In the past year and a half, I have lost two close friends; one had a terminal illness and the other succumbed to a sudden and fatal heart attack. These unexpected losses unhinge and deeply touch you because of the pain of loss as well as because the unexpected change greatly magnifies the fragility and impermanence of life. When this happens, we have no choice but to embrace the change, and we are harshly reminded that life is short. However, this kind of loss can become a means to set an intention: to develop gratitude for all of our blessings including those we share our lives with, and for living another day.
These tragic and untimely deaths combined with my yoga and mindfulness practise encourage me to focus on several important things. These include: being more present and more appreciatively engaged with my surroundings and with my loved ones; opening my heart to be more giving, loving and compassionate; practicing my yoga to remain connected and in touch with my body and somatic way of knowing; respecting and listening to my body’s messages, and to take care of it; celebrating solitude as well as connection; limiting screen time and spending as much time as I can in nature, and doing what I truly want to do.
After our very lengthy winter, we are reminded that everything is always changing. For now, the trees and flowers have bloomed, beautiful scents fill the air, and daylight lasts longer. As we navigate the cycle of life and manage the ups and downs and the joys and hardships, we can choose to honour our loved ones who share our lives or who have passed by continually redirecting our attention to the present and by focusing on the journey rather than the destination. Our overall experience of life will be fueled by and filled with gratitude, contentment, awareness, and meaningful moments.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live, deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau