>my dear student,


I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved grandmother and for the fact that, when you told me, I offered you little comfort.  As a student, and not as a teacher, I always get a deer-in-the-headlights feeling when things like this arise.  My first instinct is always to draw from the teachings…to say that our lives are in divine hands, that many of things that happen to us require more faith than understanding, that the sadness that we feel after loss or heartbreak of any kind is bittersweet because it is evidence that we have been fortunate enough to have loved and been touched by another.  But when I see the sadness in your eyes, all of that sounds trite…simple, and so I say nothing and then later regret it.  If I could go back, I would give you a huge hug and I would draw from the teachings because, even when things feel darkest, I believe in them with my whole heart. 

And so, the question for us all is: Will you let loss split you wide open, soften you, increase your capacity for compassion, and gratitude, and love or will you allow it to harden you, cause you to retreat into yourself?  For me, my commitment remains to transparency, authenticity, and, above all else, loving fearlessly.

When sadness visits me, I read Rumi:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
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