How often in our busy lives do we take time out to truly reflect? To think seriously and deeply about our lives from a position of security, calmness and balance? A liberating position of space, time and free-will?
In the ruthless pressure to simply survive in life, from our earliest days, humanity has needed to withstand the physical wounds, the emotional hurts… has, out of sheer necessity, developed the ability to rise to its feet and stoically move on, regardless of the circumstances and the long-term effects. Society expects it of us, the inference being that if we gave free rain to our emotions we would threaten to destabilise everyone else around us and the very fabric of our fragile society would be at risk of collapse.
For how many thousands of generations have our children be abjured to dry their tears? Told not to be soft? A cry-baby? How may of us as adults have been denied the time and opportunity to grieve? To be heard? To be healed? It has become the habit of the species that we must carry on regardless in our inexorable march towards… what? What are we here for? It is not enough to have life; we must strive towards a certain quality of life.
My personal belief is that we are here to experience and learn. We are here to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way, to the very fullest of our ability. And that also means fully experiencing the pain and confusion of life. It is all a valid part of the experience. The vision of a person finally arriving at the end of their life covered in scars but gloriously unbowed and undefeated springs to mind. But that simply isn’t the truth for many. I fear that most of us are bounced through life from one (or multiple) blows, pains, traumas to the next, without ever having the chance to deal with what went before… to assimilate and heal from it.
A memory of my twenty-year old self springs to mind. My family had just received the news that my uncle and three family friends had been murdered. My parents rushed off to the local police station and I remained at home to stand by and answer the telephone. In the meantime, I tried to remain practical and went into the kitchen to bake bread and finish the dinner which my mother had begun preparing, figuring that whatever happened, people would still need to eat at some point. It has ever been my way of dealing with distress. To be practical, reliable… down to earth.
However, it is just not good enough! I now realise that I am metaphorically covered – not with scars – but open wounds which have never been given the chance to heal from properly. I have simply kept slapping on the temporary dressings which have kept them well out of sight, and learned to live with the ever-increasing side-effects.
We all need to take the time to backtrack, to remember, to re-examine, to bring into the light, and eventually to heal. Not because we are weak and cannot get over ourselves; just the reverse, because we are strong. Because we haven’t crumpled at the first hurdle but have valiantly carried on regardless.
Surely we now need to develop a gentler, more understanding, nurturing society where everyone regularly has the opportunity to take time out, to be listened to, supported and allowed time to heal?
But if we still haven’t advanced sufficiently as a species to communally accept the need for this, then once more, we as individuals must draw the line and mindfully make the time and opportunity for ourselves. This does not need to involve reliving every deeply disturbing and upsetting moment of our rollercoaster lives. I am developing a simple but profound practice for myself to help deal with these wounds. I do not wish to appear to be preaching – here, I confess I am unashamedly letting off steam! But if you would like to read my suggestions, please send me a message.
Which do you choose? To blossom in the sunshine or merely scrape an existence in the shadows?
Taking the initiative to become whole into our own hands is just a tiny aspect of the new world we can be visualising and bringing into being. We must all endeavour not to get side-tracked by day-to-day trivialities but walk our individual path with courage, grace and love.