In the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, she quotes Krishnamurti “to pay attention means we care, which means we really love.”
I told my loved one that I loved him every single day, but now I’m feeling that I didn’t give him enough attention. Did I listen to every word of his stories; did I smile or look bored; did I go outside often enough to see the beautiful work he had done on the garden?
I was often so busy that I failed to stop and appreciate him and the lovely life that we shared.
The quote continues “By paying attention we let ourselves be touched by life, and our hearts become more open and engaged.” Of course! Why has it taken most of my life and the loss of my partner to absorb this lesson? Now my regret turns to disappointment in myself. So here we have yet another emotion added to the heap! How do I turn this realization into a forward progression rather than falling into the rabbit hole of regret?
Everyone wants to be seen and appreciated. I believe that this concept alone could soothe and heal most relationship issues. The most impactful people in my life were those who held a stillness in their gaze upon me. This stillness created an open channel for love and appreciation.
In our teacher training program, we have a session of acknowledgement called “Just like me” and in this session we sit for a moment with each co-student as the teacher reads a few lines starting with “just like me”. The final line reads “just like me this person in simply learning about life”.
In grief counseling you are told that the amount of time to process grief varies from person to person. Likewise, there is no time limit to learning about life. In fact, just accept that you are NOT going to get everything this time around, in this short life existence of ours.
Our whole existence revolves around learning about life. This life is our school, our university.
You don’t go to school because you already know everything, you go to learn, to expand your knowledge of this amazing universe.
The pain that surrounds the loss of a loved one is massive, yet within that experience exists a multitude of hurdles (big and small) that can progress us forward or push us back. With each hurdle we reach a new level of understanding ourselves and others. Can I be as accepting of the emotions that move me forward as well as those that push me back? Can I give myself time to level out this "sea" of knowledge in hopes of finding calm, soothing waters?
Do you have any regrets? Maybe you want to spend time with those thoughts and reveal the underlying grace that each of them holds.
Val Spies, Lotus Pond Yoga Studio owner and Yoga Teacher training director.