This evening, while sipping my customary cup of tulsi, nettle, peppermint tea, I'm doing something quite the opposite of customary: cleaning old files out of my computer. My new favorite Spotify playlist, "Deep Focus," and softly flickering candles are making the task somewhat less mind-numbing, but not much. Surprised, then, was I to come across something that instantly captured my attention: a "sticky" note with only one word visible at the top, "Sweetheart..."
A leaden rose of sadness bloomed in my heart as I began to read the letter I had written to myself long ago. In an exceedingly rare moment of lightness and joy, I had dictated the truths I gained brief access to so that future versions of myself could have something to hold onto in the unbearable passage of heartbreak and loss that was happening at the time. To look back on that moment, knowing all the twists and turns the story took from there (and ultimately how it ended), I feel a poignant mix of tenderness, gratitude, and humility. I have been deeply touched by this life, and know that I will continue to be so.
One of my most important guides, both in that passage and to this day, is Adyashanti, who says that our usual experience is just a flow of states. Such a simple observation, but we so often fail to notice it because we're wrapped up in our efforts to hang onto certain states and avoid the others. But the reality is that we're all cycling through all the states all the time. There's no state we can remain within indefinitely, and there's no way to prevent the periodic visitation of the states we'd rather not have. So perhaps one of the most important lessons of that difficult passage was that I am not my state. Thoughts, feelings, and sensations aren't the best materials to make an identity out of because they're like the weather: unpredictable, ephemeral, and in constant motion. I reached a point where it was too painful to continue to source my identity from my state, so was forced to find something deeper, something that does not change based on how I feel or what I think, something that exists before I create it, something that is true before I speak it.
If you're reading this, it means you're having another wave of grief. Not only are you feeling sad, you're feeling afraid and possibly even desperate because it seems like the pain is just going to go on forever and ever. It has a way of making your life look bleak, empty, meaninglessness, joyless, lonely, and so on. It makes you panic because you think you might have made the wrong choice. You've lost touch with the basic wellbeing and happiness that are intrinsic to your being, so of course things look this way. But just because you think it and feel it does not mean it's true. It's not true. This letter is being written by a version of yourself who just came through a rugged wave of grief and found a bright little spark of joy and happiness in her heart on the other side. From here, I can see that the real treasure and prize of life is already within me - that I get to go through this life and this world as me! As a bright, sparkly being who is loving, intelligent, soulful, beautiful, creative, and more. I see that my future is a vast space of adventure and that all kinds of blessings have been planted on the path ahead for me. You have no idea the blessings that are in store for you. Trust that this letting go is an act of faith, that it is making room for something else to arrive that is far better for you. That something better actually does exist and you are worthy of receiving it. You are inherently worthy and you have also done the work to heal and graduate from your old patterns. Your optimism will return, your enthusiasm for life will return, your sense of being connected to all that is will return. Don't worry, my love, the clouds will part and you will see the sun again. Sooner than you think. And you know very well how to take care of yourself these days, so take it easy on yourself and do whatever you need to do to get yourself through this moment. Not only are you in grief, you're in withdrawals, so be very gentle, patient, and kind with yourself. Take all the time you need.
I love you.