We get made by the things that break us. I know, I know, it sound like some pathetic platitude for when times are tough. But really, we so get made by the things that we just can’t seem to find our way through at the time.
Sometimes we will seem to be locked inside of ourselves unable to get out. Sort of stuck, floating in some murky swampy soul-soup. Sometimes we will be distant and disassociated even from ourselves, struggling to get back in touch with ourselves. Sometimes we will need to work hard at the qualities that will sustain us and see us through-the grief, the fear, the furious what-the-actul-fuckness.
I know some of you will have the kind of nice nervous systems, or good parenting, or privilege that means you don’t get to go to these places. If that is so then good for you!!!! Keep doing what you are doing!
And yet others will need to work at balance, they may have histories or biochemistries that means the dark swings by from time to time.
Yet there’s good in the dark. I know my dears it doesn’t feel good. It feels shitty and hard to sustain yourself through. It feel bleak and barren sometimes there. These are the places that you don’t want to touch. These are the times that you simultaneously long for someone to walk beside you. And it may also be the times when your shame my come calling for you, stopping you reaching your to the near and dear ones whom would be with you. That culturally-conditioned inner voice that says “I don’t want to be seen in this state…Society says I must feel fine all the time or else it means I’m really fucked up…” Don’t listen to those voices my darlings. Their names are doubt and despair. Yup- they are part of this human experience too.
Yet the dark is where things grow. It is where the seeds germinate. It is where the baby gestates. It is where the big-bang of existence comes from and goes back to -inside the big black hole of space-time. After all, we too are the mystery of matter materialising and de-materialising.
Theres is doorway in this a darkness. a threshold. A radical rite of passage. A way though that maybe isn’t one that we are particularly pleased to see!!! Nonetheless it is the path underneath our feet when the moments come.
A rite of passage traditionally had some element of near death experience in it -something in us dies. Something that wasn’t working – be that on a personal level – or some part of global society that was a shambles held up by the monumental momentum of consumerism and capitalism. Maybe this is what these Covid times are teaching us. At times life will touch us terribly. It will take it’s toll. We will get humbled by our own humanity, both personally and as a global society and economic system.
Sometimes we get to be on top. We learn things, work thorough them, work them out. At other times life throws us down, mounts us and forces us to surrender to being there in the dust, face down amidst a chaos that we can’t control!
Maybe what gets made in these moments is that we get super skilful at surrender- at ways of finding good grace with the things that don’t go our way.
It’s like aikido- if you soften with the blows then you can use that energy of attack coming towards you to turn things around for your own good. We just have to get super skilful at working with energy- our own and that of life coming towards us.
Maybe what we wrestle with is just what is needed for building our metaphorical mental-muscle mass. Our soul-strength. Our capacity to hold and contain the multitudes within us.
The key to the things we believe we can’t handle and the things that we think we can, is generally the resources that we have available- internal, external. Our perception of potency matters often more than our abilities or intellect (think of certain world leaders that have reached the top with a lack of either it seems!!!)
In these times we may have to work harder at trusting, at finding faith. If we take the fairy story of the children that find their way home via the trail of breadcrumbs back through the woods that glistening under the full moon and guide them safely him again. It begs the question what is our personal bag of breadcrumbs? What thread can we follow when we feel lost and like we don’t know how to get out of it?
Find that thread and follow it my loves… Relish in building your inner-resources. Call in the qualities of the heart that will sustain you.
So why not place your trust in trust my dears. Have fierce faith in faith. Hope for more hopefulness.
I say this not as some glib exercise in semantics- but as the mental muscles that we can exercise when there’s nothing else left to “do” in the material world. Qualities of the heart get grown in these times.
Fear has a voice that generally says “I can’t”.
Resilience builds up a tool belt that says “you so can…”
Cultivate your “can” in those times when it’s all that you can do. Believe in your being bigger than whatever fear or doubt is wandering through you.
Trust in trust my dears. Have faith in having faith. Hope for more hopefulness….
-Copyright Tess Howell 2020