We are all a little bit broken—a little bit a lot for most of us. Regardless of how well put together we look on the outside we all have days when difficult emotion bubbles up from the inside. Life brushes up against us and we get triggered. We try to fix ourselves on the outside to feel better on the inside. We feel too much.
Ultimately, the world I experience ‘out there’ is just pointing to the song that’s playing ‘in here’. My psyche, mind, and heart are like sheet music that informs the reality that I experience. My life is a symphony—the notes of an inner blueprint come to life. It’s through the living that we activate the song that is encoded in our beings, come what may.
This week I got triggered, like really triggered. A long held hurt I’ve attempted to deal with ten thousand times in the past resurfaced and I found myself in the thick of it as though I’d never worked on it before. Ouch.
When I feel hurt by an event I've come to understand that it’s because that 'note' of pain within me has been struck like a tuning fork and is reverberating. Similarly, when I feel in love, with a twinkle in my eye and bounce in my step, I am swaying to the harmony of my own heart song – basking in my own love light that’s been brought to the foreground. In our inner notes lies the great spectrum of feeling from the primal pain of separation to the bliss of ultimate oneness. We really do have the capacity to feel it all.
Depending on what’s happening ‘out there’ in my world and the based on the choices I make, certain ‘melodies’ or feeling tones get activated within me. Like a hand sweeping across piano keys and back again, life experience brush up again the notes and feeling tones that I carry within. I no longer believe that with the right amount of maneuvering that I can avoid loss, pain, and heartache. I have yet to hear of anyone’s symphony of life that includes only the high notes.
We have been given the power of choice to navigate the songs of life. It’s by choosing our response to what arises that we grow our mastery and earn our depth. What is this journey, in the end, if not an ongoing opportunity to choose love?
Life is but a long game of Truth and Dare. We are tender creatures of the divine, more at the mercy of life and all that we carry within than we ever care to admit. Staying open is brave especially in the face of all that we feel on any given day.
Like neural pathways in the brain, we get more proficient at the notes we play over and over. So, when life triggers sour or somber notes in us—we feel angry, grief-stricken, or hurt—what should we do with what arises? We may not always choose what bubbles up but we can choose how we respond.
My approach to this latest difficult experience was something like this: I gave myself permission to feel what needed to be felt AND I chose to do what I knew I could to sweeten the feeling tone of my experience.
First, I let myself cry and pout, tears rolling heavy down my cheeks that the heavy song I carry within could fly free, upwards and out of me. I let it breathe.
Then I washed my hair to nurture myself and felt the hot water rushing down my back. I rolled out my yoga mat and made origami from my achy bones. I did laundry as an act of devotion to myself, folding clothes and pairing socks—allowing what needed to come together to come together. I washed my car that the grime of life might be released from my being. I filled my car with gas that I might be filled and that I might receive what nourishes me when I need it most. I spent my day and the better part of the week feeling and nurturing, feeling and nurturing, feeling and nurturing.
The most mundane tasks can become rituals when we apply our presence and intention to them.
Thomas Merton said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.” I think that our job ultimately is to love ourselves regardless of whether we feel worthy or not. There will be days when we don’t feel worthy and days that we are riddled with heavy emotion. We must learn to love ourselves anyway.
I’m sure this is not the last time life brushes up against my inner owies. I don’t think we’re ever really done. I’m learning that I attract situations that show me where my ‘work’ is, situations that take me deeper into my healing and this process tends to be really tender and uncomfortable. I feel exposed, my own wisdom feels useless, and I can only rely on grace to see me through. Each time I begin to think that I’ve mastered a layer of living I am taken deeper and humbled all over again.
I know that whatever happens, whether I like it or not, I want to be in my heart.
Whether I ever heal my deepest wounds, whether I ever get ‘what I want’ from life, whether I ultimately ever feel like ‘I’ve arrived’ or done what I was suppose to do, or whether anyone else loves me, I want to love myself. Choosing love is heroic.
It is within my power to choose to attend to myself deeply and to learn how to give to myself that which I most desire from others. I can increasingly meet my own needs at the highest level and learn to be generous with myself. Through experience I increasingly get that I need to pack extra for those days that I'm ravenous and others have nothing to give. I’m learning to complete this sentence a thousand times over: I love you even if____________. I’m learning that I’m worthy of my own love and affection as flawed and fucked up as I sometimes feel.
Living as a gift ultimately begins with living as a gift onto ourselves. It’s about being generous with our flawed, unreasonable, and paradoxical selves. It’s in being loving with ourselves that we access the sweeter notes of the song that we carry within and that we also get through the not-so-sweet stuff.
Copyright © 2015 Marie-Ève Bonneau