Something happened to you. Maybe it was a long time ago. Maybe it was yesterday.
Maybe you were abused, humiliated, ignored. Maybe you were molested, mugged, physically hurt. Maybe you lost a home, a job, money, a loved one.
Whatever it was, you feel angry, frightened, sad. Whatever it was, you can’t get over it.
If it’s sadness, it pierces your soul.
If it’s anger or hatred, it poisons your system.
If it’s fear, it paralyzes you.
If it’s insecurity, it blinds you.
What Did You Do?
Maybe you lied, cheated or abused someone. Maybe you were mean, hateful, unkind. Maybe your words or actions crushed someone’s spirit. Maybe your gossip damaged someone’s reputation.
Whatever it was, you feel guilt, remorse, regret. Whatever it was, it makes you cringe inside, it darkens your self-image, it weighs heavy on your heart.
There are things that happened to us and things we have done that cast a shadow over our life. Things we wish we could erase from our slate. Things that creep up on us out of the blue and haunt our waking hours. We are not fully alive because part of us is stuck in the past. Our life force is being drained by regret.
People suffer great tragedies in this world, and grieving is a crucial element of healing. But when grief becomes a cloak we cannot shed, we become petrified. Definitions of petrify include:
to make lifeless or inactive
to make rigid or inert like stone
Life goes on. Whether we go with it or not is our choice. Some have been crushed by tragedy. Some rose like the phoenix from the ashes to inspire, motivate, change laws, start important foundations. They have succeeded in sports, business, life, and love.
Our experiences can empower us or they can petrify us. As James Agee, writes in the play A Death in the Family…
“It’s a kind of a test, Mary, and it’s the only kind that amounts to anything. When something rotten like this happens, then you have your choice. You start to really be alive, or you start to die. That’s all.”
Pain can make us angry and bitter, and reinforce our separateness. Or it can pierce that defensive shell and unleash courage and compassion. It can be the fire that purifies and reveals a deeper dimension of self.
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. Rumi
What side of the seesaw are you on?
Life is a seesaw with ego sitting on one side and Spirit on the other. We are always teetering one way or the other. The ego is the ‘me’ of our individual self with its story, fears, guilts, hungers, and importance. Spirit is the home of our Higher Self, Love, Peace, Forgiveness.
Life is a classroom and everything – EVERYTHING – is a lesson. It pushes us to one side of the seesaw or the other. When you have pain and you move fully into your ego, Spirit hits the ground with a big bang. Your ego rises, it becomes inflated. You become totally enmeshed in yourself. You cannot see or feel or think anything beyond your pain, your needs.
As you begin to let go of the ego, it slowly drifts down and Spirit rises. Your vision expands. Your heart opens. Out of the ashes new life emerges.
Joseph Campbell said, “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” If not joy, then love. Love of a person or pet, love of nature, art, God. Dwell on love and you will find forgiveness, peace and healing.