The ups and downs are part of the journey of our lives, but there are times when we get handed something absolutely awful, usually on top of a bunch of other overwhelming things at the same time. It can feel like we are literally breaking, feeling cracked and vulnerable. We don't know where to turn, lost as to why things happened the way they did, wondering if and when we'll "recover", and finally trying to figure out how to move forward.
Life is a broad spectrum, filled with utter joy, brutal loss and pain, and everything in-between. There is no experience of true happiness without the depths of sadness. During times of extended sadness and uncertainty, we have to be wary of the seductive path of living shallowly in order to avoid pain, for that path comes with its own pain and loss. There is an emptiness that resides on that path, which all too many of us fill with alcohol, drugs, food, electronics or some other addiction. We try to feed our bodies and minds with something to fill the emptiness in our hearts.
The moments that leave us cracked and vulnerable offer us the opportunity to live from the heart, and offer us gifts that are not available in the moments of joy and ecstasy. We can only find the gifts if we stay around long enough to see what they are.
Life is not all grins and giggles. It's filled with little deaths every day...disappointment in ourselves, our home, work, school, communities, society, and the greater world. We're really good at lying to ourselves, burying and hiding our pain like an injured cat so we're not viewed as vulnerable and weak. Our culture has a tendency to brush aside grief and pain, where we're told to stop crying and suck it up. We're given a few days off work for bereavement of a family member and then expected to return to "normal". If we feel like we want to break down and cry because we're sad and overwhelmed with the way life is at the moment (and sometimes those moments are very long!!), we're asked if we're "depressed" instead of being given a listening ear and time to work through what's going on and come to terms with it.
We are DEEP and complex beings, and if we just skim the surface, we're missing a whole lot. We need to have more compassion for ourselves and others.
When the challenging times come, we are being given the chance to explore our pain with sheer honesty from the heart. It is hard work to look in the face of our fears, anger, frustration, grief, and the reason why we're in a place of pain. It is not pretty. It takes courage, but we all have it within us to do this work. The funny part is, if we would just deal with the pain and loss as they come, whether big or small, we'd find that it's easier to process fresh wounds than buried pain that has festered under the surface for years. Festering wounds take a lot longer to heal. (Trust me on that one).
When we finally surrender to our true and cracked selves, the light comes pouring in through the openings, and we can see how to release ourselves from the prison of pain. In our acceptance of who we are in the moment, we open ourselves to the gifts of the experience and our own inner wisdom. Our moments of loss will never go away altogether, but they will slowly become less raw, transforming into a gentle reminder of the diverse and meandering paths we have walked in this life.
My heart is with all those today who are working through grief and pain. Accept where you are, honor your journey within, get whatever support you need for yourself, and know this: you are never alone and you are loved, even if it doesn't feel that way right now. Don't give up hope. Open up and let the light in...
Love & Light,