By Deb Avery
I was just sitting by the window, coffee cup in hand, feeling a little sad, discouraged, tired and in pain physically.
And then, there it was on my laptop. As I read it, something inside clicked into place. What a beautiful, magical moment! The pain was still there from one of my chronic illnesses. I still felt a little sadness deep within and was still fatigued as well. But suddenly, because of a few wise and graceful words by a friend, my whole perception changed.
A healing drop of enlightenment enveloped my heart and mind and I realized just how much I had to be grateful for and how far I had traveled on my journey the past several years.
As with life and all its little mysteries, the revelation did not arrive on a brilliant streak of lighting from the sky or an earth shaking seismic event. No, it was nothing so spectacular or physical. Instead, it came as an ordinary posting of a simple meme on social media by a wise and caring friend.
Sitting there with the window up, and a slight cool breeze blowing in on the extremely mild winter’s day here in the Southern US, I suddenly felt as though I was bathed in a blanket of healing light. The sights and sounds around me became so much richer, brighter and more beautiful than they were just moments before. The birds chirping away as they pecked at the suet in the feeders, the sunlight shining brightly after a couple of cloudy, drizzly days, and the outline of the tree branches against an impossibly blue sky—it all seemed so intense, so alive.
For awhile I flew with the wind, felt the sunlight penetrate my face and saw the grace and beauty of the birds on a much deeper, intrinsic and more connected level of being.
We’ve all had these moments of clarity. Sometimes they come while reading a special book or piece by an author we love. Sometimes they come when listening to music or they come while meditating or simply sitting quietly. Then there are those times they fly right out of nowhere, when we least expect them, and hit us squarely in the solar plexus.
In whatever they come to us, these drops of enlightenment have one thing in common. They allow us to see past our sometimes unfocused and narrow everyday views, to glimpse the almost unbearable brightness of being.
What I have learned from these enlightening moments is the simple truth that life—all life—is a beautiful, awe inspiring mystery. And that there is joy, peace, love and gratitude available at all times. Yet while always available, we are often so wrapped up in living life on our own terms and conditions that we sometimes simply refuse let go of our preconceived notions and therefore forget to enjoy the life we are living at the time.
Life doesn’t need to be perfect for us to be joyful, grateful and to have peace of mind. Life is far from perfect, but it is made up of perfectly ordinary, magical, everyday moments that make life worth living.
Despite illness, trauma, anger, sadness and barely getting by, life is still so precious. And isn’t it ironic that experiences like these often bring the most growth and enlightenment? I believe that it’s because of times like these that I have now found peace within as I had never had before. Anger, stress, and illness are all still a part of my life. Past traumas still revisit me sometimes bringing many mixed emotions. Chronic illnesses have become an everyday norm. But after many of these drops of enlightenment out of the blue, I have finally realized an amazing thing.
Today, I’m living the life that once I could only imagine.
And you know what the most amazing thing is? It’s the fact that this is possible—not in spite of these circumstances, these difficulties—but perhaps because of them.
A sense of peace, love and joy permeate my life because I choose to remain open, kind and loving in a world and circumstances where instead I could have chosen anger, bitterness and sorrow.
There are still days that are difficult.
All these emotions still reside within me, for like everyone else, I am only human. And it takes perseverance and living mindfully each day, along with consistently choosing happiness over despair, living authentically instead of a life that’s shallow and fake, and forgiveness instead of resentfulness. But perhaps the best part is, it gets easier.
You get stronger.
You learn to recover more quickly than before. And those magical drops of enlightenment appear more and more often. Trust yourself. Be brave and keep your heart and mind open, because the best is yet to come.
And just in case you’re curious, here is the meme responsible for for my transformation today. Much gratitude to The Zen RN for her amazing posts.
Editor: Dana Gornall