Against the Wind

againstthewindThe times in my life when everything fell apart were also the times when the seeds of something new were born. Because when everything is going wrong, we have no choice but to start moving in a different direction. Buddha said, “The obstacle is the path”, and even though it doesn’t feel that way when we come up against a block, that is, indeed, the doorway.

If nothing is going right, it’s probably time to examine the choices you’ve been making, the stories you’ve been feeding, and your way of thinking about yourself and the world. I know that’s a confrontational thing to say. I fully realize there are times when life brings a set of circumstances that sends us reeling, like the loss of a loved one. In those instances, nothing is going to feel right for quite some time. But I’m not talking about that. I’m saying if you feel miserable with your life and it’s not due to one heartbreaking event, then you probably feel miserable with yourself. If you feel stuck, there is almost certainly room for healing. In her beautiful book, “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times”, Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know”. If you’re at a place where you feel deeply sad and somewhat immobilized, there’s a doorway to healing you really need to find, open, and walk through.When we avoid exploring those raw places within ourselves that mark our deepest pain, we set ourselves up to wander in the darkness feeling lost and lonely and hopeless. It might seem that denial or numbing out would be easier than heading straight for the center of your pain, but that’s actually a recipe for swimming in it relentlessly. And treading water is exhausting, and that’s certainly no way to live. In order to heal anything, we have to acknowledge it. We have to lean up against it with open arms and say, “Yes, here is a scar…let me run my fingers along it, and open to this old pain. Let me spill my tears, and if I need to, let me bleed again, until the heat of this thing is released. Let me have compassion for myself, and if necessary and possible, anyone else who may have been involved.” Until you can do that, your pain owns you, and it factors in to every choice you make. If you’ve ever experienced the physical pain of a broken bone, or a migraine, or anything outside the common stubbing of a toe, then you know trying to think clearly while you’re in pain is next to impossible. Pain is depleting and debilitating. Emotional pain is not any different, it’s just not as obvious. We can learn to live with it and cope with it and shove it down and deny that it exists, but again, anything about yourself that is unknown to you, or any secrets you keep will own you.

You may not be doubled over in pain, your pupils may not dilate. In fact, you might pull off a smile pretty convincingly. But if you’re in pain, you will know it. You will know it because just living life will be hard. Getting through the day will require effort. And life does not have to be like that. Life can be incredibly beautiful. It really is such a gift, just to be granted another day where you have the potential to spread so much love and joy and laughter. Where you have the opportunity to take in all the miracles around you, in the form of people, the twinkle in someone’s eye, or the unguarded laugh of a child, the gorgeous sun, or a tree swaying in the wind. It’s hard to see any of that when we are in pain and darkness. Head for the darkest corner you’ve got, and wait for your light to start shining. It comes in the form of your intuition, in the voice of your heart, in your ability to allow your past to soften you and open you, and not to harden you. When something inside you finally cries, “Enough!”. Everything does not have to be perfect for you to start shining. In fact, everything can be a perfect mess. Walk right into the middle of it, and take off on the wings of your heart. Calmer days are ahead, but you might have to fly through some storms for awhile to find them. Sending you a ton of love, and letting you know your heart makes an excellent flotation device, so there’s nothing to fear. Ally

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