My life journey has taken me to many places where I have been challenged to bloom and grow where I was planted, before being dug up and replanted after the seeds have fallen and sprouted anew. However the price I paid was the continual need to say “goodbye” and “hello” to another new life experience. I have recently returned from a trip to the U.K. where I experienced again this rich pattern of hello and goodbye. It was very much a trip into my past where I re-connected with friends whom I have not met for over thirty years. It was a wonderful rich experience of re-connection and completion. My time was enhanced further by family ties and all the love and joy that goes with that. Once again I had to say goodbye and return to my chosen home and adopted country. Gratitude overlaid any feeling of loss or lingering sorrow when I realised that the ties that bind can never really be broken and that there is really no separation. We are all connected whether we are conscious of it or not. It doesn’t matter whether we are at a distance or close by, for the people who have touched our lives are part of us forever.
Goodbyes get harder and easier as one gets older. Harder I believe because at some deep unconscious level, we are reminded of the final goodbye. Each goodbye is a rehearsal for that. A little dying with each separation. Paradoxically, goodbyes can also become easier as we age because the knowledge grows that all life is connected and love and friendship are not limited by distance and physical boundaries. Love can connect across deserts and oceans. Separation is therefore an illusion and again the paradox is that one only learns this by developing the essential ability to let go.
Letting go is the key to living life to the full; accepting what we cannot change, accepting the inevitability of death and separation on the physical plane and transforming loneliness into solitude. I have gathered many different families and communities around me as I travel my path; my biological family, my former religious community, my work colleagues, my choral community, my neighbours and the many friends of like mind who have traveled the path of life with me and lent mutual wisdom and support along the way. But none of these communities can save me from the inevitable separations of life but “When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has found.” (A Moslem proverb) Nothing is truly lost.