The upside of feeling like you’ve lost everything is that you’re free to just be with it. Just be. The world gives you permission to be where you are. Even when you’re uncomfortable with yourself, you will find pockets of compassion and solidarity in places you’d least expect to. You can talk with people, the ones who can go there, about reality, unfiltered, and cry or laugh with wild abandon. It’s as if the veil is lifted from the world of small talk and you can just relate to everyone, because you have nothing to lose, and in your own vulnerability you become a place for others to be vulnerable and honest in an exceptional way, with the humanity of it all.
When you’ve got nothing to prove you’ve got nothing to lose.
While I think I have always been willing to “go there” with others, for as far back as I can remember, I’m quite certain that a lot of it was me searching, in others, for whom I thought might have the answers. Nowadays, now that I’m a griever or my world has been rocked and now that I’m looking only within myself, I find there’s less pressure, for others, to ‘help’, and they can simply ‘be’. And in that space I find there is an opening for us to ‘be’ together.
It’s remarkable the stories that people share with me, about their struggles or their loss or their seeking, and the humor we find together in the inane. Today I laughed my ass off with a client I’ve known for a few years– we went to places that before might have felt off limits or inappropriate. I didn’t try to give advice and she didn’t try to make it sound pretty.
Tonite I hugged someone I used to avoid out of fear of my imperfections and instead, we connected as people who know each other’s stories, as people who don’t have to pretend to be anything other than who we are– who as adults with our own histories and realities can simply take the time to share a moment of this brevity of life together and be better for it.
I find myself occasionally being far too sensitive and judgmental of the actions of others now that my life seems splayed out prostrate for this little world I live in. In those moments I have found disconnect from my truth and skepticism of others to cause me great disappointment within myself, because I don’t think I used to be like this. It is like a recoil from vulnerability and exposure combined with the self doubt of everything I believed about myself and my ability to nurture, at times places me in a corner of a cage and though the door is open, I’m afraid to leave it for what’s out there. I’m not sure if that makes sense or not, but when I find myself in it, I question everything and everyone and I don’t like it– I get quite mad at myself for feeling defensive and edgy.
And then the pendulum swings far in the other direction and I open myself too wide and inevitably, I need too much from outside of myself and start to feel let down or frustrated with myself. Blah blah blah.
But then, every once in awhile I simply find a balance between the two and the world is safe and right and I can just breathe and take notice of all that remains unscathed– these moments feel like Grace– like what is possible on earth, and there’s no stopping the rising of my chest to expand yet contain the growth of my heart. I’m not too much, you aren’t too much, and everything just is.
I pay deep attention to these moments like an explorer; what medicine is trickling into my veins. Love, always. But also time. Time for me. Time to walk and be still. Time to listen to my spirit. Time unhurried. It makes sense that I feel unbalanced while trying to give every last drop within my not quite full well to show up for a busy life as a fully functional and capable employee or wife or ______ (fill in the blank). Because it seems the only time I am able to just be is when my ‘schedule’ is light, when my husband is at work, when I’m on my own and I can choose to just do the next best thing in each moment. When I can take a long drive or go to the beach or take myself to lunch or lay out in the sun or take a nap or wash the dishes and fold the laundry or go to my nephews baseball game and sit with my family. When I don’t expect myself to keep up with the world. When there is zero pressure on me to DO and an invitation to just BE. The trick, I suppose, is learning how to bring that peace into the chaos. But I’m not there yet. When I accept this, I am free to not expect so much from myself and not set myself up for others to either. When I resist, everything feels overwhelming and I truly don’t even accomplish what I intended, to serve others with joy and ease, for all of us.
But I know I will find my way. I see it not too far off in the distance. My focus is steady. And each time it occurs effortlessly I know, deep in my heart, that it is when I am not trying so hard, to do everything perfectly, especially, grieving, that I just am. I am. I am not the stories I tell myself and neither are you. We are. We just are, especially when we let ourselves be.