This year has pulled the rug out from under me too many times to count. In truth, my head has not stopped spinning. Once I’d thought the dust had finally settled and I’d somewhat found my bearings, I’d turn around and find another aspect of my life in disarray.
Many, many times, all I've wanted to do was run and hide, go back to sleep, numb away the confusion, the disorientation, the pain.
But I’ve chosen not to. Sure, the temptation is there. Hell, I’m pregnant and all I could think of today was—Give me a fucking glass of wine. A shot of tequila. A toke of marijuana. Something to make this hurting just stop.
Yet today, I didn’t run. I didn’t numb.
Instead, I leaned in.
I sat with my pain. I laid down in bed and I stared at the patterns in my the concrete on my ceiling. I called my Mom and I cried. I cuddled up with my dog. I pulled some tarot cards. I cried some more. I sat in meditation. I made myself my favorite meal for lunch. I wrote. I went for a walk. I cried again. I sat with my partner and let him hold me.
Yeah, it stung (and still does). Yes, it was painful (and the hurt remains). But—guess what? I am human. I feel. Suffering is not a pathology. It is an integral aspect of what it means to be alive.
Today I am grateful that I have spent the last several years of my life cultivating an intimate relationship with soul, with wild nature, with spirit, with a deeply devoted inquiry into what it means to be alive.
But, here's the thing—Having a spiritual practice, or a connection with the instinctual, or an intimacy with soul, does not make me immune to life's upheavals and the world's harsh realities. Developing a deeper connection with soul does not make me impervious to life's many numerous ups and downs. It certainly doesn't stop the storm from barreling through or prevent the shit from hitting the fan.
Yet in spite of repeatedly loosing my bearings on this journey called life, I have found that I can still put one foot in front of the other. While I am traversing those inevitable shit storms, I can intuitively sense the sun still there behind the storm clouds. Although I can’t see it shining, I know its powerful life-giving rays are glowing out there somewhere. And I’ve learned that the rainbow never arrives without a bit of rain.
Yeah, today sucked. Sure, I spent most of the day curled up in bed feeling like shit. And I can guarantee that life will continue to throw more curve balls at me.
But that's okay. I’m no longer afraid of this pain.
And I believe, in learning to lean in, we can all begin to reorient ourselves to our suffering, and the suffering going on in the world, not as reasons to numb out, but rather, as resources of wisdom teaching us how to turn and face this wild ordeal called the human experience.