The tears don’t always come, but when they do, it feels like the ocean has taken a deep cleansing breath, exhaling the debris and heaviness out all the way onto the shores that is life.
Sometimes they happen driving in the car, talking with a beloved friend, perhaps a mother or father on the phone, or maybe that stranger who took the time to listen to you.
Life is hard these days. People are sick. Some are dying.
Illness and disease are nothing new, though it has been the focal point of our world at large this last year and then some. But, for as long as humans have been alive, so too, have we been also simultaneously dying, at times battling illness or less-than-perfect health conditions during the course of our time here on this earth.
For those with chronic pain or illness, the day in and day out existence are a battle and challenge often faced silently.
No one gets a free pass in this life. Even the ones who appear so perfectly put together on the outside don’t. We all suffer. We all get sick. We all are nursing some wound, a broken leg, a broken heart, or a relentless battle with physical or mental ailments. If we’re so lucky, we have found a support system for ourselves of friends and loved ones who are there to listen to our cries of pain, distress, and confusion.
Life is never this perfect stream of events. And why would that naivety of belief in perfection even exist in the first place? To set us up for misery and disappointment when things inevitably change, shift, or at times crumble? Where did that belief, that perfection is the goal, originate from? And, that anything less than perfection was not worthy of being called a life?
I, for one, am so damn tired of chasing that elusive state of perfection in myself, in my life, and in others.
Life is messy. Life is chaotic. Life is painful. Our health wanes. Our heart gets hurt. Our loved ones may leave us. People lie. People cheat. We fall short. We make mistakes.
And, also, life is so damn beautiful. We fall in love. We meet someone unexpectedly across our path and remember what it feels like to be loved. We have our wounds touched by someone who doesn’t judge us but loves us through them. We share our pains and vulnerabilities and someone doesn’t run far away. We remember the joy of a child oozing out of our skin in pure ecstasy as we are seduced by life herself and the magic she brings us.
One day, it’s a little bit of both. Some days, we are soaring on the clouds like an eagle in the sky. Other days, we can’t quite catch our breath from the gripping anxiety we feel, this panic over the health of our bodies or our minds, of the state of the world, of our loved ones. Some days, we sink. We feel the weight of depression reeling us in, calling us back into those dark spaces that once brought comfort.
This is life. Did anyone tell you this either? Where was that life manual no one was handing out? I guess that’s because we have to walk it to know it for ourselves. We have to go through the fires of death, of loss, of heartbreak, of captivating love, of beautiful ecstasy, of tantalizing joy, to know it.
This week, these weeks have been painful, messy, and beautiful all at once. It’s been a giant wave of changing emotion in the ocean of life we are all riding. The deeper felt understanding that we are changing. That we are no longer the same person we used to be. That life has changed us. That even if we feel like we are breaking, we know we will be reborn. That even on the days when life has blessed us so profoundly and abundantly, and yet we are battling a more inner, hidden battle, a hidden illness, a hidden mental illness, obsessive and fearful thoughts, that both realities are so damn valid.
We can be falling in love and breaking at the same time. We can be feeling uncertainty in one area of our lives and maybe in another area feel so abundantly cared for. It’s both/and. Not if/or/maybe. It’s all of it.
Beautiful, gripping, shocking, debilitating, obliterating, intoxicating life. Imperfection in all its dust, gold, and glory. We conquer one battle. We soar off into the present success. We get deflated by the brokenness of our perceived bodies, self, or world.
For the moments when life wants to dictate our inner experience, we have more choice than we have ever been told to believe. Is it easy? Hell no. Possible? I think so, with great conscious effort and mindful choosing. By accepting what’s here. Accepting the pain. The confusion. The anxiety. The fear. The illness. The questioning. The cracking of our egoic lens. The shattering of our former self.
We can only be with what we can accept. And we can only accept by being so damn present to what’s here. Resistance to the here and now is what breeds suffering. Why do we suffer over our suffering?
Yes, there needs to be a deep honoring and witnessing of our emotions, and we can also decide at some point that suffering over our suffering is not serving us.
Let’s continue or intend (maybe the first time ever or the first time today) to make self-kindness our focus. To befriend the self enduring the pain, the uncertainty, the loss, the fear, and the discomfort.
Choosing to be kinder to the self is how we can bring more peace to our hearts. Choosing to be caring and empathetic toward the self enduring it all is how we bring the light back to our world. It’s how we overflow with more love, care, and compassion for others. It’s how we stay open to the beautiful moments too.
May we keep staying open to it all: the mess, the pain, and the beauty.
May we remember to call on the love that’s here, to be open to the love that’s here, and to lean so deeply into it—no matter what form our present, changing and shifting circumstances take.