I came across a quote today on Soberistas that has stuck in my head.
In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.
This quote is often attributed to Buddah, which is incorrect (although it is Buddhist in philosophy). It's actually a modified version of a quote from Jack Kornfield's 'Buddha's Little Instruction Book.'
But, despite its mongrel parentage, it's gained huge traction on the interweb for obvious reasons: it's beautiful and it's true. And that's particularly the case for us, don't you think?
I used to lavish far too much love on fine wine. And I honestly believe that the more we love alcohol, the less love we have available for anyone else.
Because alcohol saps our time and our energy. It makes us selfish and introspective. It's not that we mean to withhold love, it's just that we don't even see where it's required.
When you quit drinking, all that time and energy you spent on getting over the last drinking session, and planning the next, can be spent on noticing when one of your children needs a hug (see Alcohol and Parenting) or a friend needs a hand.
And living gently? How impossible is that when you're drinking?
We enthusiastic imbibers were like bulls in a china shop! Running roughshod over people's feelings. Spilling secrets. Causing havoc and upset.
Stop drinking, and everything becomes quieter. Calmer.
Being natural bon viveurs, we often find this tricky to begin with, equating it with dull and boring. But, after a while, we see the beauty, and the peace, in living gently.
Which brings me to letting go gracefully of the things not meant for you.
Ah. There's the rub.
It's hard to let go. We cling on desperately by our fingernails. We rant and rage at the unfairness of it all.
Then, one day, we learn to just let go gracefully. To realise that that was then, and this is now. We've had our days of wild partying and chaotic living, and now it's time to....move on. Gracefully.
(I gave #3 Grace as a middle name, because it's a quality I've always aspired to, and found most difficult to attain. Until recently).
When I think of the people I know who are the most unhappy, they are the ones still clinging to a desire for things not meant for them. Fame. Fortune. An ex-lover. Moderate drinking.
Let go. Gracefully. It's such a relief.
Love SM x