Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: There are places you carry inside, no matter where you go. You feel the temperature and the texture, experience the smell and the sound of these locations, see the colors and shapes of the environment, know the size and mood of the space, real and present in memory and dreams.

For me, some of these places are Amsterdam, my childhood home (not just the house, but the whole town–my church, my school, the field at the end of the road where I lived, the local market, post office, the park, my best friend’s backyard), my grandma’s farm, the cannery I worked in for four summers in a row while I was in high school (trust me, I wish I could rid myself of that one!), my little house in Colorado, the basement of that other house which was the first place Eric and I lived together, and the long stretch of beach from Waldport Bay to Seal Rock.

2. Truth: There are mortal beings that you keep in your heart no matter where you go and even when they are gone. These are the ones who’ve taken up residence in your heart, who you have long, heartfelt, silent conversations with regardless of your physical proximity. You dream about them, long for them, miss them, imagine where they might be, what they might be doing right now when they aren’t with you. And when they become formless, no longer attached to a body, you keep them in your heart, your body, hold them with you, carrying their memory, their love, a precious and wild thing that lives in and through you.

3. Truth: There are practices that will follow you, no matter where you find yourself. These are the things, the habits and the methods that you rely on, that you turn to, that you engage in. These can be helpful and healthy, traditions that sustain you, maintain your sanity and comfort, but they can also be destructive, trapping you in your confusion and suffering. Yesterday I wrote, did yoga, ran with Sam on the beach, meditated, read, and took a long walk with all three of my boys, carrying my camera so I could stop and take pictures of what I noticed, what touched me. These practices are magic, medicine. It wasn’t so long ago that my habitual patterns had a much different flavor, a quality of despair and character of destruction. My teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says, “We are always meditating–constantly placing our minds on an object and becoming familiar with it. But are we getting used to things that will take us forward on the path?”

One wish: That we can practice gentle and kind awareness, that we can view everything we encounter and experience as an opportunity to cultivate a way of being that generates compassion and wisdom, and that we can let go of any habitual patterns that cause suffering.

3 thoughts on “Three Truths and One Wish

  1. Tina Tierson

    Jill, your writing is so beautiful! This is a wonderful post, especially,for me Truth #2. I lost my sweet oldest son, Tim, in operation Desert Shield (he was a Marine and was killed in a helicopter collision over the Gulf of Oman) and he will never NOT be a part of my life and our family. I get upset when people speak of “closure” as if there could ever be a time when there is no pain. I also lost two beloved step-sons, one in a motorcycle crash, the other at his own hand. And my wonderful husband Larry died of cancer seven years ago. I miss these heart pieces so much, yet harbor no anger or bitterness. They thought more highly of me than that (more highly of me than I think of myself!). I just feel wondefully blessed by having had the privilege of having them in my life. I do talk with them, ask for guidance, and sometimes feel a presence. I will hold them in my heart with love forever; they are part of me. Thank you for understanding so well! xoxo

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I’m so sorry for all your loss, Tina. I only understand it the hard way. This blog is a direct result of grief: my first dog Obi (that’s his picture in this post) and my dear friend Kelly were both diagnosed with cancer the same week almost three years ago, and died within six months of each other. That grief unhinged me from the dull, numb, sleepwalking I was doing and calling it living. I just knew that to continue as I had been would be to treat those losses as less than they were, that I had to live a full life to honor them. And yet, even all this time later, there’s a part of me that can’t quite comprehend that they are gone, that can’t accept it. And I have learned that there is no end to grief, you only learn to live with it.

      1. Tina Tierson

        And, Sweet Jill, I’m so sorry for your losses as well. There is never a day when I don’t think of Tim. His sisters and brother have, of course, grown up, gotten married, and had children and I feel sad because Tim wanted a family so much. But the wonderful thing is that my grandchildren all know about Uncle Timmy and talk about him as part of their lives. I really love that! I wish I had done more with my life after all the loss; I’m still trying to figure out who I am. But one gift I received after Tim’s death is that I think I’ve become more of the person he thought I was. By that, I mean kinder, more loving, more “huggy,” and I hope a better mom. Trying to be a better person is my way of honoring my loved ones, I guess. You’re right about grief, though, you learn to live with the giant crack in your heart. That’s why Susannah’s book means so much; she really nailed it!

        I wanted to tell you too, that I lost my beloved cat Grace last December, so I know how devasting the loss of a pet can be. I’ve had pets all my life and the loss of each one has been so hard, but Grace was different in ways I can’t explain. I adopted her from the pound just after a divorce and named her Grace because I needed a little grace in my life at that time and she certainly provided that! I also have a dog, Molly, who is now 14 and on medication. She and Grace were great friends and slept curled up next to each other all the time. Molly’s still playful and perky a lot of the time, although she sleeps most of the day now. That frightens me; the thought of more loss is too hard. But one day at a time I can spoil her and make her feel loved. That’s all I can do right now, one day at a time.

        Continue enjoying your vacation on the beautiful Oregon coast! When I need some healing there’s a little place I go in Canon Beach, Oregon, that really does the job. It’s only an hour and a half from where I live and I’m hoping to go there soon for a couple of days.

        I know you didn’t expect another repsonse to your response, so just know I’m so glad I “found” you and am looking forward to meeting you at Susannah’s book signing! Sending blessings and many hugs!

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