Friday, 21 February 2014

Finding Gratitude in Suffering - Thanksgiving 2013


3 December 2013

Today, a journal entry from the heart (also, my first public journal entry).

“LET THERE BE LIGHT!” And so, I entered the world with the same umbilical cord that sustained me for 9 months tightly wrapped around my neck cutting off the air/circulation I desperately needed to live. I was born purple (literally) from lack of oxygen; and life has been a series of struggles ever since.

Being that today is Thanksgiving, I couldn’t think of a finer opportunity to reflect on the themes of struggle and suffering. That may sound initially depressing to some; however, my struggles and sufferings have been my greatest teachers in life. If not for the pain, I would not be the strong, balanced person I am today. The same goes for you, my brothers and sisters, whether you know this or not. It took years of mental anguish to realize this single precious insight, a gift from the universe bestowed upon me during one of my darkest hours. You see, I had lost everything: my beloved boyfriend of 6 years (who cheated and left), a career I was passionate about (but was laid off from), a stable parental relationship (thanks to addiction), my car and my apartment all within a period of a few months. My life and everything I held dear seemed to have crumbled around me. My ego and self-esteem were completely shattered. I thought about suicide a lot… however, as hard as all of this loss was, I gained my TRUE self and the world in the process.

Nature was the only and I mean ONLY thing that woke me from the depression that engulfed me. Something as simple as the sun shining was what got me out of bed most mornings (mind you, I was unemployed for over a year and a half, so I had nothing but time to witness the spectacular transformation of seasons from my bedroom window). I learned a lot about nature by simply observing it. I had nothing else to do, with all distraction and purpose in my life now gone, I had no choice but to open up to whatever presented itself to me. No choice but to take risks, to try new things, to subconsciously expand out of this dark place. No choice but to live in the present moment and appreciate what was left; for the past was too painful to dwell in, and the future was too uncertain. Stuck between pain, I realized the only place I could possibly feel comfortable was right here, right now. It became a safe place.

I didn’t know it then, but this simple practice of living in the now totally transformed my life. I learned appreciation. I learned mindfulness. I found desire and passion again, in learning from mistakes and hardships, in wanting to be a better person. My world improved a thousand-fold and continues to do so as various forms of daily struggle push me ever towards higher states of enlightenment.

I could go on, but for today lets simply say I wouldn’t trade this beautiful life, this beautiful struggle for anything in the world. Don’t take today for granted; make the best of what comes. In the end, appreciation of the little things is all you really have.

Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha

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