Here’s my response to Steph’s last post – it’s the second email from our taste of The Walkabout correspondence.
The Vastness of Broken-Heartedness
The universe does have a way of holding our toes to the sacred fire by sending us pop quizzes. And it’s hard to prepare for a pop quiz.
I may think I’m prepared for any pop quiz coming my way. But on the day it’s given, all my preparation evaporates. That’s when I find myself left with two choices: Staying connected to myself. Or abandoning myself.
When I can stay with myself, listening deeply and allowing the messiness of what is, I drop down into the vast territory of my broken heart. Where there is room to notice what you noticed at the vet’s.
In that vast space, of broken-heartedness, I find I can hold all that’s there. Holes. Grief. Joy. Gratefulness. Tenderness. The present moment and all of its feelings and sensations.
I bow down to you and how you stayed with yourself. In the hard grief of letting Tilak go. Listening to the beat of his heart. Feeling the in-out movement of his breath. Smelling the graham cracker-ness aroma of his fur. Present for Tilak. All the way through. From the medicine he was given to end his suffering to holding him until he gracefully let go into your arms.
Knowing what is needed in these times is essential. How to soothe ourselves. How to offer ourselves loving-kindness.
Two things I can easily forget when life shit is hitting my fan. Because, like you said, there will always be fans. There will always be shit. And there will be derailment when the brain does it’s brain thing. Telling stories. Digging up memories. Dreaming up scenarios. Asking questions for which there are no answers.
However, remembering, when I can remember, to just feel what I’m feeling, in my body, with my breathing, I’m reminded of my unlimited nature and ability to hold all of my life. Even when it isn’t unfolding the way I had imagined, planned or dreamed. While staying connected to myself. Just as I am. Right here. Right now.
Standing, grounded in my amazing ordinary human being-ness. Living the ups and downs of my ordinary life. Where there is messiness and chaos. Where, at times, everything, including myself, feels foreign and broken and lost. Where I have the opportunity to find, in the midst of what is challenging and hard, a clear alive spacious peaceful here-ness living deep inside of me. That holds all of what ebbs and flows in me.
That’s what’s possible when my – your -our heart breaks open. And happened to you, with Tilak, as you let go of him.
I love you, Steph! For living from the vast territory of your broken-heart. For sharing the challenges and wonders of living that way with me and bringing it to
the work we do together. This quote made me think of you.
“The heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe.
Your heart is that large. Trust it. Keep breathing.”
– Joanna Macy