art by Julia Fehrenbacher
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this moment is the only one you know you have for sure.
This morning as I was hurrying to make my tea so I could get to this computer to write, these words entered my mind: What if you stopped thinking that the next thing was the thing? And in that moment, I paused. I paused long enough to notice the steam rising out of my mug, to notice the gentle way the honey slid off the spoon, long enough to feel the warmth of the mug in my hands. And then, instead of rushing to the keyboard, I took some deep breaths, lit my favorite candle, said a prayer, looked at the lit up Christmas tree lights for a few minutes, noticed how it was still dark outside on this early December morning. As I was pausing to notice these things, to notice the very moment I was in, something that felt like peace filled my insides.
Ever since Amanda invited me to write this post, I’ve had a flurry of thoughts about what I would write about and there was this pushy part of me insisting that I get on it. But each time I thought about sitting down to write, this message came to me: Let go of trying to figure anything out and let yourself sink fully into this moment. You will know exactly what you need to know exactly when you need to know it. Trust.
In retrospect, I see that I wasn’t yet ready to write because what I needed to write about hadn’t yet happened.
Yesterday, a tiny being with the biggest ever heart, our pet hamster, Nibbles, took her last little breath. I know, you’re probably thinking — a hamster? All kinds of unkind voices (in my head) tried to talk me out of writing about this sweet little being because she was “just a hamster.” But here’s the thing I realized yesterday in the space between the sobs, she is spirit and there is no spirit any less than any other, no matter how tiny, no matter how anything. That miniature being had so much sweetness inside of her, I swear she could have sugared the world. She was just pure sweetness. And I loved her. And my girls loved her. Even my husband loved her. She asked nothing of anyone but gave so much. She came out of her little nestled spot every time she heard a voice. She didn’t bite. She settled into our hands with such trust. Her big eyes held a whole river of kindness.
As my six-year-old sobbed in my arms yesterday, I was achingly aware of the sting of loss, and, at the same time, so aware of the sweetest kind of tenderness that was able to seep in because of it. There is nothing quite like death to teach us about life, about what truly matters. This little being’s death created space for love, big love, and for compassion and overwhelming gratitude. The kindness that poured in was so heart opening–the receptionist at the vet’s office who called me “honey,” gave me permission to sob and shared her heartbreak over her pet lizard’s recent death. There were text messages, emails, phone calls—such heart-warming beauty. After I released the flood of tears that needed to come out of me, and after I told my girls the news and they released theirs, we had the kindest, quietest, most love-filled afternoon. We nestled in close to each other. We talked softer. At the dinner table, we all held hands and said our thank yous for this playful, furry spirit of sweetness that graced our presence.
I think what I most want to say here is this: This breath is truly the only one we know we have for sure. All the love that we are seeking is nowhere but here, tucked into this very moment. If we pause for long enough to allow this truth to seep all the way in, if we decide to show up for each moment with the fullness of who we are, we will be kinder. We will be gentle with ourselves when we don’t get it “right.“ We will stop withholding love. We will listen to our life. We will remember to breathe. We will let go of trying to be and simply Be. We will hold each other close. We will stop the thoughts that doubt our worth. We will give fully, knowing there is always enough. We will let go of that which no longer serves us. We will stop waiting. We will leap into the life we know we’re here to live. We will say thank you and please. We will play. We will giggle. We will jump for joy.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it is this: Peace is right here, it’s never anywhere else. The next thing is never the thing.
|During the small windows of time when her two little girls are occupied elsewhere, Julia paints and writes and contemplates the deep questions of life. More than anything she wants to sprinkle some good around in this world and is always looking for ways to do more of that. If you’d like to join her on this path of shedding & opening and living from a place of truth and authenticity, please visit her at paintedpath.org, she’d so love to have you there.|