I’m not able to hold people where they are, at least that’s my story. It feels hard to listen to others heart pain and when I do, it pains mine.
Having held the energy of four people dying since November 2012, two of them siblings, has me feeling sad and frightened. A part of me feels I will never have as much strength, resilience, stamina, or energy, or be able to do everything I used to.
In the last two months of my life I’ve felt the slow descent of grief. I’ve noticed a fatigue that is familiarly daunting, the remnants of it relentless. Yet I’ve put off choosing to take the time to regain my vitality or even notice that it might be missing.
Was I going to keep pushing the limits of my body’s endurance, trying to maintain some semblance of a life I could not honestly or honourably pretend to be living? Or would I accept, make peace with, what had been taken from me?
My healing could only begin if I dropped the reluctance to tell the world what was going on for me.
I could still be kind, listen well, offer something of beauty to others’ hearts. The most I could give is my unhurried, undistracted company.
I could stop hiding.
Choosing to tell this to my world, to say that I need to live slowly, slowly into this new, smaller life, is a gift of powerful generosity to myself.
I now hear others share their experience of grief and more readily recognize its manifestation even if it remains a secret.
I’m on the receiving end of accepting that it’s ok to acknowledge the limitation that grief has bestowed upon me and to hold it with grace. I’ve found some peace in cutting myself some slack.
I can own my particular limitation, with its physical and energetic constraints. Today, I can respond to these choice points, without using vital energy to cover them up.
In his book, “a life of being, having, and doing enough”, Wayne Muller shares a Tibetan parable.
If we put a tablespoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it, the water will taste terrible and bitter. But if we were to stir that same tablespoon of salt into an enormous, clear blue mountain lake, the water in the lake would remain sweet; we would not taste the salt at all.
The problem, the Tibetans say, is not the salt we are given. The real problem is how spacious is the container into which the salt is poured.
My challenge is not, never, ever, whether or not I will be given challenges and limitations. I will. The question is, how will I hold them, how will I be changed, how will they shape me, what will I bring to the healing of them, what, if anything, will be born in its place?
Will I summon the courage to tell you that I’m not feeling my usual wellness?