Life is overwhelming at times.
This has been so pronounced this past month. Sometimes I don’t know how any of us have the strength or the courage to keep going. Grief has been in the air, In my air. Nothing poignant has happened and if I look around there is nothing that is wrong, Still, there is this heaviness that I’ve been carrying with me.
My best attempts to figure it out at its source have fallen short. And if I’m being really truthful, I am so tired of trying to figure everything out. It’s bloody exhausting. I’m exhausted. My brain is exhausted. My body is exhausted. I even wonder if my soul is exhausted.
My only reflections have brought me to look at the cycles of nature…this is my Chinese Medicine brain ceaselessly at work. Autumn/Fall. That resonates…I feel like I am falling into myself. From the 5-element perspective, the fall is the last phase in a full cycle of the movement of energy. It is the cleaving off of what is no longer useful and retaining what is of value. It’s the refinement of our essential nature.
It feels like this, the grief. I can see the past so clearly and as I move toward the future I am so clear that what was, will never be again. Sometimes, this brings me great joy, but right now it brings a sorrow and sadness that rips my guts out at times. The tears come from deep within my viscera and they pour out like a hard rain. Letting go sucks sometimes. Sometimes I resent that it’s a natural function of life. With the tears can come anger, life is moving too fast and I can’t keep up. All I want is to slow down but there is this chaos to the life I have created that demands my attention, both physically and mentally.
So I sit with the anxiety that sitting in the chaos brings. I let it bubble up. A typical reaction would be to indulge it and “do” something to quell the absolute uncomfortableness in my stomach and heart. I’m fucking sick of it always being there…lurking. I don’t know what is different about this moment in time, but I have decided to sit with it and not try to change it or “do” away with it.
My gut tells me that this, the anxiety that comes with avoiding stillness, is the root of the grief. My heart tells me that perhaps there has been some unhappiness that has not been tended. And these two feelings, the grief and the unhappiness, have been driven deeper and deeper by all the busy. I don’t think I thought this was how life was going to work out. And I have nothing to complain about. In my life I have been graced with a supportive family, wonderful daughter, great friendships, fulfilling practice, not to mention all the socioeconomic privilege I enjoy living in this country. I used to fantasizing about what adulthood would be like. I’d be successful, fit, having a functional and loving family, and most importantly I would have accomplished something that would have set me apart from the crowd.
What I’ve discovered through years of self-examination is this. I have carried with me this desperate need to be special.
While I was busy striving to be special I am pretty sure I alienated myself from what the universe had authentically intended for my life. The thought occurred to me the other day that, while I have been so busy trying to be something, I have forgotten how to just be someone. My identity is so wrapped up in what I do and what I am doing. Single mother, Practitioner, constant student, always studying and striving for more. And I’m tired. I’m so damn tired. It’s exhausting covering the insecurity that if I’m not someone I am no one.
The great thing about having no more fight in me is that I have stopped to feel everything. Stopped to feel the sadness of letting go of the idea of what I thought life would look like. Stopped to feel the utter despair of the moments that I have lost. Stopped to feel the guilt of not enjoying the little things, like watching my daughter roll around on the floor when she was a baby. Stopped to feel the impact of rushing through an interaction with someone I loved because I wanted to get to the next thing. I feel all of it right now. The only way to describe it is overwhelming.
I’m not sure when it will pass, and if I have learned nothing else in this life, it’s that life DOES NOT happen on my time, it happens according to god/universe/creator. I have no control. This is devastating to realize and the surrender is bitter-sweet.
I’m letting myself fall into the depths of myself, the depths of winter and the depths of my psyche. It’s gut wrenching some days. I keep telling myself it will get better if I let myself be with it. The truth is, I don’t know if it will. But what other option do I have? All I can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, even if that movement means being in utter stillness. This too shall pass.
Thanks for listening.