Yesterday I sent out one of those desperate, “Help me!” prayers to the universe. Do you know the kind – when you don’t even know what to pray for, when you feel so lost, so tired that the only word that you can say is, “Help?” Do you know those moments – when you hurt so badly that you don’t feel like you can handle it for one. more. second? Or when you spend most of the day crying on the bathroom (or in my case, the laundry room) floor? (The laundry room has become a haunt of mine lately.)
Much of this past year has been a giant unraveling for me. My exterior life has fallen apart on just about each and every layer and level – relationships, finances, career, health, faith, and more. They don’t call it a dark night of the soul for nothing.
I’ve talked to so many people – dear, dear, conscious, awake, intentional people – who’ve been experiencing the same darkness, confusion, fear and doubt. I’ve thought a lot about why this is. And the word I keep coming back to is mercy. There is a mercy in pain, in being broken open.
The mercy is this: the pain is there to heal you, not to hurt you. I know, I know – it sounds crazy. What?? And yet…. I know I’ve felt tremendous guilt about my pain – feeling bad, feeling judged, feeling blamed, feeling like it’s all my fault. This belief – that I’m bad and being punished and that’s why I hurt – is not true. It’s caused me enormous suffering over the years. And as I face this belief again and again, with every heartache, it’s power diminishes and fades. And I no longer suffer from it.
Those beliefs are arising so that I may see them for what they are – untrue – and let them go. What beliefs are arising in your life so that you can release them, heal them, and let them go?
Being broken open, unfortunately – or fortunately – is part of healing. It’s part of the path of letting go of food suffering… of letting go of any suffering.
Rilke put it this way: “What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.”
Oh, beloved, if you’re stumbling, if you’re hurting, how I want to hold you in my arms and reassure you: you are right where you need to be. Those hands that are working on you are kind. They are not there to punish, but to heal those beliefs, those old, old, childhood wounds that linger in your heart and mind, to bring them up to the light so that you may see, and know and experience that they are not true.
We heal when we trust.
To trust means to forgive – to forgive ourselves, to forgive the “shoulds” that run circles in our heads, telling us we should’ve been able to do better, act better, be better, prevent the falling apart, make it different, be in control….
On Sunday I unrolled my yoga mat for the 3rd time in 8 months and said hello to myself. I spent much of my practice in hero’s pose, a sitting posture, with my hand on my heart. I poured out my tears, offering myself self forgivness. As I noticed my flabby belly – a physical symbol of all that fell apart this year, and a physical symbol of my strident “shoulds” – I offered it kindness. I breathed in kindness and breathed out forgiveness as I whispered to myself, over and over, “I will not make war against my body. I will not make war against my own heart.”
(Learn how to let go of painful “shoulds” in your life in Overcoming Sugar Addiction for Life.)
To trust means to have faith when things are falling apart. To rest in the mystery and mercy in even what we don’t want. This morning, as I sat in a puddle with my tears, as I felt the tight panic, of, “No, no, no, this can’t be happening!” a new voice, a new strength came into my being, softening the tight, anxious, fearful voice who wanted to wave a magic wand and fix the mess I found myself in. This voice reassured me with, “You’re going to be alright. You’re going to be okay.” And I felt, oddly, at peace – even as it all fell to ashes. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, I just know that it will be okay.
To trust means to know that we are never, ever, ever alone.
Yesterday I sent out a prayer – please, God, help. Today I got emails from half a dozen people saying, “I was thinking about you all day. Are you okay?” I felt a whoosh of goosebumps as I realized my prayers do not go unanswered; that I am held by something greater than myself in this loopy, hurting, chaotic, spinning world.
Rilke said it best again – “You must believe that…life holds you in its hands and will not let you fall.”
Oh, beloved, trust the breaking. Trust this breaking open. Trust the falling. Trust that you are held in kind, kind hands, who love you more than you know. Who are doing everything in their power to free your heart, body, mind and spirit….who are doing everything in their power to rest you in love.
We are all, all of us, okay. We are all, all of us, right where we need to be.