Today another gem inside the pain. Yesterday it was “no pain, warmth, release from discomfort.” Today it’s “aloneness and grief.” When I woke up at 5:15 this morning and realized that my pain was not diminishing but expanding, I found myself howling on all fours. I hadn’t wept like this since I lost a dear friend three years ago. I felt burdened down by loss: something that had been would never be again. Here is what I wrote the last time:
Along with change—whether we choose it or it chooses us—comes the experience of loss. Each loss, in turn, causes us to grieve. Losses occur across the spectrum of our experience: the death of a loved one, illness or accident, end of an intimate relationship, shifts at home or work, crisis of faith or beliefs; the list goes on. “Grief makes us feel heavy and weary, empty or incomplete, terrified, despairing, or groundless,” says Ezra Bayda.
Terrified and despairing, yes, that pretty much describes my state this morning … and not till this moment do I see a link between pain and loss. Fact: my body is ageing and my spine is deteriorating beyond repair. Fact: the days of youth and midlife are gone. Fact: death is nearer than birth. Fact: the chances to fulfill some of the big hopes of the past (such as a family of my own) are slim to nil. Fact: not a pretty picture, but there it is.
Zen practice reminds me to “welcome everything” and to face that which is. Anything else, however tempting, is fantasy and delusion. Going there may bring temporary relief and but the heart knows, won’t be fooled. And then, just as I type these words, the sun breaks through with its pale-white winter light. Small gifts!
source: Bayda, E. (2004). At home in muddy waters. Boston: Shambala. images: existentialpunk.com (top), light-and-shadow.org