On Resistance…

You can resist what is, or shall I say you can try. 

With all of your might, fight that which exists in solid form.

It is there when you wake up, it is there when you sleep.

You can wrap it in brown paper and tuck it away in a trunk. 

You can give it away asking another to take it from you.

You can put a bow on it, so that it looks different.

Under the wrapping, under the bow, it is still what it is. 

You may even successfully put it away and “forget about it.” 

But sometimes when the wind blows, you are reminded of something, and you silently know it is that which you resist.

And it knows it is there. It is waiting there for you, ready for you to face it. 

And it seems the harder you try to resist it.

The more effort and strength you mount an attack against it, the stronger it seems to become. 

It becomes no stronger though, the strength of that which you resist is that thing plus your own resistance coming back at you.

Then, one day, you turn and face it. It hurts. 

It hurts so much deep within your soul, deep within your cells.

It dances and weaves it’s way through every part of your being.

You feel as if you might break into a million pieces.

This thing you now face is a part of you, and always has been.

The fear of acceptance flashes quickly. You sit with this fear, with this thing, with this resistance.

You realize if only you can understand this part of you, transforming that which you have resisted is possible.

You turn in the dark facing a mirror, and in the mirror it looks back at you and all the other pieces of yourself stare back from behind it, crying to be heard, to be seen again.

It is out of love for these other pieces, that you must love that which you fear the most.

Slowly with time you stop resisting.

But not like one who gives up hope.

You stop resisting with your heart and your mind open. 

You listen to this thing’s story. You feel what it is telling you. 

You sense within the fabric of your being that story for it comes in many ways. 

You draw it into your breath and for the first time in a very long time the pain subsides. 

No one said healing was easy. A letter to myself.

Heart

Dear A Mermaid Named (E.D.),

As you reflect on your healing journey, does any of it feel easy? Maybe some of it does. Maybe some moments of surrender and truly learning to let go feel easy. Maybe these moments were the culmination of a lot of other moments that weren’t so easy and you were just ready. But, overall I know this process has not been easy for you. When you began this journey, I don’t remember anyone saying, “this will be a breeze.” You probably also thought it would be a lot harder than it was. You are stronger than you ever knew. Is healing hard? No, I’m not sure it is not the healing in itself that is hard. For you, it has been learning how to face the fact that, “not everything is always perfect.” It has also been learning to deal with the fact that painful emotions are apart of life and that you actually can experience them and not break in half. It has also been about accepting that your loved ones are also not perfect and may also hurt your feelings sometimes. Most of all, it has been a bit challenging at times to stop avoiding and start accepting. I think it took courage to say, “I want to heal.” Today, as you look back on a few challenging days and conversations you had this weekend, what do you notice? What I notice is that you have found so many new ways of dealing with difficult emotions. I know that maybe not everything went exactly as you would have liked these past few days and maybe a few times you used food in a way you have been trying not too. But, remember Mermaid, it is about progress not perfection. What I notice is that you stopped to ask yourself why you were feeling these urges again, and that you came from a place of reflection and really took the time to understand your emotions. Way to go! What I also notice, is that this morning, you woke up in a positive mood. You woke up eager to see what the day would bring. This is such a shift, for a few small months ago, you would have woken up and beat yourself up for not begin perfect. You probably would have carried a feeling of shame and desperation throughout your day. But you didn’t. How do you feel right now? I know. You feel positive. You feel like you can make mistakes and learn from them. You feel resilient. This does not mean you were not terribly sad or lonely last night, because I know you were. I know you had some difficult emotions to process. But, Mermaid, no one said healing was easy. Beautiful, yes. Easy, no. Do you want easy? Maybe sometimes you do. And, things are getting easier, just have patience. Healing this might be the hardest thing you have ever done. However, it might also be the single most life changing, rewarding thing you have ever done as well. Is facing the pain not a challenge? Once you see it you can heal it. Well done, today.  Now, read this, when things feel hard. Read this when you feel alone or sad. As the tide rises and falls so will the pain. It does get easier. It also gets brighter and the feel of the sun’s rays on your skin feel warmer. I know you would never trade these days for anything because in them you have seen your potential. You have seen the magnificent beauty of imperfection and you feel grateful.

-ME

 

When I stand by the ocean, I feel at home: a reflection on the challenges of communication

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I have always felt at home by the ocean. Being there, I know that I am a part of something much larger than myself and much larger than any difficult situation I might be facing. As I watch the waves roll over and over the shore, I think about how it tosses and smooths out rock. I think about how glass becomes sea glass. Once, a sharp dangerous piece of glass that can cut, now a piece of smooth colorful stone. This all happens with repetition and time. The ocean is beautiful and strong. Under the ocean, exists a whole world bigger than the world we live on upon land. I walked for hours today on the shore. The time melted by and I was simply enjoying every passing moment as the sound of the waves became my song. I began to think about avoidance as the ocean’s waves continually lapped the shore line. The waves do not stop. The ocean does not press pause and retreat. This is not the ocean’s way.  Personally, I have gotten better at not avoiding challenging or sad emotions. But, sometimes, interpersonal things feel too hard to talk about with others, or the fear of hurting someone’s feelings surfaces. Sometimes, life can be challenging and people can hurt you. Whether, they mean to or not does not change the emotions you feel inside. Sometimes, you can hurt people, whether you mean to or not does not change the emotions they feel inside. 

However, avoiding the situation all together does not usually make the issue go away. Instead, the emotions or the pain seem to get sharper like the piece of broken glass on the beach. But I think, perhaps if things were discussed and smoothed over, they would become less sharp like the sea glass. So often it is about the fear of the unknown of what lies on the other side of discussing or admitting our feelings to each other. What will happen then? Will we be able to withstand the pain, vulnerability, or other emotions that might surface? I do believe we can. I now know that regardless of how much the emotional pain or discomfort feels like it will physically split you into two pieces, it won’t. I now know that you, me, and everyone is infinitely stronger and more resilient than we usually give ourself credit for. However, it is still challenging at times to have difficult conversations with loved ones, but often necessary. I often think that, if it becomes natural and normal to discuss our feelings with each other, perhaps it just becomes part of the whole process of living and experiencing life together. Just as, each wave is the ocean and the ocean each wave. Challenges just are.

This is the power of the ocean, with its rhythmic repetition. Would I say the ocean is perfect? No, but what is perfection really? And does the ocean even want to be perfect? It probably just wants to be, because it knows it is so much more than perfect. 

The ocean is beautiful, calming, refreshing, and soothing. But also, like life, the ocean can be scary, dangerous, unknown, and unpredictable. Knowing that the ocean can be all these things, but still magnificent, makes me realize that life is not meant to be black and white, perfect, or always predictable.  The ocean is exactly how it is, and how it will be. The ocean just is. It is constant, but forever changing. It is wise, but humble.

I have to say, however, that for me today, everything about being by the ocean was perfect. I went without expectations. I allowed the ocean to tell me it’s story and sing me it’s song, and I got an unexpected outcome. I got peace.  

I should not be surprised by this, since I always feel this as I stand with my feet in the sand and stare out at the endless horizon. But, I think I forget just how beautiful it is. I guess with some experiences that are as inspiring as the ocean, each time, is like facing a new part of myself. Each time is different. Each time, I fail to find words to describe what I have experienced.