One of the most difficult years of my life has created some amazing changes in me. While my initial response to all of the adversity and loss that I faced was a soul numbing anger, things have taken a different turn in the last few months. There is a softness in me that did not exist before and a renewed and refined compassion and love for others has blossomed out of that. While I have faced challenges before in my life, this was the first time I looked nowhere but inside my own heart for solutions and answers. I did not look for an external solution.
Something I have discovered is that I have an ability to be in the moment with whatever is happening internally and externally. I am able to be present and look at what is going on and as a result have a better understanding of myself and others. One thing that happened when Howard passed away was extreme sadness and grief which greatly conflicted with my hopes and the feelings of freedom his death gave me. I believe that conflicting emotions are normal during the loss of the significant person in your life and we waste too much time feeling guilty about it. It is a horrible situation to be in, you are trying to let go of them, the life you shared, move on with your life and remember and miss them at the same time. It is a tall order, the letting go and holding on to their memory all at once.
Life is full of conflicting emotions, challenges, joy and miraculous moments. We choose how we respond to that! I allowed my anger to take over for a short period but could not sustain it for long, it was killing my soul. The anger did serve its purpose for that period of time and I am thankful that I experienced it. The anger taught me a lot and may have been the catalyst for the softening that happened. I have a softness for myself and my struggles and have started behaving in a more gentle manner towards others. I do not know, nor should I presume to know how others should be under any circumstance. We just need people to allow us the space to work through it in our own way. We all need that space to learn and grow.
Having the ability and desire to look objectively at yourself and your reactions to the world and circumstance is a priceless learning opportunity. You can allow theses things to harden you and I believe that the people who feel as though these things have happened to them will harden. Life is happening to them, they are not active participants in their own life, the surface of the why of things is barely scratched. When you take the time to look deeper with an attitude of discovery and wonder it is amazing to see the layers and depths of the pain and untruths. My anger was there to insulate me from the pain and fear. But in insulating myself from the grief, pain and fear, I also insulated myself from fully experiencing all the good, the joy, the hope and the wonder. It is a double edged sword, anger is, that closes your heart off so you don’t feel anything.
I sat in this living room the day I started this blog and had an awakening of sorts. I fell in love with my life and could see how all the emotions, both conflicting and complimentary, were connected. I will call this a spiritual awakening simply because I experienced my own soul breaking free from all of the constraints my mind and beliefs had placed upon it. I was free in a way I had never been, I was free to just be. No rules, no right and wrong, just me naked in my humanity. I have great hope for humanity and know that people just like me are having awakenings of their own in the most mundane of places. Our quiet strength is far more powerful than the anger and fear being spewed out of so many minds and angry hearts at the moment. Living with your heart wide open allows you to feel everything and that can be a scary place to live from. It is painful and my heart breaks on a daily basis but my heart with it’s wide open embrace also gets to experience all the joy and wonders of being human in this time and place.