Sitting with Sorrow
This week I had what I like to call a holy breakdown – you know, when all the stress, pain and fear you’ve been stuffing with food, work, and social media just suddenly spew out in all directions and – while you’d like to blame everyone else – there’s no denying that the only common denominator in all of the drama is you.
This time the breakdown started with a really pissed off, super dramatic, door-slamming complaint about how Shawn does NOT help me pack lunches. In therapy the next day, after my nervous system had time to regulate, I got more curious about what that whole lunch-packing explosion was about which – Shawn and I both knew – was the tip of some underlying iceberg I was unwilling to look at.
The truth is I’d just been carrying so much and it all caught up with me; weary, weary, I’m just so weary, is what finally came out as the eyes of my compassionate therapist blinked back at me.
I’d been keeping the family treadmill running at full speed.
Making brave and scary strides with my work.
Revisiting grief (again).
Navigating incessant global anxiety.
And somehow striving to be supermom through it all.
But I have to admit that I’m grateful for my holy meltdowns as they always have a way of indicating what’s going on with me on a deeper level and point me in the direction of what my body and Soul are really needing (but my thinking brain is unwilling to look at).
Once I cleaned up all the mess from the meltdown I realized that I needed a day to be still, to sit with my sorrow. No driving. No phones. No working. No talking. No distractions.
A spiritual talk on grief.
A soothing bath.
And space for a much-needed cry.
I realized that what was driving all the go-go-going (if I’m honest) was the fear of slowing down and sitting with my sorrow.
Something sacred and sweet happens when I do, though.
All those tight places in my chest open up. My breath finds its way back into places it couldn’t access and I’m somehow slower, kinder and more tender with everyone I meet.
I’m freed from the constant itch to impress everyone and can find a soft, steady comfort within myself that feels really natural.
This is the gift of grief that comes when we learn how to sit with our sadness rather than run from it: when we face everything and rise rather than saying eff everything and run (as the 12 steppers like to say).
The other night my friend and I sat with tea processing the senseless violence in Russia and Ukraine, wondering what it must be like to be one of the mothers juggling her children while on the run, what it must be like to be the mother of a Russian soldier, wondering if she’ll ever see her child again.
My fellow griever told me that back in the day there were women whose job was simply to wail for those who were grieving because those enduring the pain were too shocked to do so themselves.
And so we quietly leaked tears together over our tea, considering all the pain in the world, and taking a moment to feel it for those who could not.
While I know lots of people who believe the spiritual path is all about love and light and positivity (said from one recovering spiritual bypasser to another ;)), the ancient traditions suggest that there is a way to know God that’s much wider and deeper than that: that it’s possible to see all the moments of life as sacred and experience all of our feelings while continue to keep our eyes on the God who is greater than them all.
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Yoga Teacher and Student, Speaker, Writer, Mother, Wife, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Human