“I have worked with many clients and students who reach a critical gateway when they finally register just how much pain they are in. This juncture is very different from self-pity or complaining about our lives. It is different from focussing on how many problems we have. Rather, seeing and feeling the degree of suffering we are living with reconnects us to our heart.” Tara Brach
Today I stopped and looked at a picture of my dead husband, Tom. I looked right at it like I have every day, although every day I do not really see it.
Today I paused and, like Tara mentions, I fully realized the extent of suffering I have been experiencing since he died. In my mind I clearly heard “the only thing I want in life is you, back”…the ONLY thing.
I have been looking for meaning in life, for things to get excited about, for reasons to continue day to day. I have found many, and I am so grateful that I have because I would be dead if I had not.
I have also been living in a terrible trance, in a story that I have told myself. The story is about how I must go on, how he is dead and I am alive and I must make meaning of this life. I felt that way while I was drinking but alcohol allowed me to just FEEL that way and do nothing real about it. Since I quit I have done some things that have led to helping me be more content with life, and I have found meaning.
But it has been a trance, a story of life, one I have needed and created to survive.
Today I told the truth. Today I saw that there is nothing in life I look forward to. Nothing I need. Nothing I want.
I opened myself to that knowing and that truth, which I have been trying to escape from in one way or another ever since he died.
There is nothing I want in life any longer.
I have to keep stopping myself from thinking that sounds crazy or wrong or defeated…I don’t think it is any of things. It is an honest appraisal of where I am in this exact moment in time. I paused at the picture and in that pause the truth was revealed to me. The truth of my suffering. And the truth about all the stories I have told myself since he died. All the stories, all of which were not lies, there was truth there, but forced and more reliant on what I should be doing or feeling rather than what I actually was. I complained a lot, and have felt very, very sorry for myself. This is different, this acknowledgment, this allowing.
I am not crying right now, I don’t feel sad, actually quite the opposite. I feel calmer and clearer than I have in a long time. I understand what has been driving me in such a completely different way, and I accept it fully. I don’t think I have ever accepted it fully. Not his death, that is pretty hard to be in any kind of denial about, but the fact that I want him to not be dead. I have judged that. I have sat in regret for things I have said or done prior to his death and since, things that I judged as “not right”. I have tried so many different ways to re-engage in life in a meaningful way, and I have, I have succeeded in many areas. I am in love with my yoga and mindfulness practice, meditation…it has allowed me to see the truth of my situation. I love working in my grief groups. I am grateful to be sober and help others as I can . I adore my friends. I love to travel. There is so much in life that I cherish and love, especially now with a clearer mind.
But there is nothing I need or want.
I find myself very sanguine about certain things. The yoga challenge I couldn’t do because I hurt my back. The trip I keep starting to plan and then stop because I don’t now where I want to go. Writing (or publishing) a new post on here. Binge watching TV which has become my latest passion and which I always considered a colossal waste of time. Not leaving the house for a few days. Not making plans, or wiggling out at the last moment. Food choices that don’t make me feel my best.
I have not acknowledged the depth of my suffering, and today I see it squarely, clearly. Laser focussed. I do know that I would not be seeing this if I had not been on a path that would lead me to this point, and I am grateful for that.
What does that mean?
“Recognizing that we are suffering is freeing — self-judgement falls away and we can regard ourselves with kindness. When we offer ourselves the same quality of unconditional friendliness that we would offer to a friend, we stop denying our suffering “
I hope it is freeing, this acknowledgement and acceptance.
I hope that, like Tara says, it will reconnect me with my heart. That my true heart will reconnect me back into the world. I’m not sure what to expect. But I am grateful to finally acknowledge this truth, this place of true suffering that I live from.
I’m already judging it and having to let those thoughts go, let them go. I haven’t posted here in over a month, and writing has been a joy for me, but I have stumbled. I have started many a post and they have felt awkward and false, and that’s not what I want to do here. I don’t see any point in that. I may not know what I want but I know what I don’t want. I don’t want to lie anymore, to not tell the truth, to continue to believe anything other than what IS. I don’t want to live in a story that is my life, I want to live in my life.
I have no idea what that means, seriously.
You know what? I WANT to find out though.