ASK ABDI: HOW CAN I FIND INNER PEACE TO ACCEPT MY CURRENT SITUATION?
QUESTION: When I lost my Asian husband (he died in 2012), I was suddenly left alone in a foreign country (we used to live in the US) without family but with my two wonderful kids (two and four years old, at that time). The first few months I was living in a bubble in order to survive and function. Finally, I decided to move back to my own country and my parent's house, where we still live, two years later.
Reaching home in Europe was like a big crash, it seemed to me that I had lost everything, our (my husband and mine) common life, friends, job, country, everything. I was stranded back home, got, by chance, a job in a company where I worked 15 years ago. There I met people who made me familiar with meditation. I thought my search for the truth started here, but it actually started early in my childhood.
As a young child, I had to experience difficult times. I also lost my dad when I was 10, and one year later got abused… My mother did not know how to deal with it and we never really spoke much about the things that happened. All the years after, I felt alone, cried a lot alone in my room, felt separated from the rest of the world, not understood. I was always highly sensitive and always searching for the truth, I felt responsible for all of the troubles in the world. My whole life changed when I met my husband, when I was 23 years old. For the first time, I felt like a fully accepted loved person. We were like soulmates. Together we were one, from the beginning it was unconditional love. He was Asian, I am European. Even though it was difficult with our families, we managed it together; we lived very happily no matter how many troubles were around us for about 10 years, until he died in an accident. When I look back, the hard times only made us stronger and happier together.
I still have difficulty accepting what happened, especially since I'm going through the same thing as my mother did. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I am living in my parent's house. I've never felt this strong of a desire to search for the truth in my life, as I feel it now. I feel again what I felt before I met my husband, but of course with a very different awareness.
How can I accept what has happened to my husband and that the same has happened twice in our family? I also have big problems with this place where we live. For now, it is better to live here because I have help with family and friends around. It is so strange, when I was a kid I could never imagine moving away from my hometown, and now I feel like a big stranger at home. I don’t find inner peace and I always feel (sometimes stronger, sometimes less) that I have to move far away to find what I am looking for…
I don’t understand myself and don’t know where to start. You might feel how confused I am at the moment. I have worked a lot on the things I have been through as a child during the last two years (all the pain came up again), but there is always this desire to run away. Without the kids, I know I would have been gone, probably never came back from the US. How can I find inner peace to accept my current situation and to move on to a happier life?
ANSWER: Such deep losses you have had to endure in your life. Not easy and my heart goes out to you. You have such clarity about where you have been and where you are. This is a powerful ally in your quest for inner peace, even though you might miss that truth because of the gravity of your losses.
I do not need to tell you how painful the traumatic loss of loved ones is. You are breathing that suffocating air every day. These are deep wounds you are nursing. One does not necessarily accept them, as much as learn to reside with them on a moment to moment basis, like the uninvited guests that they are. Some moments will be tolerable and others not at all. Your husband gave you a beautiful gift of the feeling of unconditional love. Draw from that energy daily amidst your deep suffering.
As you have experienced and stated beautifully, the hardships that you experienced together with your husband made you stronger and happier. Tap into that same energy. The gift of deep suffering is that it keeps us honest and helps break down the hypnosis of life that turns us into robots. Remind yourself of that at regular intervals. Do not underestimate the depth of your understanding already. You are in pain, but you are also crystal clear. The crucial point here is your honest desire for inner peace. When one can state that as clearly as you have, it comes. We just have to show up daily.
You have been brought back to a place that you left due to pain. Whether it is by the force of circumstance or by higher design, back you are. Here is your opportunity to tend to unfinished business. As much as every cell in your body might scream at times to run away, here is your chance to heal this within you. Then, no matter where you are, you will be free, not just because of geographical distance. Your parent's home need not be your final destination, but while there do not leave any stone unturned in examining your past.
Meditation is your friend and compass here. Sit and feel, even though you might not want to. Sit with these questions that you ask, not looking for answers but actually learning to sit and tolerating the feelings that want to make you run. You will see that things will be revealed and questions answered. Never, or rarely all at once, mostly little by little, you will get peaks and insights that will set you free.
The gift that comes out of such profound loss that you have experienced twice already in your life, is the direct knowledge of impermanence of this realm. Delve into that. Not from fear or thoughts of imminent disaster nor a sense of detachment. Investigate it and see where that path of questioning takes you. What is real in the midst of this elusive life? Who dies? What dies with it? What stays? What was here before birth and after death?
We come to this wonderful and terrible realm alone and leave it alone. Alas, there is only one thing that is real and permanent. The one energy that animates all and is us. Love. The capital “L” Love that is beyond and includes the personal lowercase “l" love. Connect with that with the best of your ability constantly and allow it to inform your every next step. We are always held, especially when we feel the most alone.