“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer”
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
As I look back over this year, I’ll be honest, its tricky not to focus on some of the loss and the difficult events of 2021. There is a safety in choosing optimism over pessimism I suspect, I’ve lived through extremely dark days and survived so surely the life lesson is self explanatory, survive the darkness and find the light.
If only it were that easy.
On the surface of it when life started to open up last May, it felt like spring was bringing in some much needed fresh air, a moment of reset. I was able to have my 5th Anniversary Wedding blessing with a small gathering of guests and family, the weather was appalling but the joy of standing in an ancient space, saying my vows couldn’t be dampened even by torrential rain, and as storms do, that too passed.
Much of this year was consumed in palliate care for my eldest cat and beloved dog, un unexpected Cancer diagnosis in June, the here we go again moment. The tears, the grief & then the action. Amputation surgery, MRSA, months of antibiotics and my boy never complained, just took advantage of his parents love and slept on the sofa, snored and outlived his 12 week prognosis, making it to almost 20, I suspect, in no small part to the constant supply of vegan donuts he loved so much. The moments the grief overwhelms me I’m acutely aware that there is also a powerful sense of life and love pulsing through my soul, I was finally allowed to return to volunteering in July, life in rescue it seems goes on, whether or not your heart is ready for it.
My Grandmother was forced to leave her home and was relocated to a nursing home, her physical health has all but given up but not her mental agility, this is not how she wanted to write the end of her story and whilst she cannot lift herself from this perpetual darkness I watch how endless care workers, NHS staff, hospice staff have continued through unimaginable challenges, I spoke to an 18 year old care assistant who was about to start his Nursing degree. He will make an extraordinary nurse, he gave me so much hope.
My Step sons lost their Grandmother to Covid in August. She was fit, well & active but Facebook was her go to for truth. I have nothing but sympathy for those who fall foul of others deliberate lies and misinformation. We are all responsible for ourselves but nothing we do or say fails to impact others in some way or other. As adults we all have a choice over our words and actions, I pray however, that no one experiences what my step sons went through and I will be forever grateful for the ICU staff that tried for a month to save their Grandmothers life.
So as I write this I’m recovering from a Cold, yes, common colds are still doing the rounds but this one has felt like a super cold, spiteful in its energy and ferocity and then I found myself reflecting on the amazing power of my body and its focus entirely on its ability to heal. When we reflect on the magnificence of the human body instead of regarding it as somehow inadequate, failing, aesthetically flawed or lazy we are playing a soundtrack in our minds that simply does not serve us well. If you are unwell, its ok to struggle with energy, to need to sleep more, eat comfort food and drink hot chocolate if that’s what you feel like. It’s ok to stop, keep warm and watch movies and not to be doing something, its ok not to meditate or workout. Just let your body be.
Healing, physically & psychologically takes time, be mindful of who is taking yours.
So as I look back on a challenging year I’m also reminded that every time the darkness called, so did the light. That the Yin & Yang of life need each other to thrive.
know yourself, trust yourself, you’ve always known the best way forward.