Courage (Aug 10th)

This entry is dedicated to Mi Anon.


Unutterably Alone

I have begun to realize that I do not write for the masses – nor for the faint of heart. Instead, I write to share my understanding and experiences as they pertain to the mysterious depths of our shared reality, and perhaps my words are helpful to those who walk a similar path.

There are many paths to choose from in life and all of them are sacred.  But I reserve the term ‘sacred journey‘ for those who are given the task of embarking upon a journey into the unimaginable chasms within – unutterably alone.

alone-edgeofworld

We are unutterably alone, essentially – especially in the things most intimate and most important to us.  ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

This week I will share three facets of courage which are intertwined with each other; understanding these facets will require you to inhabit the space of a sacred journey, a space that many dare not visit.  This space is at the depths of your being, the utter darkness within each of us from which immense growth and wisdom arises – but not without sacrifice – a sacred space which is currently inhabited by a few of our community members.  

The words I share here are simply my experience of a sacred journey, it is my hope that these words are an antidote to what our society often offers: an empty hand and a blind eye.


Journey Into Soul ~ first courage

I recently received an email from a friend (friend 1) who apologized for months of silence between us.  They spoke of a darkness that consumes them and leaves them unable to extend beyond the walls of their skin. Upon reading their words, I immediately felt the tremor of a deep chord struck within me – a recognition of my own sacred journey.  

Their words pulled me back into a time when I was shrouded beneath numerous folds of suffocatingly-heavy cloaks of darkness.  As I stood within my remembered-darkness, I recalled one of the most excruciating aspects of my sacred journeyTime stood painfully still; I remember watching eternities pass and yet my trial did not end, my fear mounted at the prospect of ‘living‘ forever in such darkness, and the despair…oh, the unbearable despair – beyond all words to describe.

{{Please pause and consider the following; what I am calling a sacred journey is not sadness nor depression, it is not hard-times, it is not very-difficult days.  It is a journey into the deepest chasms of one’s being, the chasms where our greatest fears and struggles await us – it is an incredibly painful, terrifying and confusing journey – a journey which most do not endeavor upon, instead they are endeavored-upon to make the journey, by their Soul.}}

buddha before cosmic eye.jpg

Journey Into Soul

I do not know that I can describe the courage necessary to make this round-trip journey into the darkness that consumed me, even as it prepared me for the most powerful lessons of my life. Perhaps it is enough to say that I would never have taken this journey, but like Alice sliding into the rabbit hole, I found myself on an unstoppable journey with no way out – the only way was through.  

And surprisingly, the return journey was far more difficult an endeavor than the entry. Perhaps my (paraphrased) words to a friend (friend 2)who is courageously facing the relentless onslaught of darkness amidst a situation that is very unsafe –  will explain the difficulty of my return journey.

I do not know how I managed to survive.  Actually, I did not survive – the woman I was died in that darkness – but some part of ‘me’ survived, and crawled inch by inch out of those chasms, in order to grow into the woman I am learning to be.


Witness ~ second courage

During this journey of great aloneness, I was no longer able to be ‘myself’.  Not only were the daily tasks of life too great for me but all social aspects of my life slipped away.  I discovered that many friends – and even some family members – found it too difficult to witness my journey; they could only offer me a blind eye or harsh judgment concerning my sanity and emotional instability.  

In those unutterably alone moments, amidst my greatest demons/teachers, I swore an oath that – should I survive – I would not blind my eyes when I met others in the midst of their own sacred journey.

owl-eyes

Witness

My oath remains in effect today. When others share their trials, I am willing to witness their pain, sorrow, confusion, despair.  

My oath takes great courage; Every time I choose to inhabit this space, I am once again enveloped by the heavy cloaks of darkness that reveal the enormity of sorrow and loss, plus the unbearable fear of being trapped within these chasms, with time stretching into eternity. 

Yet, even as I struggle with the discomfort, I do not blind my eyes.  I remind others of the sacred and mysterious nature of their journey, and most importantly, that this too shall pass.  <<sound familiar?  remember the first blog on meditation?>>


Ooops…my bad, very.

This oath is sacred to me. And yet, I get it so very, very wrong at times. And the great irony is that, the more intimately I know you, the worse I am at upholding this oath.

Recently, a very dear friend (friend 3), whom I have cherished for over two decades, shared with me the story of their current situation, they spoke of their heart-aching struggles with such honesty and sincerity that my heart leapt from my bosom and I decided to ‘save‘ them.  So, instead of offering the kind-eyes of a witness, I vomited tons of my opinions, beliefs, should’s & should-not’s – all very well-meaning, but simply advice wrapped in the toxicity of me not wanting to ‘feel what they felt‘ – wanting to FIX it/them.

woman-fix-it

I WILL FIX IT!

Bah! What harm I did!  I could tell by their response that they felt judged and disappointed at not being heard, plus they wondered why I gave them all this advice, because, of course!, they had already considered it.  They weren’t looking for help.  They were looking for a witness, to Hear, See, Love.


Beacon of Love ~ third courage

When I was endeavored-upon to take a soul journey, there was no escape; I had been brought to this sacred place in order to slay, dissolve, befriend, embrace, destroy my demons/teachers.  And in this space, when I was completely alone, the only beacon of light that penetrated the darkness, was Love.  

Those who did not quit loving me, even when it hurt them to stand witness before the vulnerability of helplessness – yet, full of hope, they were – wishing they could save me, but knowing there was nothing they could do but Love – those were courageous folk.  And I bow deeply to their courage, for it helped me find my way home.

lighthouse-in-dark-quote

Beacon of Love

The courage to stand as a beacon of Love, while someone you love is struggling to find their way back from the depths of their sacred journey, is an acutely painful and heart-aching courage – I know from experience/failure.  

<<it is still so very difficult for me to stand as a beacon of Love, even though I understand how crucial it is, for it requires an enormous vulnerability because there are no guarantees in life…not all are able to make the return trip from a sacred journey.>>  


 Thoughtful ~ Facets of Courage

bug-eyes

Following are a few questions to be thoughtful about:

  • Do I have the courage to be unutterably alone, within myself, in order to free myself from my fears?
  • Does media/society/gossip/etc create a way for me to escape-from-myself? If so, what is my preferred method of escape? And what/why am I escaping?
  • Do I want/need to fix people when they are struggling?  Why?  
  • Have I been courageous in facing my inner demons?  If so, how?  If not, why?
  • Have I stood firmly as a beacon of love, courageous before the feelings of helplessness/vulnerability as someone I love wrangles with their inner demons/teachers? If so, what did I learn?  If not, why? 
  • Do I view myself as courageous? Why? Why not?
  • Is it necessary/beneficial to always be courageous? Why?

meditation of love
All blessings and tinkling bells of honey to your heart.

 

 

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