Today I was reminded of the Buddhist saying, "This, too, shall pass", as I received a couple of different email newsletters about endings. The first was from the Insight Meditation Centre in Limerick, the owners of which were writing about the death of a close friend, and how it was a wake-up call to them, and to us all, to do what we love. To quote from their newsletter: "That may involve listening to more music, reconciling with family and friends, taking that trip, sitting by the ocean, reading poetry, more prayer, planting a late autumn garden, whatever you know to be appropriate for you. This is autumn and the season itself reminds us that all living beings on our planet eventually must die."
And it was only last month, mid September, that Jon Sandifer, a great man who not only wrote many books on feng shui and the I Ching but had written a column for Soul&Spirit magazine for the past couple of years, also sadly passed away. I remember receiving the email from his business partner while at home one Sunday, and felt so shocked that I burst into tears. I'd only met Jon a couple of times, but his wisdom and joie de vivre was infectious, and the stories he told me of his life were fascinating - he was a truly adventurous spirit.
The second email was from Nikki Wyatt - 'the Karma Coach' in Soul&Spirit - who creates flower and crystal essences to help deal with different problems, be they current life issues or ancestral ones going back many lifetimes. Her email, too, was about shedding the past, clearing away emotional debris, and well as having a good physical clear out of clutter.
|NATURE KNOWS BEST: Trees in a Abby Fields, Colchester, last weekend, just as the leaves are turning. We can't stop nature changing, so why resist change in our own lives?|
The season of letting go
All this change in the air is no doubt brought on in part by the impending autumn equinox, which will mark the end of the 'light' half of the year and a move into darker days. Autumn, when nature sheds her leaves, is always a time synonymous with letting go. Clinging on to the old, whether that's people, places, or possessions, only keeps us stuck in the past and unable to allow the new to arrive and thrive. I for one know this only too well, as I've been rather hesitant about making changes and have clung on, rather too forcefully at times, to things that I've outgrown, or which were probably never right or good for me in the first place.
The encroaching end of the Mayan 'Great Age' in December may also have something to do with the current feeling of restlessness and shedding of baggage, after all, it's when the cosmic clock, so to speak, will reset itself back to zero, ready for another 26,000-year cycle - according to the Maya anyway.
Time to move on
Endings are quite often sad but just think for a moment about a world where nothing ended: it's inconceivable. You and I would not be here. Nothing would be. Whatever was first created would be static, stuck in time and space, never evolving. Plants give up their leaves because they trust in the process - they know new leaves will grow next year. So it's foolish of us, try as we might - and Lord knows I've tried! - to hold on to things that have died, be that relationships, friendships, moments in time that were special, possessions that no longer serve a purpose.
Also, most of us live as if we'll never die, and put things off for 'tomorrow'. Yet life is short. But rather than getting depressed and morbid about this, let's take it as a wake-up call to be true to ourselves and spend as many of our days as we can fulfilling our passions - be that writing, dancing, singing, travelling - and being with people we love and care for.
Everything ends, as it must; we only suffer, the Buddha tells us, when we cling to what was, including life itself. So this autumn, in the much anticipated year of 2012, why not assess what needs getting rid of in your life, and start prioritising the things that bring you joy?
On the subject of transitions, I love this song by Seal - Prayer for the dying. I first bought his album in the mid 90s I think. I read the words in the cassette jacket and felt moved by them, almost as if they stirred something within my soul that was hidden, or that I felt a connection to what he was saying. Anyway, the album is perhaps one of my favourites, as it puts me in a contemplative mood