it’s been a while since my last blog post. i’ve missed writing and reflecting on life and am hoping to come back to it consistently. perhaps i needed a time of reflection and silence. to be honest, i’ve had a bit of a writers block and have found it difficult to sit and convey my thoughts. i’ve been in a strange place for several months, feeling a deep sense of grief, sadness and anxiety. it’s not the sadness and anxiety that is there every moment, it’s the type that comes and goes, popping up when you least expect it. “visitors” if you will, that makes their home in your heart and leave just as quickly as they arrive. i’ve been sitting with these “visitors” for some time now…at first we were acquaintances but as we have spent more time together, i consider these visitors to be someone i have known for a long time. i’m even realizing that these visitors are not visitors at all but are in fact a part of me that i have kept locked away, hidden from those around me.
recently i received difficult news that someone close to me, i mean….one of the most important people in my life …was diagnosed with cancer. of course my first reaction was that of fear, fear of the unknown, fear of her suffering, fear of losing her, fear of my family suffering, fear, fear, fear.
then, when the realization of it all began to sink in, came sadness and grief. why grief you wonder? she’s still here and in fact in my heart i know that she is going to be ok, come out of this alive and stronger than she was before…but, i still feel sadness. sadness for her suffering. sadness for the losses she is going to have to endure.
anyone i know would say this is an acceptable reason to feel these emotions. that fear and sadness are typical emotions you should feel under these circumstances. don’t get me wrong, i feel things deeply. i am an incredibly emotional person but somewhere along the way i learned that letting others know my own suffering, being vulnerable, feeling “negative” emotions was a sign of weakness. somewhere along the way i learned to put a smile on my face, to not allow others to know the many layers and facets of my emotions. somewhere along the way i learned that sharing my pain with others would be a burden to them. somewhere along the way i learned that i needed to be strong and steady all the time…to not allow others to know when i was feeling “broken”.
somewhere along the way i learned that staying BUSY was the easiest way to avoid my feelings. that if i stayed busy long enough they would go away.
lately i have spent more time in meditation. noticing when these emotions come up. allowing the fear and grief to come to surface. being an observer of my breath, the changes in my heart beat, the sensations in my body. sometimes there are tears. sometimes my heart beats rapidly. sometimes my shoulders tense up. sometimes my breath becomes heavy. sometimes my mind tells me to stop feeling. sometimes my mind tells me to make a to do list. sometimes my mind tells me to get up. but…i stay, i welcome the feelings. i allow them to be a part of me. i allow myself to be broken.
these feelings come and go. just as feelings of joy, love and happiness often arise. sadness, grief and suffering are necessary to our growth and development as human beings. without deep pain we would not truly appreciate deep joy.
there is a story of a hindu goddess, Akhilandeshvari who was known as “she who is never not broken” she is in pieces, as all who live. her pieces are constantly moving dynamically to create experience and foster wisdom and compassion.
times of struggle are times of “going to pieces” or “falling apart”. this experience of brokenness is inherent in all of us. life is a journey of falling apart, of leaving pieces behind and gathering new pieces. we are all breaking…in a constant state of shifting pieces. this is such a beautiful and grounding way of looking at suffering.
there is an image of a statue that has always caught my eye and a beautiful quote by Pema Chodron
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. they come together and they fall apart. then they come together and they fall apart again. it’s just like that. the healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
we must embrace this “falling apart” this “brokenness” life is not a test to pass or a problem to overcome. it’s a series of experiences in which, if embraced and fully present can allow us to let go of the pieces no longer needed and gather the new pieces that allow us to move towards wholeness, wisdom and compassion.
i’m learning to allow myself to fall apart. i’m learning that there is beauty in joy and there is beauty in sadness. each one is necessary to appreciate and understand the other.
through this process i have been feeling sadness more deeply but have also felt an abundance of joy and love.
i find when life is most challenging, the greatest perspective is taking myself out of my “busy life” and allowing myself to feel.
we traveled to san francisco recently and spent some much needed time in the silence of healing nature.
nature is in a constant state of falling apart and coming together to make room for new.
each path leading to a new experience, a new lesson, some painful, some joyful.
this particular path led us to a beautiful tree swing amongst the hills overlooking the golden gate bridge called hippie hill. in this moment i felt pure joy. the deepest sense of joy and gratitude for all of my experiences, painful and not. in this moment i allowed for room to “feel”, room to “heal” and embraced all that is me in this beautiful, ever-changing, challenging, painful, joyful life.
feel pain. experience joy. allow yourself to fall apart. reach out to others. be compassionate towards yourself. take some time to feel. meditate. spend time in nature. take new paths. embrace loss. with each loss there is a gain. whatever you feel…feel it deeply, fully and presently.