Monday, July 8, 2013

An overlooked truth

“Even though I believe in living in the open, parts of me hide. I can’t help it. But what I can help is which part s of me-the open or the hidden- run my life. What I can rely on is this inexplicable knowing that when I am in the open, life nourishes even those parts so sorely hidden.
Just as green stems in spring stay connected to their darker roots, just as the roots grow when the stems do, my compassion sooths my fear where I can’t see. Unknown to me, my love feeds the underside of my confusion. The light I take in keeps the roots of my soul alive.
We become so preoccupied with what we are not able to address, what we are not able to mend, what we are not able to leave behind, that we forget that whatever we are in the light of day is slowly, but surely, healing the rest of us”~ Mark Nepo; The Book of Awakening

Ok so I can be honest here and say I tend to fixate on what is hidden and focus on addressing and healing that part of us. I generally work from the premise that what lies beneath is what “drives the car” Although I am also acutely aware that every body has strengths and this must be acknowledged and valued. This passage is a reminder that our true work is not just about the things we are afraid of and still need to work on but also to value our gifts and strengths that help create balance.

These open parts of us are what feeds us and lead us to our hidden parts. For me, my compassionate side drives me to heal what still is wounded. I know there are parts of me that are damaging to both myself and others. I struggle with the fact that I can cause so much pain in the world and I still have a long way to go.  But I trust my longing for deeper love will eventually bring me to the areas in myself I cannot yet identify. This is my commitment to myself and to God.

A long time ago a few friends circled me and told me that my anger hurt them. I didn’t know what they were talking about. I didn’t know I was angry let alone acting in anger. But as they spoke to me I heard the pain in their voice and felt the sickness in my gut as they shared their experience of me when I am in that space. At first I was angry at my friends and wanted to lash out to hurt them to protect myself, but then I realized that this is exactly what they were talking about. Then memories flooded from childhood of what I felt like growing up with an angry and aggressive mother. I felt the pain that I used to feel as a child; small and helpless, powerless and insignificant. Then I looked at my friends and realized I was responsible for causing the same pain in someone else as was dumped on me. My love for them as well as my self made me sit and listen with little defensiveness after the initial shock. Later,  I realized this was why there was so much pain in the world, because we are all taking our hidden pain and unleashing it on others in an attempt to protect ourselves and sooth our wounds by making others feel less then we do. I have always said hurt people hurt people and that includes me.
Because they had the courage to confront me, I had a new awareness. In the end I didn’t want to be responsible for bringing such pain and destruction to another human being. I wanted this to heal. My love allowed me to hear them and identify this darkness in me that I previously did not see. This experience made me aware that there must be more that I couldn’t see. It was an impetus for me to try to be open to whatever is brought to me and to pay attention to my negative reactions to others behaviors that may be reflecting my darkness.

So here is the kicker. We are all of it. We are both light and dark. We all have love and fear in us. We can’t deny one over the other because one leads us to the other, which leads us to our healing.

And there is more ……