It’s Okay. // PART I

Part One of Three: On suffering, emotion,
and what it’s like to walk through the fire. It’s not for everyone, but it is for every one.

This is for the achey ones. This is for the ones whose heart hurts. Who feel suffering, and who wonder if feeling it is shameful.

I would never ask any hallway door of your soul to get opened without mine getting opened-honest, too. Reciprocity in a relationship is everything, lopsided intimacy always a red flag. Most of us, if we’re willing, prefer “we.” Here’s to we. I am, forever, with you.

While the specificity behind the fabric of suffering may be spared, wounds still a touch too delicate, we can climb into the space of pain together because it is in sharing that we find new worlds of wholeness. Together, we can navigate our connectedly-separate human essence in it’s blurry beauty.

Let’s get curious and tell the truth, however jagged, along the way.

//   PART I:  It’s okay.   //

It’s quiet around here, because life is happening, robust and complicated and beloved and slow. It’s also quiet around here because that’s how things go when things are really painful.

Yea.
Both of that.

Life is happening robust and painful, good and grieved. Both-and.

Do you think it can be true? That all of it matters, the comfort and the pain, happening at the exact same time? The on-paper life can get clean and polished, and we can even enjoy those bullet-listed varieties of our stories. And still, the insides know something else is happening. Around those clean corners hides some suffering and so sometimes our life finds a deeper dark, all the while.

Sitting on our backs is a culture gripped with power and hustle and numb production. Sitting on our shoulders is a limited approval from someone we trusted with our entirety. Sitting on our legs is a humanity who get uncomfortable and quiet when we get honest. Sitting on our hands is a backwards view of God, that in order for the Divine to be pleased with us, we ought to be better than we are. “Be best, show best, give best, compare best. Don’t be how you actually are. That would be weird, too much. Pull it together. Perfection is the standard. If you can’t get perfect, perform. Get smaller, get quieter, get bigger, get louder.”

What are we to do with our actual feelings? What are we to do with the enormous scope of our being, our authenticity? The fear is that it’s not welcome, so we hide it, boot it, at most cite it in the footnotes. This doesn’t sit right. This gives us headaches behind our eyes and knots in our newly-intolerant stomach. It gives us unexplained nausea and unstoppable vertigo. We are tired. We’re tired of pretending.

This is the counter-narrative coming out of our dissonant hearts these days, isn’t it? Don’t you just want your exactness to be okay? When we wake to the morning, overwhelmed and unsure if this day can hold us, or if we can hold the day, don’t we want permission to know that we are, as we are, allowed to take up space? Do we have to pretend? Do we have to somehow figure it out? Maybe instead, when we peel our eyes open at the aperture of day, we might see a giant permission slip floating along our bedroom ceiling that says, “You belong. That belongs. You’re allowed. It’s okay. Permission to be exactly that.”

Both-and.

The monsters on our bodies smell a whole lot like fear. Distraction.

What if it’s all allowed?

All of it.

We want to know it’s okay for us to be how we are. Weary and rejoicing. We’ve wanted to know this all along. That, at any given moment, either or both are okay. That you are never too much or not enough.

You can celebrate and bawl at the exact same time. You can tearfully sway through the most wintery of solstices. You can hold gratitude and fury in the same palm. You know how I know? I’m somehow doing it, trying it out. And it’s fire. It’s gorgeous and it’s painful, lonely and comforting, achey and connecting. It’s burning up the poisonous trash and playfully leaving behind small treasures.

The entirety of life’s paradox is right here in our every day. And what to be found at that intersection of odds is Truth. That it all belongs, every splattered matter of it, important.

You need not be told what to do. You need just permission to be your story, however broad or mysterious, detailed or nebulous, harsh or engaging, warm or revealing. To open the cave of your lips in sharing the realities of a life lived actually. You be you, and you begin to come home to yourself.

For further reflection, grab a few solitary minutes and listen in on this guided meditation curated for just this kind of tension. While we may not know how to sit in the darkness, we can always try and we may always practice.
This, too, may be a gift.
Enjoy the break in time, and the coming closer in this Advent season.

https://soundcloud.com/user-695566343/darkness-meditation-1

{ Music scored by On Earth, We Each Take One }

Margins.

 

To the beautiful lives splashed in hues of dark melanin, to the courageous hearts of the LGBTQ community, to the immigrating brothers and sisters looking for a home, to the souls practicing their chosen path toward Truth: Daily, you have to question if you matter, if you’re okay, if you belong. I’m so deeply sorry. What horrifying questions you’ve been cornered to ask. I hear it, I’m paying attention, I’m learning, I’m finding you, and I’m seeing your pain everywhere. It’s an achey atrocity that it takes a publicized Klan of hatred to further wake us up to the injustice that has already existed for far too long. We should have found you and loved you sooner, better. The learning curve is slow and sharp.

The fear-driven system hasn’t let itself soak up your beauty. The self-consumed system has betrayed your value and the poison still remains while such a thing as white (straight, male, religious, American) supremacy and fascism exists. You are worth knowing that I recognize its toxicity and am finding better ways to spit it out, to find you, and to be with you.

May your voice be recognized beyond the noise. May your struggle become mine. May our bonds together grow stronger as we each humbly come to the table of grace. May humanity relinquish the need to white-knuckle another soul. May we ask better questions, seek each other out, share a drink together, and use our imaginations to create more vibrational harmony. May you be engulfed in celebration for being exactly the person you are.

These words are but drops in an ocean. May it be said anyway. Because maybe enough ripples will make waves and those waves will tide into a rolling justice.

Counseling.

I have no clue what I’m doing. I just do the motions: sandals on, jacket slung around my spring shoulders, turn the key, drive the highway, walk the steps, pay the co-pay, and purchase my seat next to her on the mini couch, in the room with the jeweled-turquoise walls and the truth flying out of my body and onto her every inch of being.

It’s aggressive and shy at the same time. It’s a binge and a fasting in the same moment. It’s a rocket and blade of grass. It’s high-altitude winds and a sullied stagnant puddle. It’s symphony and a solo. It’s all of it and none of it and everything in between.

Counseling.

I tell her the truth about how it hurts and how it heals. I tell of my youth, I tell of my present. I tell of every moment in between and every moment I anxiously try to see coming. I tell of the words said and unsaid, the touches made and unmade, the forgotten and the too-close. I tell her all that I know, paying close attention to leave little out, because I believe it all counts in the circle of things. The details inside the round-and-round of my story is like a scribbled globe of endless circles, but it’s this way and that way and back to this and back to that. It’s clockwise and counter, quick left, slow right and around and around again. And just as that feels so redundant to read, it is that redundant in life. It’s both too many words and not enough words at the exact same time.

I never knew there was a permission-slip waiting on the inside of that brick building. I never knew there was a person out there who would take such care of things. And by that I do not mean fix things. By that I mean: take their time, take their slow listening, take their gentle revealing and confident correcting of upside-down thought patterns, take their nurture, take their understanding, take their empathy and with-ness, their advocacy and sense, take their aerial view, and gift it to you in care. Spirit with skin on, maybe.

stigma

[stig-muh]

noun, plural stigmata [stig-muh-tuh, stig-mah-tuh, –matuh] (Show IPA), stigmas.

  1. A mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.
  2.  Medicine/Medical. a) a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease: the stigmata of leprosy. b) a place or point on the skin that bleeds during certain mental states, as in hysteria.
  3. Zoology. a) a small mark, spot, or pore on an animal or organ. b) the distinct eyespot of a protozoan. c) an entrance into the respiratory system of insects.

Give me the stigma of therapy. Give me the stain of freedom-work. Give me the surprising goodness of middle places. Give me the hysteria and the healing and the Dear-God-I’m-finally-beginning-to-understand world that this stigma offers me. Mark me with the spots of shoulders lightened and a body alive once again.

Maybe I am that of the insect. Like the one in that final definition. Give me the stigma of therapy, if it means these hours on this couch open up my respiratory system and in enters the light and the oxygen and the breathing again. Give me the door flung open wide to the entrance of my lungs. Give me this hurricane air tossing fear off it’s hinges, filling this body with breath that tastes like movement and grace and room and nearness.

Yes, that. Give me all of that.

Give me the work of paying attention, if it means these eyes can finally see. Give me the work of climbing out of boxes, if it means who I am is, after all, free.