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not a pretty picture

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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

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5 responses »

  1. Once again, we are contemplating similar concepts at the exact same time! It is astonishing how interconnected life is. I just wrote about loss on my blog. I am facing the proposition of similarlly giving up my delusions and fantasies.

    Whether I can do it or not… well.

    I only know that I must try.

    The words to express the healing I wish for you, the ending of pain I so want for you, cannot be expressed. I think you are travelling far down the rabbit hole, my friend. You will get to the other side. Of that I am certain. Nothing lasts, not even pain. I cannot imagine how this will transform you, but something tells me it will be quite profound.

    Reply
  2. Peter, my heart does go out to you. As I read your post I thought, “impermanence”, take comfort in impermanence at this time. “This too shall pass”. And also as I read about you going up and down, one day with pain, another with it subsiding I think of how difficult it is to be with the unknown. I know you know all these things and the lessons we are offered are so personal.

    I too have had my rounds with a body that has offered me teaching I would not have chosen, not such great pain as yours, but life threatening illness that unearths vast trenches of fear. So while I know there is transformational opportunity (as shadowplay points out) I wish for some relief for you. Thank-you for sharing your difficult journey with such openness.

    Reply
  3. Knowing stuff in our minds is one thing; knowing stuff in our bodies seems to be quite annother.

    Reply
  4. hello dear p, what a journey. i read of the travels, travaiils and am amazed at your candour. ii appreciate the gift you share with us – your tender moments, your tortured moments. thank you. i see my life reflected in your experiences, diffused only by our different paths, though i wonder if the paths we all live are really that different at all.

    Reply

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