I thought by the end of February I’d be done with thinking about open hearts, but it seems to pop up everywhere lately. The most recent challenge has been coming for a few months.
2013 was a tough year for most of my friends. It was tough for me. Everyone had a relationship end, lost a job, had a friend/parent/loved one die. People had big moves and big changes. Everyone had something big and ugly in 2013.
Eventually it started to trigger me. I started waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept wondering if my explosive breakup was going to be it or what the hell else could go wrong. If my mother called unexpectedly I knew she was calling with bad news. If my kids’ father didn’t return my call immediately,
I was sure it was because my son was in the emergency room. It was hard to stay in the moment and hard to keep my heart open.
2014 has been infinitely better. There’s still stuff going on, but I’ve been less triggered, more grounded and more open.
I have to admit, though, it’s getting harder to be grounded and open. A few weeks ago a friend I’m not close with, but am extremely fond of and have known for 20+ years had open heart surgery. Then someone I’m getting very close to had a relative die and last week a close friend had a biopsy and is fine and another friend had a biopsy and her cancer is back. And it feels like the world has gone crazy. It feels like my life as I know can slip away in a blink. And it feels like I’m not mature enough to deal with this. When did I get this to be such a grown-up?
I’m trying to stay present with what is and not let my brain go crazy. I’m sitting with the fact that I am almost 45 and there will be more and more months like this where friends are diagnosed with heartbreaking things and have dangerous surgeries and some won’t survive. And just writing that hurts my heart.
It took me so long to get here. So long to get to a place where I have a fantastic group of people who love and support me, so long to find my groove again after babies and divorce and bad relationships. So long to like my life and who I am in it.
I recently read an article about 91 year old, Ruth Denison, Buddhist teacher. She is contemplating her death, is terrified and struggling to stay balanced. The article struck me. It hit me on the head and stayed there all week. “It’s just sensation darling. The pain is just sensation.” she teaches a woman struggling with accepting her cancer. It stuck with me all week.
Once again I find myself in a place of fear. I want to scream. If you’ve read even two of my posts you know that fear is my go-to emotion. I did SO much work last year and STILL fear is my go-to emotion. Granted, I’m far less triggered than I was two years ago. I don’t have panic attacks or even highly agitated states anymore. My drama is all in my head now cause I don’t let it leak out into my relationships or day to day life. But really?
“It’s just sensation darling.” And if a 91 year old master has to work to stay balanced in her fear and uncertainty than I should probably cut myself some slack.
I’m reminded that this really is just a journey. There’s never a place where I should expect the work to be done. There’s that word again, expect. I think I’m pretty good at letting go of expectations or at least recognizing quickly that I’m having one. Yet, I’ve suffered with my own pain for weeks, my brain has been topsy turvy since I heard that my friend was in the hospital awaiting heart surgery. I consistently think I’m so on top of this journey and then I have to remind myself to truly embrace the journey. “It’s just sensation darling.”