We have a saying that has become very clique, “Everything happens for a reason.” We have heard it a million times, in a million different ways. The usual response is probably something like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” We allow it to go in one ear and out the other. That phrase has been so over used (and under-thought) that it has become almost meaningless.
This past year I had an experience that really brought this phrase home for me and because of it, I don’t think I will ever look at life in the same way again. It’s a delicate story and one that’s still rather hard to tell but I think it’s time to try. (And as the epilogue, at the beginning, (smile) I have to come back and add that this writing has been a catharsis that I wasn’t quite expecting it to be.)
The story began last summer when a band was coming to town that I’ve wanted to see since they debuted in 1999. I purchased two tickets without knowing (but assuming) who would go with me. I was in a relationship at the time (living with someone) and I naturally thought he might be interested in going with me. Well, he wasn’t. He stated simply that he did not want to go and that was that. I got angry because this had been the pattern of the relationship for a long while (but that’s not the point of this story). I tried and tried to convince him to go with me and he flat out refused. I was really, really mad. So, I decided to find someone else who would enjoy going with me. Another “friend” came into the picture that really wanted to attend but then things got weird (that’s also another story for another day) and I decided not to attend with them either.
I finally decided to go with a young friend of mine, a soul sister who I dearly loved. Our relationship was the “soul family” type. We shared a psychic bond that was very deep. I knew she had been having some issues and would really enjoy getting out. I picked her up and we spent the evening together at the concert. On our way to the concert, her phone rang and I scrambled to find mine and answer it. She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face and said, “That’s my phone.” I said, “No, that’s MY phone.” We both had the same, very unusual downloaded ring tone. That was the nature of our connection. When she felt bad, I knew it, and would always contact her and she would always be amazed. We had a song we shared and every time she heard it, she would contact me. Our birthdays were one day apart. We had a very unusual connection. (It gets deeper but I’ll save it for later when I write my book.) We laughed that night. We had a great time. We talked, we enjoyed the music and we got to just enjoy being together. It was lovely. What I didn’t know at the time was that that night with her was going to be one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.
That evening turned out to be one of the greatest gifts because almost 3 months to the day of our concert, my friend made her transition. At the age of 19, she passed away. That concert was the last time I had spent with her. Of course, I knew she had been ill, but I didn’t think she would be leaving us so soon. When I received the news of her passing (she had taken a sudden turn for the worse and it was unexpected) I was devastated. It was one of the hardest deaths I have ever had to face. Today, 3 months after her transition, it’s still very difficult to accept.
What I learned from this experience will stay with me for the remainder of my life. I will try to sum it up in a way that makes it understandable because it’s rather difficult to put into words. Sometimes things don’t go our way. This is a part of life. We complain and become angry and sometimes even throw little tantrums when we don’t get what we want. (I will admit that I did, when my significant other refused to go to the concert with me.) We try to force and manipulate things into being the way we want or think they “should” be. We have a very clear picture of what we think we want and/or need. Knowing what you want and being clear is not a bad thing at all; we need to have that clarity to focus our intention. But when things don’t go our way, we need to learn to let go. Point in case, if my significant other had gone with me to that concert, I would have never taken my friend and I would have never had that last opportunity to spend with her before she made her transition. So one can clearly see what a gift it turned out to be that he refused to accompany me. (In fact, I should thank him, I never did.) Everything was in absolute perfect order even though I could not see it at the time and I did not know what the future held.
…. Which brings me back to the idea of letting things go. I did not make a new year’s resolution this year for 2012, instead I decided to “allow the river to flow” and to stop trying to force square pegs into round holes. What I mean by this is that when things go a certain way. …Or they don’t go a certain way…. to allow things to flow in the direction they want to flow. I decided to stop trying to force everything to be what I want it to be. I have decided to trust in the Universe/God/Goddess and let things come to me (or not), as they will. This doesn’t mean you give up your free will or your intention. What it does mean is that you accept things the way they are and you stop trying to force what isn’t working. I have stopped thinking that I always know what is best for me…. because it is obvious that I don’t always know what is best. (Those of you who know me are saying, “Um…yeah!!”) We don’t always know how things will turn out. We don’t always know what is best and we don’t even always know what we really want. (And yes, it takes some humility for me to admit this.)
My lesson went even deeper than just this. I spent about 14 months giving all of my energy to something that I knew wasn’t working. It was a huge expenditure of energy and thought and “forcing”…not in a violent way, but just in the way of a leaf trying to force its way upstream. (Stop and visualize that for a moment…). There were other things, and more importantly, people, who needed my energy. There were other ways I could have used my energy in a much more productive and loving manner. My friend needed me and I was only there for her in a half-assed way because of my preoccupation with what wasn’t working in my life. This is something that can never be un-done. But I have to trust, that like everything else, this is how it was meant to be. But it is something that I deeply regret and there was a lesson in it that has been a really painful one to learn. I have to trust, that for reasons unseen, we are all experiencing what we need to experience in this life. (Which is what I am writing about in the first place.) My friend experienced what she needed to experience even though it is still hard for us to accept. I experienced what I needed to experience as well. But the lesson remains clear (and massive): if I wasn’t wasting my energy on what wasn’t working (trying to fit the proverbial square peg into the round hole), I would have used my energy in other ways that would have made me much happier as an end result. I wouldn’t have regret about the way I chose to conduct myself. (But of course this is all a part of the lesson, isn’t it? It is a dichotomy.)
I since discovered the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. It is an ancient Chinese spiritual text. I had never read it before. I read commentaries (books) about it by Wayne Dyer and Byron Katie and I now own 4 different translations of the Tao Te Ching itself. In essence it brought all my thought processes together and made sense like nothing I have ever read before. To sum it up simply, it is about the force of the Universe. This force, whatever you choose to call it, (The Tao means “the Way”) is what makes the sun rise, it makes our hearts beat, it makes the flowers open and the earth to spin. We can do none of these things ourselves. We don’t have to ask this force to work. We don’t have to remember to breathe or make our hearts beat, they just do. The Tao is about letting things unfold, as they will while trusting that the Universal Force is at work. It means if something does not work out then we don’t have to force it to work, we can trust instead that the Force has a greater plan for us that is in action even when we can’t see or feel it. Some people call this “God’s will” which is a concept I have always had great aversion to. But now I have a much clearer understanding of what this means. There is so little we have control over. We can’t control circumstances or people. Our lives are so much easier if we can accept with grace whatever life presents us with. If it is something we are able to change, then we can change it, otherwise we need to accept it and know that everything is happening for the best. (It’s like the “Serenity Prayer” which I never really grasped until now.) We need to know that there truly is a Divine order to everything that happens.
I had struggled with the concepts of “love, loving through us” and “doing nothing, yet everything gets done”. I always knew on an intellectual level (but now understand at the heart level) that we ARE truly the force that animates us. We are one with this force. Our bodies and brains alone aren’t who we are…we are the energy of the Universe. This energy is what flows through us and makes us alive. This energy works through us and just as it causes the sun to shine and the plants to grow, it works in a precise order in us and in our lives as well. (This is something I knew from the healing work that I do. It isn’t “me” but rather a force that flows through me. It obviously took me a bit longer to be able to apply this to life in general.) We can put our requests out to the Universe, we can try to make intelligent choices (even though sometimes we don’t!) and then let the Universe deliver what we need in the way that often surpasses our human understanding. We can drop our agenda, drop the way we think things “should” be and just be open to receive and allow.
When we choose to live our life this way, things get easier. We worry less. Our vibration is higher because we are not constantly resisting what “is”. We are not constantly complaining. We are at peace with what “is” and trusting in the Divine Flow of the Universe. When our vibration becomes high because of this peaceful attitude, we naturally attract more and more goodness into our lives. It becomes a cycle of acceptance, peace and more and more goodness. We can know that whatever happens, “all is well”, from the trivial flat tire to the relationship that doesn’t work to a death that appears to have come too early. Everything is as it should be. Intelligence greater than our own limited human intelligence is at work.
So I owe thanks and forgiveness to the two who were my greatest teachers last year. To the first, I thank you for being who you are, I know you did the best that you knew how to do and I drop the judgment about what “should” or “should not” have been. You were a wonderful teacher and mirror, and in the end, you gave me a gift that was greater than anything I could have ever asked of you: the final visit with my dear friend (even though I fought you on it kicking and screaming). And to the second teacher, I thank you for being the bright light who literally embodied the pure love, joy and acceptance and faith that I am writing about today. You were a joy and a treasure to know. Yes, I still find myself fighting (kicking and screaming), at times, the fact that you are no longer with us physically but at the same time knowing that all is at it should be, I know that you are now in perfect peace, that the Divine order is at work in our lives and that the Universe/God/Goddess IS good. I know that sometimes the answers are revealed to us quickly and sometimes the answers don’t come for many years. …And in the meantime, I try to remember the River and to let it flow…gently and peacefully…and not to dam the flow and not to try to swim upstream but instead to trust it and allow it to carry me to where I need to be. ~Kathy Lee 2/24/12