29 Apr The Joy in Not Being Distracted
It had to happen. It was bound to happen eventually. Hitting that point of “too much”… too much intensity, too much connection, too much processing other people’s energy and emotions, too much busy, too much outward, too much of the too much. It’s not surprising. Empaths and introverts navigating a world in crisis… we hit the point of “too much” easily. It happens bit by bit, incrementally, Until the heaviness overtakes us. And then everything is “too much”.
What do you do when it’s “too much”? What do I do? The truth is, often, I don’t realize I’ve hit that mileage marker until I’m long past it. Often, by the time I find myself in that place, I am beyond my highest and best coping skills. In those times, I reach, desperately, clawingly, for what is left… the golden oldies… the comfort of distractions. Food; alcohol; tobacco; TV; computer games; gossiping and complaining about others…getting high and getting low.
It’s so easy to fall back into that place sometimes. (And the truth is, we all need a little distraction, a little blowing off steam… A LITTLE!) But…and here’s what I love… I am never comfortable there for very long anymore. It starts out feeling fun or exciting, like the first bite of cake at a birthday party. Very soon, though, that feeling shifts. It begins to feel heavy…deadening, what the Ayurvedics call tamasic. Like a heavy winter coat on those first yummy days of spring.
I want to just peel it off. Feel the freshness of life against my skin again. The warmth of the sun instead of the warmth of protection. The subtle vibration of awakening in place of the padding of safety. I remember, then, what I love in NOT being distracted. In feeling all the feelings. In being awake and aware, present in the moment, to whatever is happening. I love the vibration. I LOVE the energy that moves in me when life is HAPPENING. Because that is when transcendence and transformation happen. That is the ONLY TIME transcendence and transformation happen. WHEN I SHOW UP, PRESENT, AWAKE AND AWARE, READY FOR WHATEVER IS HAPPENING AROUND ME TO MOVE THROUGH ME. When I allow myself to be impacted. When I allow myself to feel, and let the feelings affect me. When I allow myself to be broken apart and put back together, or to be strong and permeable. Because in those moments, love shows up. And love has always healed me and grown me. Love ALWAYS heals us and grows us. And when I am distracted, I shut myself off to love. When I am present, I see and feel the love that permeates everything. It is the vivifying force of the Universe, and I can only experience it when I am here, unshielded, available for myself and others.
And that is the Joy in NOT being distracted. The Joy that comes from feeling, EVERYTHING. When I am feeling everything, including the pain, I am alive, I am responsive, I am response-able (ie. able to respond). I am part of the fabric of the world. Often it happens that I am sitting with a client, a friend, a loved one, a stranger; and they are telling me about their pain. If I am disconnected, from myself and from them, I have nothing to offer back. In those moments, I can feel my mind racing… searching for something to give them. When I am connected, I have no need to search for anything. I breathe, I listen, I speak. Usually the words are some facet of “I love you, and I am so sorry you are in pain.” “I am here with you.” “I feel that pain inside of myself.” And I do. The pain moves through me when I am connected. It breaks my heart and wracks my insides. And I breathe love onto it. I soften it, caress it with acceptance and understanding. So that, when I offer it back to them, it is freer. Frequently, it easier for them to be with it then, and they might feel lighter for that.
It hurts still, yes. Because it isn’t mine to take away their pain. And we are so afraid of other people’s pain in this world. We want to fix it, take it away, restore them to who they were before. But pain is supposed to change us. It’s supposed to help us know that we are affected by something. I want to take away their pain, yes… and I know that doing so doesn’t serve them. Instead, I choose to be with them, genuinely WITH them, in their pain. Trusting they will find their way, and loving them as they do.
I believe it is time for us to transform our relationship with pain… ours and others’. To walk with each other in times of pain. To find laughter and love and joy, even when we are in pain. Because pain happens. It is a part of life. Suffering happens when we try to numb ourselves from pain, when we are alone with it, when we fear being stuck forever in wells of pain. We cannot stop each others’ pain. With courage, though, we can ease each other’s suffering. And together, we can find our way into lives of Joy.