It has now been almost three weeks since Shane’s death, and life has changed more than I could have ever imagined. Each day is so different from the last, and I’ve learned to embrace every single feeling, emotion or thought that comes up. It sucks to have to find a new normal, but it’s a place I’ve been before. It’s weird, but I always felt like I would lose someone close to me at a young age, or die young myself, and therefore have feared death all of my life. Now that it has happened, my fear of death has vanished completely, which I suppose is a good thing. Life happens, and we really don’t have a choice but to roll with it and evolve from each experience. It’s not easy, but it is required if we want to continue to live. Besides, we were never promised it would be easy.
One thing I’ve learned from this experience is how powerful connection is. We are able to thrive when we make connections, because we can’t go at life alone. These connections have sustained me and become my fuel source to keep pushing forward and not revert to old habits. And I feel like the deeper these connections become, the more I can become my most authentic self and find my true place in the universe.
Connection with my mat. I struggled with this one, which surprised me. Yoga is always my go-to in hard times, but for some reason I have avoided practicing the past couple of weeks, with the exception of a couple of times. I normally practice every day. I think I was fearful of showing vulnerability in class, as yoga often brings deep emotions to the surface. I was having harsh feelings toward myself for not practicing, but in discussing it with fellow yogis on an online yoga forum, the resounding response was “be gentle with yourself, your mat will always be there when you’re ready.” So I stopped being so critical and accepted that this was where I was at. I found my way back to my mat yesterday and it felt right. I’m glad I didn’t rush it. I realized upon coming back that I have a truly safe space in yoga, and that my connection to my mat will only grow from here.
Connection with family, friends and pets. This has sustained me the most. Every single day for the past few weeks I have been in touch with multiple people in my life, and my kitties have been a constant source of comfort and love for me. I have been so grateful for the frequent check-ins from a select bunch of people. And the crazy thing is that for the first time ever I’m also the one reaching out for support. My normal way is to isolate myself in hard times, but I have felt such love from my tribe that I’ve just been wanting more. It’s a great feeling to know how many people are rooting for you, and I can definitely feel certain relationships growing stronger because of this.
Connection with new people. When life closes one door, it seems that five more open. The new connections I’ve made have truly amazed me. A few of Shane’s friends, who I had never even spoke to before this, have now become close friends who I can’t even imagine not having in my life. I’ve also talked so much more with people who I had formerly considered acquaintances, but who have now turned into friends. And then there’s my brand new therapist who has become one of my soulmates after only 3 sessions. She is one of the most divine people I’ve ever met, and I can’t help but feel like the universe brought us together. I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. I have no doubt she is going to help me discover a lot more about myself.
Connection with the universe. Speaking of, what a mind-blowing thing the universe is. I am not religious, but I have always felt spiritual and that there is a higher power making things happen…something else at play here. I’ve been exploring this a lot more over the past couple of weeks, and it’s fascinating. We have barely scratched the surface of things beyond our comprehension and reach. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, so while our bodies can be, whatever is responsible for our consciousness cannot be. It has to go somewhere when we die. I have come to believe that our conscious minds live on and can experience multiple lives in various vessels (so #yolo can suck it), all for the purpose of growing closer to our higher selves. The universe and God are not some separate things from us, they ARE us, and realizing that has changed my perspective on life and how I plan to live it going forward.
Connection with Shane. This connection with the universe has simultaneously grown my connection with Shane. I have been grieving the human form of Shane, but his energy is still there, which has brought an immense amount of comfort. I still talk to him, and I still feel his presence. I have slowly become more in tune with the universe and have therefore noticed interesting things that I would have taken for granted before. It’s amazing what we can see when we become more mindful of our surroundings. We are so wrapped up in ourselves most of the time that we’re blind to subtle signs from the other side. While I am devastated that he is no longer here and miss him every day, I have been making a conscious effort to live in the present moment and accept whatever communication he has to offer, rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future. When you have that strong of a connection with someone, it never really goes away. It just transforms into something you have to dig deeper to feel.
Connection with myself. The hardest connection to make, but ultimately the most important one. Being by myself, and really with myself, is not something that comes naturally to me. But now that I have no choice in the matter, it’s time to do some self-discovery. All of the above connections have already helped in building a deeper self-connection, so I feel like I’m on the precipice of something interesting and powerful. My hope is to get to a place of real authenticity and confidence in myself, because a lack of these two traits helps no one. I still have goals I want to accomplish regarding mental health, and I still want to help people. But I selfishly/unselfishly have to help myself first. I’m open to where this journey of self-discovery and self-awareness takes me.
Loss is very painful, but it does not have to kill us. If we can find strength and knowledge from it, we can better serve ourselves, those around us, those gone from our lives and the universe. I believe we are all destined for great things, no matter how short or long our lives are, and our purpose in this specific life is whatever we want it to be. There is no one-size-fits-all meaning of life. If we have made changes in our own lives or the lives of others by any means, then our life had some kind of meaning and was worth living. So find your deep connections, whatever they may be, and you’ll likely find some interesting things about yourself in the process.