Words of Inspiration: September

Us as kids, bathtime | Kimberly Hetherington | Art Therapy with Kimberly

Just like that, September ends.

I feel a strange sense of disillusionment when an event I’ve been counting down the days for suddenly passes and becomes a memory. I spend so much time daydreaming in anticipation about these events that as soon as they pass it feels like a huge comedown. Most of the joy and excitement is in the leading up to it. I have to remind myself not to get attached to moments, I know this by now, they always pass. Attachment is like a double edge sword, it’s a false sense of security, when you look closer you’ll notice that by holding on so tightly you’re actually cutting yourself. As much as I want to collect these incredible moments of my life and keep them somewhere safe to go through when I need it the most, I have to learn to appreciate them by giving my full attention and then letting them go; allowing them to dissolve into the past.

I’m writing this from the living room of my old home in Ottawa. My dog is lying quietly at my feet and I’m sipping coffee out of the same mug I used almost religiously throughout University. I abandoned my life in Ottawa three years ago and my house remains in just the same way it was before I left, as if a museum of my old life. The smell transports me to a time when my whole family lived together under one roof, it brings me back to a life I had when my sister was still alive.

I feel my sister everywhere in this city; at nearby bus stations, in local malls, in the faces of old friends. I feel her presence in this house, I can close my eyes and imagine her running by me to blow dry her hair in the bathroom, or sitting on the couch watching tv. I can feel her presence, her energy is still here, and that is all I have left now.

Life as we know it can change in a second. Sometimes we survive from things we never, ever thought we could. No matter how shattering or how painful the experience may be the world continues to spin and the sun continues to rise. We may not have control over our fate but we can take what life deals us and spin it, we can find the beat, we can use it to build ourselves up and make us better than we were before.

“If you know someone who has lost a very important person in their life, and you’re afraid to mention it because you think it might make the person sad by reminding them of someone who died- you’re not reminding them; they didn’t forget. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that the person lived. And that is a great, great gift.”

Absolutely! My parents and I still talk about Elizabeth all the time, she’s still a part of our lives and always will be. You have no idea how nice it is to know people have not forgotten her. Talk about her, tell me about the stories you have of her, I want to hear them!

 “Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Live your life knowing and fully understanding that nothing is permanent, chase those moments that make you feel alive, one day you won’t be able to anymore.

“To say someone can’t feel bad because someone else has it worse is like saying someone can’t be happy because someone else might have it better.”

When I overhear someone attempt to make a depressed person feel better by saying something like “you have a roof over their head, you have no reason to feel sad” I cringe. Realize that comparing lives does not magically remove a persons suffering. When you tell them they have no reason to feel sad you are actually adding guilt on top of their pain. If your intention is to help then let them speak, let them feel heard and offer your silence. Most often that means more than words ever could.

“We all keep running after frivolous things throughout our lives. The brake is suddenly pulled when we start losing the presence of those souls that we always took for granted. That’s when we halt our sprints and start reminiscing about the memories that could have been made more beautiful if only we had bothered a little. In the end, only things that we are left with are regrets, guilt and loneliness.”

As human beings, we require love and connection, not the newest iPhone or trendiest new outfit. This “need” for materialist things have been shoved down our throats since birth because of clever advertising tactics. Of course, finding joy in buying a new item every now and then is completely fine, it becomes a problem when we give it too much importance; when we start choosing and prioritizing products/status over the people we love. Understand that the people we love will not be around forever so enjoy them now, be present.

“And every day the world will drag you by the hand yelling, “This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day it’s up to you to yank your hand back and say, “No. This is what’s important.”

Be conscious enough to pull your hand away and focus your attention on what really matters in life.

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