An Open Invitation to Love

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly … Proverb

Lately I’ve been thinking of transitions, loss, dying, both personally and globally. If you turn on the news, you can’t escape constant reminders of how fleeting our lives are.

Animals are masters at teaching us how to both live well and die well. I’ve recently had two animals pass — one who had been with me 7 years and one whom I had only known 5 days. Both came and went gracefully, accepting the transition with ease. Yet my heart still hurt. And my tears still flowed as I released my emotions.

When I really look at it things honestly, though, I know I wouldn’t have wanted them to live on and on in bodies that weren’t working anymore. That makes me think of what a wonderfully ingenious system death really is. When our bodies can no longer serve us, our souls go through a metamorphosis, changing from form to spirit. It’s not unlike the birth process only in reverse — from spirit to form.

What I’ve come to know is that it is best to accept transitions when they come and not fight against them. When I feel acceptance, I notice a space that is created, one that allows solutions to come through. I’ve had to practice this every day of my life. It has become a spiritual practice to not hang on and to let whatever is happening transform in the way it needs to without my own “emotional stuff” layered on top.

This is not often easy; in fact, the tendency is to hang on, wishing everything and everybody would stay the same for my own comfort, for my own safety.

Animals help us understand how temporary our lives are. Their lives are much shorter than ours; they come and go more frequently. When they come into my life, it is often through unusual circumstances. And when they leave, it is equally miraculous and sacred and poignantly beautiful.

I know I would never want to hold any being back because of my unresolved emotions or pain about a situation. When that spirit looks back, I want them to see me cheering them on, wishing them the best, grateful for our eternal connection. I want them to know that they are always free to come and free to go — no strings attached. What always remains is an open invitation to love.

Life has taught me that any transition, not just death, in our lives deserves this approach. Hanging on in any way causes great suffering and delays spiritual growth. It keeps us stuck in place. If we understand that life happens “through” us rather than “to” us, then a beautiful metamorphosis really does take place: we bend into life and allow ourselves to be molded into a new form as we allow other beings to do the same.

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