In July of last year, I made the decision to step away from my business.
After some internal digging, I discovered that I was in business for the wrong reasons. I was using business as a metaphor to prove to the world that I could do this life on my own. It was my way of staunchly asserting my independence—but what I really was craving was more along the lines of community, interdependence and love.
My choice to step away stemmed from a jilted relationship where my lover at 19 broke ties so that he could “find himself” in overseas travel, leaving me behind. I made the decision right then and there that it didn’t matter what I gave, I only had myself—so I decided right then and there that I was better off doing everything on my own.
Oh the twisted webs we humans weave!
I swiftly lost my business vision and veered into a dark and uninviting path which no longer served me or my clients, so I got out. As hard as those realizations were to make, looking back, everything was perfectly timed. Leaving my business allowed space to be created for something profoundly more important, something that my family would experience together.
My stepfather passed away exactly five months ago today. From diagnosis to death, the time was short and the whirlwind hard to keep up with.
But the details don’t matter—what does matter is the journey we mined together.
There is a quote by Osho that has always made sense to me, but it makes even more sense now:
“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”
While witnessing the pain my stepfather was going through and the emotional anguish of my family, I believed this to be true.
Because in all the sadness, there was happiness.
Because in all the pain, there was joy.
Because in all the loss, there was so much to gain.
The more sadness we seemed to experience, the more happiness seemed to be amplified.
How beautiful is it that I was able to hold my brothers whilst they wept for the man who became their most important and loved example of a father?
How beautiful is it to hold my mum whilst she wept at the realization that she might not grow old with her husband?
How beautiful is it to bear witness to the enduring love of my mum and her fella, the honest kind of love that goes beyond physical attraction and into the very depths of each other’s soul.
How beautiful is it that people who I may not have spoken to in a while are just there, understanding, helping, healing, no questions asked?
How beautiful is it that I get to hold the hand of someone who is just a little bit scared of what might come next (and so bloody annoyed at having to stay stagnant in bed?)
How beautiful is it that I had the foresight to say one last I love you, even though I thought I’d see my stepfather again? (No regrets.)
How beautiful is it that I am able to indulge in the memories of an extraordinary life passed?
When I look back to the beginning of this story and the initial belief-driven turmoil in my business, I realize—I had actually gotten the very thing that I was craving—community, interdependence and love. My family and I rallied. We were there for each other.
We united. We picked each other up. We supported each other.
We loved each other.
It’s amazing what life brings in, in the forms that we least expect, through love.
Author: Lynda Bayada
Apprentice Editor: Leah Wallin / Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Emilio García/Flickr