I wrote the following piece at the end of December in 2017, just shy of 3 years into the grieving journey that ripped apart my heart while simultaneously altering my thinking, my spirit, and the trajectory of my life. So much changed inside me and around me after losing 4 immediate family members in less than 2.5 years (reflected in the writing below), yet tonight I sit here marveling at how much more has changed in the 4 years since this was written, and especially at how grateful I am for grief's tremendous lessons that continue to nudge me to embrace the unknown, to trust God's plan for my life, to find happiness within, to judge less and to forgive easily, and to live largely, generously, fearlessly, and authentically.
I find myself wondering if this piece isn't perhaps timeless in its message. At the very least, it's certainly worthy of being reshared this year as we say goodbye to a roller coaster 12 months filled with so much upheaval, uncertainty, grieving, celebrating, reevaluating, and changing perspective...all the exact things happening in my life 4 years ago that led me to write this in the first place. ❤
As I ponder the last few years of my life, and especially 2017 as it comes to a close, I am struck profoundly by the exquisitness of life - by its seasons, its cycles, and its symbiotic relationships: by the connection that exists between joy and heartache, between life and death, between happiness and sadness, between growth and stagnation, between holding on and letting go, between living in the moment and dying slowly in fear. It has become abundantly clear to me that in order to fully grasp life's meaning and perfectly appreciate life's preciousness, one must experience the bad, the hard, the challenging, the sad, the grief, the loss, the heartache, the despair, the stuck, the fear, the disappointment, because it is then -and perhaps only then- that we begin to truly understand, to sincerely empathize, to fully love (without judgement), to actively listen, to wholly forgive, to loosen our grip, and to embrace this journey we call life. How would we know joy -I mean really know joy - if we didn't experience moments absent of joy: moments of utter darkness and despair, moments of loneliness, desolation, heartache, fear, questioning?
For all the sadness I have endured in these last few years, I have also been blessed repeatedly with extraordinary joy. For every loss there has been a birth; for every funeral there has been a wedding or other joyous family celebration; for every disappointment there has been a welcome message for growth and understanding; for every health crisis there has been a remarkable new healer and/or healing modality that has come into my life; and for every challenge/heartache there has been a resulting gift (new friendship, special kindness, healing, enlightenment). Though not in every case, in many of these situations had one heartache/loss/challenge not occurred, the other situation/blessing/end result would not have occurred either. When you begin to see this beautiful pattern of give and take in your life, everything is suddenly clearer and nothing is ever without meaning or without betterment for your evolution to your higher self. And with evolution to your higher self (wisdom, grace, intuition, forgiveness) comes a greater light that you emit and gift to the world in return. Wow, what a perfect part of God's masterful design!
Because I have grieved repeated loss, I have been gifted with eyes that see ever more clearly, a heart that feels ever more deeply, an intuition that senses ever more acutely, and a spirit that exudes and desires ever more passionately. I am exceedingly more cognizant of life's fragility and the joy that exists in the here and now. What an extraordinary gift life is, even when it's hard!
I forge ahead into 2018 with a heart softened with wisdom, with a spirit renewed with courage, hope, and determination, with a resolve to live and love with less judgement, and with an energy hungry for adventure and change. I believe I can make a difference, and I will continue to do so, no matter where this life journey may take me. I welcome what's ahead, and for the first time in my life I am determined to make room for the unknown. There is no place for immobilizing fear in change and growth, and no place for hesitation in living life to the fullest!
So, here's to all of you, those I know well, and those whom I barely know, those who love me, and those who may not; those who are living their dream, and those in a cycle of fear; those who are celebrating, and those who are grieving; those who are happy, and those who are angry; those who are forgiving, and those who are scorning; those who are changing, and those who are resisting; those who are listening, and those who are judging; those who are trying, and those who are stuck; those who feel hopeful, and those who feel despair. Know I am embracing you all with my love and my light and my hopes for your individual futures, as will as for our collective enlightenment. Imagine the change we could accomplish in the hearts of the world if we each adopted this mentality! Will you join me?
Here's to a New Year filled with the blessings of health, happiness, love, family, friendship, and continual growth. May we each recognize, welcome, and embrace life's incredible beauty and perfection, even while in the midst of our challenges and our sufferings (and through the ups and downs of our hopes and our fears), and may we each embrace our differences and resolve to judge less knowing it's the freedom to be who we are that makes this nation great, and the ability to love and forgive that is the greatest gift ever given us.
Happy New Year, one and all! God bless!