Life has its ups and downs, both joyful times and sad times. I recently experienced the loss of my father. He was 96 years old and lived a full, wonderful life with his true love-72 years of marriage to my mom. When I spoke at the funeral, I began with “I am here to celebrate a life well lived. “ I felt loss coupled with gratitude for his full life. I was happy to see so many joining our family to honor my dad. A plethora of feelings emerged throughout the funeral and subsequent days.
When I returned from a week with my mom, siblings, nieces, and nephews, the reality of what had happened finally set in. I felt exhausted and sad, yet looked forward to teaching my stress reduction classes. The first class was an adult day program. I allowed myself to feel exactly how I was feeling and used this as a teaching tool to the group.
The teaching is:
There is so much going on each and every moment. While I was feeling sadness, I was feeling blessed to be teaching a community that made me cards, shared their condolences, and appreciated what I was teaching them. I let them know that all we have is this moment, and while there is sadness, there is also connection, joy, playfulness, exhaustion, gratitude, and the full experience of all that is happening in the unfolding moment. Life is lived to its fullest when we are able to stay present to all that is, rather than only focusing on one feeling or experience.
Giving myself permission to show up with no pretenses and share with my students, allowed us all to connect and relate in a way that was nourishing. As a professional, that is the best gift I can give my students and clients. Letting them know that no matter what is happening in life, staying in the here and now is really all we have. When we are able to do this, we learn that we are okay no matter what is happening in our lives. We are all connected, and each and every one of us touches another. After all, what more is there to life?
As I write this post, I think of my dad and feel teary and joyful that I can share this gift with you. Allow your life to have its ups and downs, and be with all that is.
Thank you dad for showing me that life is meant to be lived to the fullest. You will be missed.