The Messiness of life….Love and loss
Just over six years ago, I attended my very first vipassana meditation retreat.
You know, the silent meditation retreat? Yes, 10 days of pure silence, no talking. So many people in my life laughed and said there is no way you can be silent for 10 days! Whilst mentally challenged by the idea, something drew me to it.
That 10 days was transformational in so many ways. I didn’t talk for the 10 days and actually found it liberating! When it came to talk again at the end, I actually found it strange.
I learnt so much over those 10 days, including what the buddhists’ refer to as The Law of Impermanence. The law states that everything in life is not permanent, so one must not crave or desire anything as everything has a beginning and an end. No exceptions. This means from the tiniest flower, to our thoughts, our desires, our relationships, a car, a job, our bodies, etc, etc.
At the time, I was at the peak of my eating disorder, so I related this to food and body. I related it to an intense desire for my body to be perfect and to the extreme diet and exercise regime I was punishing myself with. I came back from the retreat and plastered posters everywhere around me to remind me to not crave or desire, the good or bad with anything in my life, because it was not permanent.
Even with my moods, I tried to not get hung up on lows, because I knew they would pass, they were not permanent. Not craving or desiring holding to those good moods, now that was more challenging! I wanted them to stay!
This philosophy of The Law of Impermanence has stayed with me, and whilst I will not pretend I have lived it all of these years since that first retreat, it has come back smacking me in the face in these past few weeks.
To understand, these past few weeks have been some the most challenging weeks for me as an adult. They have tested me in more ways that I could have ever thought possible.
For those that have visited my website, you would have seen the pictures of my two beautiful puppies throughout. They are an extremely important part of my life. They have provided unconditional love, protection and support for over 13 years.
My life has been, well interesting, with some with some very unpleasant lows, along with some pretty nice highs. Same as most peoples.
A few of the lows in my life, due to multiple painful reasons, eight years ago I made the decision to completely estrange myself from my family. In mid-2009, I was diagnosed with bulimia, body dysmorphia and social anxiety disorder, and during treatment for this, the surfacing of childhood sexual abuse lasting seven years. I started my journey to recovery from the eating disorder Christmas 2009, and am still in recovery. So when I say I have had some unpleasant lows, and challenging times as adult, I am not exaggerating.
On the 11th March this year; two and half weeks ago, one of my beautiful puppy’s, my little girl puppy Jessie (the smaller of the two on my website), passed away unexpectedly and my heart was ripped out of my chest and shattered. She had not been sick, so it was a complete shock and nothing I was at all prepared for. One of my dear friends sat with me for hours whilst still at the vet, holding me while I howled heart breaking tears at the realisation she had passed. The pain of this memory is still extremely fresh and the tears have truly not stopped as I learn a new way of being without her. Even more excruciating has been watching her beautiful brother grieve for his sister…..For those with pets, you will truly understand how even more heart breaking it is watching one pet grieve over the loss of their friend.
Whilst still grieving for her loss, a week later my sister called to tell me that our father had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was at a hospital close by to me under-going treatment. No words could do justice to how much raw emotion was pulsing through my body when I heard this and for the hours post. I was completely numb. All I kept thinking was, why does the universe hate me?? What have I done to pee off the universe?? All I want to do with my life was love and help heal others, and here was the universe, taking away my beautiful angel and throwing more crap at me with the news of my father.
Two and half weeks post, my father is still in hospital. They found secondary bone cancer in his pelvis so he is under-going further treatment for that as well.
The answer to one of the questions that I am sure is on your mind whilst reading this, did I go and see my father and re-connect to my family. The answer is yes. After 24 hours of trying to process, and a long sleepless night, I did go and see my father. He cried, and told me stories of what had happened, and all of the “dirty laundry” of my family for the past eight years. I have now seen him several times since being in hospital. The future of my relationship with him, and my family, I have yet to work through. There are many more emotions to process with this one, which I won’t pretend that I have answers for. I am sure intuition will continue to guide me.
The Law of Impermanence has smacked me hard these past few weeks. I have grieved, I have cried more than a million tears for my beautiful girl, and dealt with a whole other world of emotions when it comes to family.
I am still grieving. I am still very confused about the re-connection to my family. I still feel empty, alone, scared, frightened and vulnerable. But that is the thing about The Law of Impermanence, these feelings will not be with me forever.
I am going to honour my beautiful angel, and spend the time grieving her loss. I am going to feel every excruciating moment of the pain of her loss, because she deserved it. But what I am also going to feel, is her love radiating from within me. You see, I also understand, I am love, she is love, and we will never be parted. She has a beautiful soul, a soul filled with love for everybody she met, literally. She would run up to strangers on our walk’s, stand and stare happily and wag her tail until they patted her. And every single person would melt and pat her. She bought smiles and love to everybody. One of my amazing friends said to me in the days directly after she passed, that everything that she was, that fun loving beautiful kind soul, she got from me. That she was like that, because I was. I truly hope and believe that to be true, because she certainly brightened everybody’s life that she was in contact with. The most pure unconditional love I have ever seen or experienced.
Life is messy. Extremely messy. Messy good, and messy bad. But that is thing the Law of Impermanence teaches us. Nothing is permanent. So love every single second of being alive, even the bad. Because that is life. It is YOUR experience of life, and no matter how amazingly beautiful it is, or how excruciatingly painful it is, it is YOUR life and your experience. FEEL IT! Don’t crave anything different, do not try to push away the painful. Experience it all. Honestly, completely and truthfully. Embrace every single messy moment.