Something is happening. Can you feel it too? There is suffering, heartache, inequality, lack of resources (personal and global), autism, vaccine injury, chronic disease, GMO foods and dying bees and we are all hurting at some level.
I understand why many turn off their TVs and avoid social media. It’s almost too much to take in and try to make sense of – this chaos that we call life on planet earth. And in the midst of the turmoil, you read/hear stories of courage, kindness, gentleness and generosity and we are all celebrating at some level.
Hurting and celebrating, both at the same time. How is that possible? How is it to live both rather than either/or?
An Ordinary Life
On the surface, my life seems rather ordinary. I get up, make coffee, and eat a little breakfast. When I am in a really good routine I write pages in the morning and meditate. In so many ways I live a very privileged life. And I know this and appreciate it. I have a roof over my head, a husband who loves me and two loving adult children who are amazing men. I have a daughter-in-law I love and a grand daughter who is a delight and joy. Until she came into our lives we did not understand how far and deep love could go…so much easier to be a grand parent than a parent I think. Parenting is hard on everyone and love can so easily get lost. Love is always there but all too often gets tarnished by tears and tantrums…and I am talking about the parents’ tears and tantrums, not just the kids!
I have both a mother and father who are quite alive and lively. I have siblings, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews. I have very good friends and colleagues. I have the privilege of offering homeopathic healing support to those who ask. For all my relationships and all that I enjoy every day from a cup of coffee to a hot bath before going to sleep in a comfortable bed, I am so so grateful. As I age, there is very little that I take for granted anymore.
An Extraordinary Life
But how do we hold suffering and celebration at the same when illness, cancer, pain, environmental toxicity and disease take over a person’s life?
I know someone who has said that the only solace she has when struggling with life and chronic illness is in the people who love her…her relationships with another. When we are sick, we can forget that. When we are suffering and feeling separated from others, we are ironically, most unlikely to reach out and ask for help when we need it the most. We are so hard on ourselves when we are most vulnerable, filled with judgments and condemnation about our situation.
In this current world situation of suffering – the prejudice, the racism, the injury, the greed – we can perhaps take the first step and reach out to those who are feeling separated, listen and learn what it is like to be them and what life is like for them.
We can challenge ourselves to ask the hard questions – where in my life do I unconsciously perpetuate myths and misunderstandings and make it hard for me as I struggle and hard for others who struggle? Can I be vulnerable enough to hear what life is like for another without feeling blame and shame where perhaps none has even been intended?
We can all do this for in fact, I think the human condition when stripped back to its own nakedness is that we all suffer from shame and we instinctively want to blame. Only when we wake up and are conscious of this within ourselves can we begin to grow and learn and change. How often and how many times in a day might we shame or blame or ourselves?
“Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.”
At this point in time, we are all broken and we are all hurting. And yes…some are more broken and hurting than others. But we can all become just a little more aware of what that is like for another.
We need each other to remember our purpose when we are confused about how and who to be in a suffering world. And when we can really hear each other, then we can celebrate.
Poetry has been for me, an extraordinary way to listen to that which speaks right to the heart. Poetry, music, song, dance and the arts have a way that bypasses the intellect where opinion/bias and explanation might ‘solve’ a problem. Poetry so often leads me to an experience of ‘ahhh…I get it.’ Poetry, like homeopathy, resonates deep within every cell of my being so that ‘ahhh….I get it.’
I am sharing this link with you. It is Maya Angelou, reciting one of her poems. Listen to the end. How did it affect you? I sobbed…perhaps that is needed…that we are able to weep for the suffering of one of our own.
And after the poem, you might want to read Mark Nepo’s essay “Unnecessary Suffering”.
“Each of us must make our peace with suffering and especially unnecessary suffering, which doesn’t mean our resignation to a violent world. For the fully engaged heart is the antibody for the infection of violence. As our heart breaks with compassion, it strengthens itself and all of humanity.”
Mark Nepo in Parabola Magazine
Yours in a fully engaged heart.
In health and healing,