As I sit here, I feel a deep sadness and something even deeper than that… The powerful Love of ages? I am currently part of a group of people working deeply to release old hurts and wounds – to courageously train ourselves to look past all of our habits of survival and to find compassion, healing, and a new way of being. To thrive, instead of simply survive. This week, I have had some big shifts in my own work within the group. Today, I got home from a blustery day farming (feeling raw and wind-burnt on my skin, as well as raw inside) and spent a while truly being with all the emotions coming up for other members of my group. Then, I opened up Facebook and saw the news about Paris. The year I lived there was a rough time in my life, but I wouldn’t change it for a second. As much as part of me hated living there, there is (and always will be) a part of my heart still in that city – so the sadness I usually feel when such news of an episode like this (of anger/hurt/fear/a need to be heard exploding out into violence and wounds that impact many) feels intensified for me this evening. My thoughts go to friends and acquaintances still living there, hoping they’re OK. I have always read the words “we are all connected” and believed it on a rational level. More recently I have come to believe it on an experiential level. I have listened to the words of hurt from another and have felt all my hurt rise up in response. Me, my group, the victims AND perpetrators in Paris – we all need Love. We all need Compassion. We are all the same. Although most of us do not enact our inner turmoil and violence on others on a large scale, don’t we all have the seed of pain inside of us? We all have the potential – the desire to scream until someone says “I hear you, I feel you, I love you.” We may not bomb or shoot people or places, but we are not innocents and have all played out some smaller, more subtle form of violence over the years in thoughts, words, or deeds when the child within us has felt threatened and reacted to protect, or has felt denied and has acted out to get the attention we both fear and crave. The more I see and feel in this world, the more I understand that the only way out is through. The only way to not feed my own inner violence is to choose love – to be that compassionate witness for myself – “I hear you, I feel you, I love you.”
So tonight I am grateful for:
- The tools yoga and meditation have given me for staying with the emotions. I have spent too long judging myself for being ‘too sensitive’ and trying to push emotions away because they scared me. Now, my practice is to allow myself to fully feel them – feel them but not build a house in them and move in. Feel them and let them move their way through.
- Messages of support where I wasn’t necessarily expecting them – and moving slowly enough to give them time to actually land. There have been times in my life when I couldn’t see the support, or didn’t let myself pause and fully take in what a gift and offering that support was. It makes it all the sweeter now. Not thinking I was worth the love and support kept me from seeing and receiving. Thinking I AM worth it is not arrogance – it’s appreciation.
- The opportunities I have had to travel. Before I even heard the news about Paris, I was driving home and watching the sunset and the colors reminded me of the Australian desert and the night I spent sleeping there under the stars. Our lives are only as rich as what we let in and through travel, I have let in a LOT.
- That our past leads us to our present. Seeing a sunset and thinking about magical trips and faraway places, but also going to sit in the little wood cabin I used to live in and feeling the wind blow through the walls – grateful for my time in that cabin and all it taught me, AND that I have grown into my life and now have a house to go home to on a cold, windy night. Listening to music that takes me right back to some challenging times and hearing it speak to me again – but from a different place now that I have grown in experience and depth: crying tears of sadness over songs that had spoken to my pain and tears of joy when listening to a song that was an anthem to me and realizing that I have already lived my way into the dreams inspired by that song.
May we each of us know that we are worthy of Love exactly as we are and may we each experience truly being held, seen, heard, loved, and honored – in our pains and our joys, in our past stories and our dreams of the future, in the present moment: as it is.