Today is the anniversary of my dad's death. Even though it's been 19 years since he passed, I still get surprised when little pockets of grief come up for me and I'm finding that no matter how much healing work I do around it, there's always a little bit more to be felt and explored.
Sometimes I can feel his spirit close to me, which fills me with joy and peace. Sometimes sadness. Or sometimes both at the same time. And sometimes, life goes by and I don't think of him at all for awhile.
Over the years, his anniversary has brought up different mantras or messages and this year the thing I keep hearing over and over is:
This is something my priestess friend Meredith Edwards said one time in a moon circle back when I lived in Brooklyn, which resonated with me. When Life hands you a big ol' dose of life, LOVE ANYWAY. And that's what I'm feeling today.
I remember an experience I had several years ago where I received some news that I'd have to say goodbye to something I loved and I could literally feel my heart closing itself off. It felt like there where hands compressing on my heart as sadness and stubborn anger tried to spew out. I half think this was an automatic response from experiencing such great loss in my life before, because in the next second, I could feel myself choosing to brace my heart against this closing sensation so that it could stay open. So that I could love anyway. It was so interesting to have such a physical response within my body to a very poetic metaphor!
Loving is hard. There are times when it feels easy and effortless and fun and beautiful and joy-filled. And then when we have to say goodbye or let things and people go that we care so deeply about, it feels difficult, heart-wrenching, and painful.
So as I was thinking about my dad this morning and his last few days, I was rocking this sweet little golden 10 month old baby girl, who happens to be my dad's great niece. New life in my arms while reminiscing on a life already lived. And I was reminded of the great cycle of life. That we live each new birth and death cycle with each life we encounter, each decade of our lives, each year, each month, each moon cycle, each day, each breath.... that with death there always comes new life. And with new life there always comes death.
It becomes our mission, if we choose to accept it, to love anyway. In spite of it all. We can allow death, or life in general, to compress in on our hearts so that we close them off. And maybe sometimes we need to close up shop for awhile and that's okay too. But then, we get to choose to love anyway and allow our hearts to be broken. Broken open for more love. For more life.
To quote another friend of mine, Anne Griffin:
"Life is too short not to love with your entire heart. It's what makes life worth living."
This week, I invite you to take moments throughout your day to remind yourself to simply love anyway, no matter how hard that may be. Today also happens to be a full moon and we can use the moon as a mirror for us, using it as inspiration to feel into our big FULL hearts that hold so much. Know that I am loving you with mine. xo
THIS WEEK'S MANTRA :: LOVE ANYWAY.