In Loving Memory of Rosie Alma (June 25, 1987 — June 17, 2013)
Dear Positively Positive family,
You love someone? Tell them. You want to see someone? See them. You want to do something? Do it. Stop making excuses.
A couple months ago, one of my readers, Rose Alma (who found me via Positively Positive), posted on my Facebook page that she was in the hospital after having had a double lung transplant and could I come visit her while I was in Atlanta. Naturally, a million excuses came up as to why that would be hard. (I was only there for the weekend. I didn’t have a car. I was busy leading a workshop. Blah blah blah.)
I told my excuses to buzz off, and I went. I went, and my life was changed. That’s all it took. Meeting that sweet little light was all I needed to make a huge difference in my life. A huge, remarkable difference. Now, had I not gone to see her because of x, y, or z, well, she would have died today, and I would have never known how so much joy could emanate from a tiny sick little body. I would never have understood, I mean, REALLY, really understood, what it meant to be gracious in the face of uncertainty, in the face of possible death. I would never have had my life touched. Nor would my sister or my young nephew who both saw Rosie just a few days ago in Atlanta. Rosie passed away today due to complications from cystic fibrosis, and I am heartbroken, but I also am grateful I had that time with her.
That I experienced that connection.
I could have easily have not. I could have easily said, “I am too busy.” because, let’s face it, we are all busy. We all have too much to do.
But here’s the thing: nothing is guaranteed. So if you want something, go get it. If you love someone, show them. If you think you are owed anything beyond this moment, you are in for a wake up call of the hardest kind. The truest wake up call there is. And that is that there are no guarantees. That the time is now. That if we spend our lives saying “I can’t.” or “I am too busy.” we are missing the beauty.
We are missing the roses.
I love you Rose Alma. RIP
Rosie’s greatest wish was to be published on Positively Positive. She was working on a piece when she died. I thought a great way to honor her memory would be by sharing with my beloved Positively Positive family the blog she sent me back in October. Especially considering she is gone now, take a moment and get clear on how powerful her words below are. Please take a moment and read her words. She would have been twenty-six on June 25, and all she wanted was for people to pay kindness forward. Do that for her, will you?
The Hunt Is Over, Happiness Is Yours
by Rose Alma, 25 Years Old
What is happiness? If I may, I will tell you what it is not. Happiness is not external. It is not an object that we must perpetually chase after. The world has often taught us that happiness is in the material. That we have to pay for it: sacrifice our money and our time, our sanity and our soul to find it. But happiness is something so much more. Something so much deeper and, yet, so simple and close. It is something dear and unique to wonderful you.
Happiness is within you. Just as true peace and happiness is already within all beings. We all have the capacity to discover it and genuinely feel it. And it is time you knew this beautiful truth.
If you are having trouble believing this, I ask you to honestly examine all the aspects that currently make up your life. Are you really freeing yourself from the things that do not positively serve you? While you quietly think this over, allow me to explain where I am coming from.
Personally, I am on a never-ending journey to expand my consciousness. My struggles with my health and my journey through the beginning stages of the transplant experience have been the primary forces that have launched me into this new phase of my life. And I am grateful for the thrust they have given me into genuinely examining who I am as a living being, where I am going, and what ultimately means the most in my life and in this world. The majority of what I read and listen to is all centered on these very subjects: truth, understanding, transformation, and love. All of it intended to help my overall well-being and to expand my heart and consciousness. Over the last fifty or so days, I’ve also dedicated myself to daily meditation. And this, in itself, has added a whole new depth to my personal journey. Along the way, I have learned so much about myself and about the world (and I continue to). Although I never want to tell others how to live, the vibrancy, energy, and love that is unfolding within me can’t help but extend out to others—to all the beautiful souls who may be able to learn something with me on this journey.
So here are some practices that may help us come closer to our true happiness:
1. Release. We must let go of anything in life that causes us stress or negativity. These elements limit our potential for exploring our true selves and finding our authentic happiness. Though this process of letting go may not always be easy, in the end, we will benefit in ways we may never have imagined possible. So let us release that which no longer serves us.
2. Embrace. One of the hardest practices yet, which I am continuously working on, is embracing change. Because it is an inevitable force, and there is much to gain when we open our arms to change. In what I have been reading and meditating on, they mention that when positive changes come into our lives (job promotion, new baby) we generally welcome the new chapter. But when something unexpected happens—something that may be considered a loss rather than a gain—we close ourselves off to it or resist (like job loss, divorce, moving away). They say that we should pause in those moments of stress or sadness over the unexpected change and be open to the idea that, though this change is hard or not exactly what we wanted, there could be something positive to come of it in the end. Even if we can’t see or predict what it might be. This simple act of opening our mind and heart could make a world of difference in how that change impacts our lives. If we can just continually work, in those moments of struggle or despair, to be open to the light at the other side, it will make the journey through the change so much more beautiful.
3. Explore. Once we have begun to release what does not serve us and embrace the coming changes of our lives, we are ready to open our hearts and minds to the idea of exploring new sides of our being. We need to seek out new experiences and people who will help us better know and understand our truest self. We must try things that feel both naturally interesting to us and things that seem outside our comfort zone. (As long as they are safe and healthy.) Pushing ourselves to break past self-imposed barriers and try things that we might never do otherwise will allow us to blossom authentically and beautifully. Take up new hobbies, travel, make new friends, write a novel, learn a new language, volunteer at a shelter. We have to learn to step outside the mold we live in—that is, the person that we think we have to be—and start learning to become whom we were born to be. And only we, as individuals, can know whom that beautiful being is and feel when we are one with them.
4. Give. In order to fully understand and love ourselves, we must learn to step outside ourselves. Look beyond just our needs and desires and consider the life and world around us. We must realize that there is a little piece of us in everyone, all the world around. And that we should give to all those beautiful souls. Some people need basic necessities, some need guidance, some need just an extra ounce of love, and some could be changed simply by the gentle power of a genuine smile. We must willingly give of ourselves, in whatever ways we can manage. Volunteer at places that meet our interests, help friends in need, be loving towards family, be kind to strangers and children, and always greet a person with a loving heart and kind smile. We can never give too much. And every time we do give, it adds more love to the world around.
5. LOVE. Love is the ultimate answer to all questions in life. It may take time to realize this, and there may be times in life when we bury this truth so deep in the dirt. But it is always there. Once we realize that love is there—even in the dirt, even in the darkness, even in the loneliness and despair—life will be forever changed. We will be forever changed. Time, distance, and differences have no hold on love. It travels everywhere and permeates everything. All we have to do is open our hearts and minds to this beautiful truth. And we must choose, every day, every moment, to live a life of love. Even when times are dark. Especially when times are dark. Because love still lives in the dark. It lives even there, so that we may grab hold of it when everything else falls away. Love is our light post. And it will show us the way to the other side.
These loving practices are what I am learning along my great journey in life. I wanted to share them with you and hopefully illustrate how I feel you can learn with me. I am not one to tell others how to live, but please try to allow these ideas into your heart. Know that happiness is already within you; change doesn’t have to seem so daunting, and love is always around you and within you. You deserve to be free of anything in life that places negativity on you. And you deserve to give yourself a fair chance at exploring all the possibilities that the world and life have to offer. I want only for you to realize the depth of potential in you and for you to know that the pathway to greater freedom—whether external or internal—just takes one step at a time.
Our lives and circumstances may be vastly different. But, we are one.
Let us walk together on this path to greater consciousness, happiness, and love.
Love, Rose Alma
I will be holding a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis and Rosie on August 25 with two other yogis.
Click here for details.
* image courtesy of Simplereminders.com