Tag Archives: Choice

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Letting go of something you love is difficult, one of the hardest things. But, I will survive it. I have done this before, watched someone I love die, been separated even though the thing we both wanted the most was to stay together always, and I am still alive, even without them, even with no guarantee I will ever see them again, heart broken but still bound, tethered to an invisible but tangible love.

2. Truth: I can’t change the facts, but I determine how I respond. It’s staying dark later in the mornings now, that’s a fact of nature. This morning, so dark that I’d need to wear a headlamp for our walk, I was feeling grumpy, resistant, wishing away the dark. And yet, a few blocks from our house I looked up at the still dark night morning sky and saw stars. I thought about how on the way back, I’d see the sunrise, how I was taking this walk with two of my dogs. Instead of being cranky that it was dark and cold and early, things I can’t change, I noticed. I felt gratitude, thankful for the grace of one more morning to be awake and alive and together. I can’t alter nature, can’t keep Dexter from dying no matter what I do or how I feel about it, so instead of resisting or wishing things were different, I choose to open my heart to all of it, to be fully present and alive, wakeful and wise and compassionate.

3. Truth: It is okay. As I am surviving this loss, as it washes over me, passes through me, there will be messy moments. I will feel panic and cry in public. I will get angry and fall into despair. I will blame and accuse and rant and regret. I will wish and hope for things to be different. I will vow to never love again. I will hold my grief like it were a physical thing, with warm breath and sharp teeth. I will numb out, sleep and eat too much, say I’m okay, insist on it when I am anything but alright. This is the way love goes, the way the physical form where we focus our love leaves us. There is nothing to be done but to surrender, to be wounded. Eventually there will be another dog, and I’ll do the same thing again–open my heart knowing full well it will be broken. This is the way love goes. It is what it is, and this is workable.

One wish: My single wish underneath all my other wishes right now is that Dexter has an easy death. But, I also wish that those of us in this process of letting go feel some peace, some relief, and have faith in our innate wisdom and kindness and strength, being certain that we’ll know what to do and that whatever arises, it’s all workable.

Making Choices

I made two choices this week that were pretty significant. One is I finally decided (letting go, with much sadness) that I wasn’t going to Authentic Inspiration: A Writing and Meditation Retreat this weekend with Susan Piver at Shambhala Mountain Center. The other is that when the first round of tickets were released yesterday for World Domination Summit 2013, I didn’t buy one, (I’d already made this choice once this summer, while at the conference, when current attendees were for a limited time offered a discounted ticket).

It isn’t that I didn’t want to attend these events. In fact, my desire to go to both is strong. It’s also not that I can’t afford them, because I could. It’s just that there are compelling reasons to chose otherwise, and my heart and gut are telling me that I am making the right decision. This is something I’ve learned in the past year: after you trim your life down to the only things you really want and love, you will still have to make choices, and sometimes it means choosing one good thing over another, one longing over another.

Another choice I made is what I’m going to do with the $100 dollars I got at World Domination Summit (WDS) 2012. If you remember, each attendee was given a hundred dollar bill on the last day of the conference (watch the video below to see Chris Guillebeau’s explanation) along with a note that said “We’d love to see how you can put these funds to good use. Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different–it’s up to you!”

I’m not going to lie, this gift, this challenge came with a lot of responsibility and some anxiety. I wanted to think of something “good enough.” I struggled with what to do for the past two months. I donated a similar amount to Save the Lyric, a Kickstarter campaign to save our local independent movie theater. Then I gave a similar amount to the John F. Ptak Relief Fund. John is married to one of my favorite writers, Patti Digh, and was diagnosed with kidney cancer while uninsured. I felt good about giving to these causes, but they didn’t feel like THE cause, the one where I should put my WDS $100. I kept waiting for that special feeling, the magic moment of realization, of awareness, of connection, that rush of certainty, but nothing was happening.

And then my cousin Sarah commented on one of my recent blog posts, and I noticed she’d started a new blog, Eulogy Postponed. When I read it (it’s new, so it’s only a few posts and an about page), I knew. This was it. I was giving Sarah my $100 so that she could “Go somewhere. Be a voice. Do something.”

I don’t have a life that allows me to do this. Yes, I can be a voice, and I can do something, but I can’t easily go anywhere. I have a house, a tiny family, and a full-time job, so whatever I do, I have to do from here, but Sarah can go, and I can help her.

Sarah at the beach, where she came to visit me the summer before she left for a semester in New Zealand.

On Sarah’s about page, she says, “My delusional mind also believes in the idea of helping strangers. If each and every person in the world is serving, then everyone is also being served. Karma. The Golden Rule. Love is the only rational act,” and

What if life wasn’t what ifs? What if we all actually did those things we talk about doing? What if we were each serving our families, friends, neighbors, cities, countries, solar systems as best we could? What if you let yourself be the gloriously passionate individual you are and shared that with the rest of the world? What if you stopped telling yourself no.

I tear up every time I read that. There’s an odd family pride, a sense of gratitude that she is “my people.” I am also flooded with nostalgia and love, memories of the sweet little girl she was, her love of dogs, how she could keep up with the boys, all the times she made me laugh, and how much she loved fresh fruit. I remember all this, and am amazed by the woman she’s become, strong and compassionate.

So, this hundred dollars is hers, an investment in the plans she has to help, to serve, to do good. I wish her all the best, and am sending her (along with the cash) so much love and gratitude.