Dharma and Letting Go

I miss a lot of things since COVID-19 turned the world upside down. I miss publishing my thoughts on this website. I REALLY miss it. So, it’s time we all get reacquainted once again :)

The website, yogapedia.com, defines dharma as “The implication of dharma is that there is a right or true way for each person to carry out their life in order to serve both themselves and others.” I interpret it this to mean, we are all here on Earth for a reason.

How many of us know what our dharma is? Haven’t we all questioned, at some point in our lives, “What is my purpose? What am I here for? What am I supposed to do with my life?” For some, a simple question becomes a passionate quest to find and accept a suitable answer.

I am one of those people.

I recently published a memoir which revolves around my recovery from a heart attack and stroke. You can find, Why Not Me? on Amazon. However, I’m not writing this post to promote my book. Rather, it is to help me, and hopefully you, come to an understanding about our purpose in life.

There is no question that the year 2014 changed the trajectory of my life! I was so far away from my dharma it took a catastrophe to knock me back onto my true path. The Universe or God or whatever you believe in had to inflict a heart attack and stroke upon me to lead me in the right direction of my dharma.

COVID-19 had/has the same effect and result for a global population. However, it afforded me an opportunity for deep self reflection and allowed me to finish writing my memoir.

Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher in the 6th century BC, quoted, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Writing and self-publishing Why Not Me? is my letting go. It’s my catharsis. It’s the final modality in my much needed healing process.

I have finally let go of being a heart attack survivor. I have finally let go of being a stroke survivor. I have finally freed myself from the shackles that have burdened me for a long time. I was kept hostage by the memories of my medical misfortunes and the anger and grief and sorrow of watching my brother leave this world, and of losing a friend (and others not mentioned in the book) to cancer.

I also freed myself from a career where I felt like a hamster running on a wheel – getting nowhere, fast!

An amazing series of events began to happen. As I performed a top-to-bottom deep cleaning of my old self, I created more room for my dharma to thrive. I let go of a 20-year career, I let go of friendships, I began to let go of a house Cathy and I have lived in for 20+ years. I have even begun to let go of the state I will always call, “Home.”

During my 4-hour Sunday drives back to Vermont (where I now work) from Connecticut (where I am still a legal resident) I am routinely blessed by synchrodestiny. Without fail, I see an average of 11 red-tailed hawks along northbound Interstate 91. I usually see two in CT, seven or eight in MA, and a couple more in southern VT.

What I find interesting is that I never see the hawks when I actively look for them. It is only when I stop searching, does Mother Nature’s beauty appear to me. The birds of prey may be in a tree, or sitting on top of a light post, or flying above, or eating a meal on the ground. In shamanism, the hawks are thought to be my spiritual guides which have taken the life form of an animal. I’ll subscribe to that!

They are my synchrodestiny. Synchronicity = a coming together of seemingly unconnected events + Destiny = the events that will necessarily happen to a person in the future.

I have let go of my past. I have created room, within me, for my dharma to fill my soul. And the “11 Highway Hawks” (as I have called them) are guiding me along this next journey in my life. But there is a twist…

Last week, my ego tested me in an unlikely set of circumstances that I never could have imagined. The Universe thrust me back into my previous existence as a dog trainer. My ego wanted to say “No, I am done with that life. Leave me alone.” Ego wanted me to fail, thereby giving strength to a potentially negative karmic situation.

However, my dharma won out. Thankfully! And now, a young and troubled Samoyed is in its third home with a new chance to live a fulfilling life. A gentleman, who I’ve never met (but interviewed on the phone), has a new best friend, after losing his Samoyed (and fellow adventurer) a few years ago. They are a cohesive match which the Universe brought together, through the instrument of my dharma (aided by former dog training clients and the Samoyed loving community.)

I alone did nothing to save the life of a young dog and to the save mourning soul of a gentle man. I have Cathy, Robin, Pete, Lynn, the Johnsons, Timothy, the 11-Highway Hawks, Mother Nature, Spirit, and God to thank for guiding me to “keep” an important part of my dharma.

While it is true that the world we used to know has been changed forever, we all have opportunities to improve ourselves and to improve our circumstances. We can find our true calling, our dharma, our purpose in this life. Sometimes, we have to stop looking so hard and let it find us. Sometimes, we have to take a leap of faith and bravely explore foreign territories.

You alone, don’t need to change the world. You must first believe that you are NOT alone. And when you listen to your gut instinct, follow your hunches, or take a risk, you may find that your spirit guides (maybe hawks) are following, watching, and guiding you along every inch of your new path toward a bright and purposeful dharma, and you will let go of the shackles that bound you.

As always,

Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.