“May I not add layer upon layer upon layer of judgment of the reality. May I be with my feelings. Step by step. Moment by moment. Breath by breath may I hold myself tenderly.”
Anybody who knows me knows that I care about feeling my feelings. This is a story about when it was hard to do so, and a video I shot a few months ago trying to hold myself & my grief tenderly, with humor and love. It eased my suffering, and if it resonates, I hope it can support you too.
I went on a month-long meditation retreat in Vermont in January. The fall had been hard, so I fully expected all of those feelings to come up on retreat. They didn’t. I was happy as a clam. Blissful, even. Completely content. I spent all month practicing presence. Practicing being with my breath. Practicing being with my feelings.
They say that you get to practice on retreat, but the real work begins when you come home.
Oh boy did I have that experience.
Coming back to the Bay, my tears started flowing again.
People told me I wouldn’t cry forever. I sort of believed them. I wanted to believe them.
I did NOT want to be feeling my feelings. They were not fun!
I talked with my meditation teacher during this time, and the conversation helped turn everything around for me.
She told me - surprise surprise - to feel my feelings. To really, actually feel them.
I “know” this, and, in this moment, I needed to be reminded. We can “know” what we need to do, and then I need consistent intentionality and support to put it into action.
I realized how much I had been grasping to a certain timeline in my mind, and somehow trying to “think” my way out of the feelings.
I resisted my feelings. I fed them. I thought I was doing a good job of “feeling” them, but really I was actually feeding them with story, and not really being with them. I was judging myself. I desperately did not want to be with myself.
It was excruciating.
My teacher validated that grief is, in fact, excruciating. One of the hardest emotions to feel.
“So the mind will buck & roar and flip out six ways to Sunday.”
We talked about how to be with grief.
I could write a whole essay about it, but for now, I leave you with a prayerful song that I recorded after my conversation with her. May it support you!
P.S. Could you share this message with anybody it might resonate with? I so appreciate it!
I am practicing being with reality.
Being with truth.
Without adding layer upon layer of judgment and wishing that it was another way.
The truth is that my heart is hurting.
I have to be with the discomfort of life not being the way I wish it to be.
The reality is that it’s hard.
May I not add layer upon layer upon layer of judgment of the reality. May I be with my feelings. Step by step. Moment by moment. Breath by breath may I hold myself tenderly.