Last night’s new moon provoked an emotional journey into the past and a night of very restless sleep. All kinds of memories about my pony Sugar Maple came rushing back to me, and the grief felt as fresh as it did the day I said goodbye to him forever. Grief is not something you get through; it’s something you learn to carry. Some days the load is light, and others it’s crushing.
When I finally did fall asleep, I had a dream the moon herself must have sent me to help me feel better. The Dalai Lama came to me and I asked him for his most wise piece of advice. He replied, “The only time is now.” I recently had a realization that I was letting certain things in my life stop me from being happy—that I was actually stopping myself from being happy. Truly the only moment is this present one. Focusing on NOW makes it easier for me to recognize how much I have to be grateful for instead of focusing on what I’ve lost.
I had the privilege of attending a yoga class with my most favorite teacher, Denise Moore, this morning. She led my 200-hour teacher training, and to practice pranayama, meditation, and asanas led by her this morning was such a treat. Towards the end of our practice, Denise guided us through a lovingkindess meditation. We silently repeated to ourselves, “May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy and strong. May I live life with ease.” We then extended the intention out to our loved ones (including our four-legged loved ones!), and then out further to our town, our state, and I eventually thought of the entire earth, humanity, animals, plants, and insects. I felt a serene oneness with the earth. When Denise mentioned living life with ease, she pointed out that this doesn’t mean challenges don’t arise—it means that when they do, we continue to let go.
I’ve learned that letting go doesn’t fix everything, but it does give me the strength to listen to my inner wisdom and find creative solutions to whatever challenges I’m facing. Letting go doesn’t mean going down the river without a paddle; it means accepting that you’re going down the river no matter what, but that you can choose which rapids to go over.
What’s stopping you from being happy? I’m going to bet that deep down, it’s you. So get out of your own way and let yourself feel joy and love and compassion. Life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, but as Vivian Greene said so well, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”