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Letting Go of Our Biggest Attachments

Maggie Kelly

My mother died yesterday. 

I debated about whether or not to share this news with all of you but decided that as a spiritual teacher with some serious Buddhist study under me, it would have been foolish of me not to. 

We are all bound to Buddha’s First Noble Truth; that life involves suffering. 

When we become a sangha that learns to suffer together and not to cause one another to suffer, beautiful things can happen. 

It is in life’s suffering that we grow. My mother’s death, while so painful and so sad, has reminded me of how precious my relationship with her was and how lucky I was to have her in my life for as long as I did. Not many of us can be in our 60’s and still have our mothers. I am so very blessed. My children, now in their mid-20’s, are also blessed to have had so much time with Grandma in their lives. 

When we try to hold on to the people and things in our lives, we also suffer. That is Buddha's Second Noble Truth; that we are the cause of our own suffering through our attachments, our clinging and our attempts to hold on. Trying to hold on to Mom would only have caused me more suffering. My own attachment to her would have ended up feeling selfish. Letting her go was the biggest act of kindness I could possibly have given her.  

I don’t want the “I’m sorry for your loss” or the pity. My mother lived a beautiful and full life. Fourteen grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, a bucket full of close friends who loved and adored her, a boyfriend even! She traveled the world, lived abroad for a time, was married twice and had tremendous faith in God. She was 87 and she was ready to go.

Her death also reminds me of Buddhism's most prominent teaching of impermanence. The impermanence of the leaves on the trees, that bee that is sitting on the flowers outside in bloom, my dog, my children, you and me. 

While we knew my mother’s death was imminent, it still catches you off guard. I will miss her terribly. You can be prepared but not ready. I will miss her sweet little smile and her laugh, her energetic, happy little self, her kindness, all of her. I’ll especially miss the hour long weekly conversations with her on the phone spent chatting literally about nothing!!  I miss her already. 

I am so grateful to have traveled to Santa Rosa every three to six weeks where she lived for a few days over the past year and a half. We’ve shared all sorts of silly stories, old stories of my time growing up with her in Spain, her memories of her travels and her times with my Dad and all sorts of family dramas and gossip. Each time I visited her, I brought her a full 3 pound box of See’s Candy - her favorites - and watched as she so eagerly set about to eat at least half of an entire layer in the three days I usually spent with her. We’d do another one of her tricky 1000 piece puzzles and curl up to watch movies together on the couch. 

There was nothing left in the unsaid. My mother knew how much I loved her and I knew how much she loved me and cherished our time together. 

Everyone loved Mimi. My mother could have made friends with an ant! She was a beautiful soul and a beautiful person inside and out. My brother told me she died with the same dignity and grace in which she lived her life. What more could any of us ask for or want?

If you find yourself wishing for a community that can help you let go of your biggest attachments, process suffering alongside you, and encourage you to find a foundation of truths that will guide you to a more peaceful wellbeing - look no further. Join me and a group of beautiful humans each Sunday as we get together for a time of Meditation and Connection. All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you at Satsang House.

Are you ready to let go of your preconceived notions of yourself and your future?

Are you ready to empower yourself to take action to live an awakened life of passion, meaning and purpose?
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Maggie Kelly
Life Coach & Spiritual Mentor
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