“hold the sadness and pain of samsara [suffering, confusion] in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the great eastern sun [fundamental awake human nature]. then the warrior [brave enough to look at & work with reality] can make a proper cup of tea.” ~ pema chodron
this healing, this unearthing truth, this coming out of hiding has cycled back around. i feel it in my eyes and my throat. i wake in waves of panic and go through the colors of the rainbow to ground myself. my moments are reduced to breathing.
it wasn’t long ago, seconds and lifetimes ago, that i was triggered by everything around me. the color orange, wooden candle holders, michael jackson songs, tents, computers, thin oak trim, car blinkers that make noise, stop signs, movie theatres. just writing them now has my face feel ten years old as it insitncively squeezes to keep tears and bursts of cyring breath in.
those stories, those objects, those memories have lost some power. i see them. they exist, like the sky. and i don’t scramble away from them. i’ve had the gift of rewriting some memories, of experiencing different endings, the transformative power of feeling not alone in them. i have experienced healing.
but it’s like when i was little, and would hide my own cuts. not sure what i was hiding, other than a primal instinct to hide what is wrong. it’s like the younger parts of me are pulling their hands from their pockets or from behind their backs, clammy and sweaty clenched around shriveled pieces of toilet paper, old tape not working anymore, covering festering wounds. they’ve done their best to keep them clean, they’ve done an amazing job not letting the infection spread, and now they can be done with that. i’ll take it on.
it is as though i already tended the wounds on the surface, took off the bandages, cleaned them, gave them air and warm water, sunlight and time to heal. and in the last while, the younger parts of me have gotten sloppy: they forgot to keep hiding their shame. they used both hands to pick flowers, showing me a glimpse of something. they ran a little too fast in the meadow, the old bandage falling off. they’ve relaxed too much. now the younger parts of me hide behind doorways, ashamed and scared. go to bed and pretend to be asleep. sneak out in the night to look for the bandage that fell. all those parts of me who got used to giving up their task, who started to relax in the comfort of living, scramble and scatter, gathering their binoculars and notepads, pencils and blankets to hide under. the younger ones terrified, the older ones furious to have been tricked again, their fury producing sweat that stings.
so, all over again the work begins.
first, find the hiding parts of me and start over: look in their eyes and at their wounds, take off the bandages, clean them, give them air and warm water, sunlight and time to heal. it seems so easy when written down.
and as i call them all out, with love i beg them to stay with me. i promise to take care of them. baby on my chest, toddler on my back, preschooler on my apron string, eight year old in one hand, ten year old in the preschooler’s hand, teenager close behind and the young adult me, making her humiliated debut, as tired and needing of love as the baby.
in the same way i was triggered into memories by physical things around me, i am now triggered into old beliefs by experiences around me. it’s like the process has moved from my head to my heart. my mind grasped the facts, accepted them as they were. and now my heart is taking its turn.
i’m swimming in the grief of the old beliefs that my mind knows aren’t true but my heart isn’t done releasing: the world is unsafe, you aren’t worth being taken care of, you can’t count on anyone, you aren’t worth protecting, you aren’t safe alone, you can’t trust anyone, love is conditional, you’re doing something wrong, you have to figure out the solution, you have to find three ways out of everything, you are what is happening to you, you are too needy, you just need to be grateful, your feelings don’t count, your feelings don’t keep you safe.
so, i suffer. and with an anxious belly, i rewrite my heart like a fucking stuart smalley snl skit: i am safe, i am worth being taken care of, i will always have support, i am worth protecting, i can take care of myself, i can trust, i can find true love is unconditional, i am doing my best, i will find clarity, i have choices, my needs are valid, i can be grateful and dissatisfied, my feelings count, my feelings are my heart, my feelings are my guide home, the place i can rest.
and i seek to see it for what it is. the sky being blue. no matter the clouds, the storms, the sun’s cast, the sky is blue. that is the place where i can rest, cozying up to fear, looking at the wounds that bore holes into my heart. and knowing, even if the peace is lacking, that they will heal. they are magic like that.