kindly and having the opportunity to do the same for another person.
I have mentioned in previous posts that, like many people, I am no stranger to loss. After last week's events, I now find myself right smack back in the middle of the grieving process...one I vehemently dislike, by the way. I hate feeling out of control and dominated by emotions that won't "behave." I have been here before, and I know that the only way to get through this is to go through this. ( I seriously wish there was another way, but sadly, no one consulted me when that little rule was made up!)
But one of the gifts of having been in this spot before is that I also know that joy and beauty and happiness have not disappeared, simply because I feel bad. They are always there, just waiting for me to focus on them. I learned this lesson, several years ago, after a particularly painful loss. I was a few months into the grieving process, surviving each day in a kind of automated state. I wasn't fully present for anything during those months. I was numb. One morning, I opened my eyes and saw the sunrise, something I had done many other mornings, but this time it was different. I was fully present in that moment and really saw the sunrise. It was a very symbolic moment for me because I felt that I was reawakening to my life in a completely new way. I realized how much I had missed out on simply because I was too busy or preoccupied to notice. I vowed not to make that mistake again.
So, as I begin this process once again, I will try to remember to be gentle with myself, accept help graciously, express my love and gratitude to the people in my life, and treasure each and every moment.