A few weeks ago, someone messaged me on the fan page and said he was going to end his life. I can’t really explain the panic I felt, especially because his message was a few hours old by the time I saw it. He shared some details of his last few years, and why he’d come to the conclusion that it just wasn’t worth it. He’d suffered some devastating losses, enough that it was understandable he felt hopeless and defeated. I wrote back immediately, and gave him the Suicide Prevention Hotline number (800-273-8255), and also contact information for three therapists I know and trust. I begged him to write back and let me know he’d received my message, and also told him there have been times in my life when I’ve felt like giving up, too. Not for many, many years, but I certainly entertained those thoughts at one time in my life. When things feel so dark you really can’t think of a reason to lift your head off your pillow, the thought, “What’s the point of it all?” is natural and understandable.
Yesterday, someone wrote in a thread, “Why can’t we talk about the miraculous sometimes, too?”, and then she wrote back and very sweetly rescinded her question, saying that it, “all leads back to joy”. But it’s a very legitimate question, and there are days when I just write from my heart and send out a hit of love. Or I hope I do. I write about the shadow emotions a lot because I feel in the spiritual community there’s so much focus on being positive and spreading the light. I think for so many people, this can be alienating. There is so much light. There’s a limitless well of love within each of us. But to uncover that well, there’s usually some digging required. And I think a lot of people feel alone in that digging, like there must be something wrong with them. And sometimes they give up. Numb out. Run, deny, try to push it all down. Or they become bitter and think other people must have it easier. And some people do have it easier. We don’t all go through the same experiences. There are some people who will suffer losses that are so knifing, so brutally painful you have to hope they’re going to be able to put one foot in front of the other. And that’s usually when some well-meaning positive person will come along and smugly assert that, “everything happens for a reason”. And forget that the foundation of a true spiritual practice, is hopefully compassion. There’s nothing comforting in telling a person who is trying to remember how to breathe in and breathe out, that their loss has happened for a reason. Or that they should focus on all the good things in their life. Or that one day they’ll understand why. Some things will never ever be okay. Some things will never make sense. There are some lessons that will never elicit gratitude. Growth, yes. If you get through it. Deeper understanding and insight and compassion? Yes. Gratitude? No. Not for some things.
It’s my belief a spiritual practice ought to be there for you whether you’re moving through beautiful, joyful, miraculous times in your life, or you’re going through blinding pain that makes you want to give up. I don’t worry about those of you feeling gratitude. I love you, but I’m not worried. I do want to reach out to those people in darkness and say, you’re not alone. And offer a hand. A blog post. A yoga class, a hug. An email. Whatever I’ve got. Because I really think that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to love each other, and support each other, and share and grow together. And I think that is pretty miraculous. When I look at my life today, it’s hard to imagine I ever wondered what “the point of it all” was, because it’s very clear to me now. The point of it is to love your heart out. To connect. There’s an insane amount of joy in all that. I’ve been emailing with the man who was feeling desperate a few weeks ago. He’s talking to someone and getting support in many areas. Sometimes we need help. It’s not easy, this business of being human. But it is pretty amazing. Sending you a ton of love. Ally