These magnificent translucent hawthorn berries adorned the path of my walk during a meet up with some cows and a bull a couple of days ago. The berries were silently being themselves, a gift to my eyes and I had the presence and permeability to allow their beauty enter my system. There was a time when I inhabited my body, my senses and my life differently and their beauty and presence would have been lost to me.
It is the path of grief that has opened my heart back out to the world. The path of softening into the tears, the constant tears that open me out to the world today in all it's beauty and all it's tragedy. The 5 Gates Of Grief, not as a 'process' to go through step by step, or as somewhere to 'get to' but as a way of breathing into life. The places we have not known love, The sorrows of the world, Ancestral Grief, Everything we love we will loose, What we expected and did not receive (ref: Francis Weller).
I experience each tear as some kind of medicine falling down my face and bringing with it a soothing calm across my cheek. It's as if each tear is packed with understanding, warmth and encouragement and embrace.
I teach a process of self-compassion which supports life when in the midst of charge, reactivity and traumatic response. I sense that it softens and resensitises me, (and I sense it does so for others who come to me for support) into a place in the present where breathing and being and belonging become tangible. Remember, today is all we have, tomorrow may not come, so what a gift it is to have a soft moment of breathing and allowing what's real today through the portal of our tears.
Tears are not welcomed in our culture and even shunned. Have other people ever asked you not to cry? I have often wondered if this is so often because they actually resonate with your tears and fear the waterfall waiting for them too?
I find being with others in this culture and in this current way of life so often painful. The longings that surge in me when I imagine what I long for in connection with humans; warmth, authenticity, transparency, dependability, are so often impossible to live out.
In your adulthood I pray that you may have even one person who can hold the bandwidth of what you would like to share and alongside that, that you yourself can become a holding place for all those lost dreams and painful places where you were not met with warmth.
I have spent time with groups who believe in shared tears and grief, they have been from many walks of life, working in war torn countries as health practitioners, witnessing the felling of ancient forests, seeing them ripped out. Such people have been in my circle, we have wept together, sung together and apologised to the earth together and offered her our healing tears and our voices in song and individual languages as a gift of gratitude to her for still being here with us and supporting us.
So be glad that you can cry a tear today, today is all you have, let the tears soften you into connection with whoever is near you, animal or human or plant, rock or water, know that the tears speak of only one thing: the interconnectedness of our needs, the universality of our longings and our hunger for love.
To end this sharing I want to offer a 'dialogue' I had with my father after these many years of walking with compassionate practices and language. I offer this particularly for anyone who may have been physically violent to another creature or person, may it reach you with warmth and understanding. My father physically attacked my mother, remembering now when we little ones tried to rescue her but he blocked the door, we couldn't reach her, all we could do was scream for help, it never came. I wrote this recently after some time spent
quietly in nature:
Dear Dad, what's wrong? What are you feeling? What are you sensing inside you? What is this terrible fierce pain in your body, in your heart, that is so unbearable? Is it that you feel like you are going to die and that if you don't express your pain somehow, somewhere, you will die? Are you feeling so desperate, wondering if you will ever be free of the pain? Is this pain so absolutely unbearable for you to hold and sustain in this present moment that it must find expression! Are you imagining that if you can let it out, make it visible, that others might see it and maybe be able to help you? And that if you can express it, others might feel it too and finally you will get a sense that you are seen, heard and understood? Does this pain in your body and your being create a panic and urgency, a blindness to all other beings around you? Such a sense of desperation that unless you take action you will no longer exist?
And finally I wonder about the nature of love human to human. For me, once I have loved, it is not a current that 'stops'. Sometimes I wish it did, that life would be easier, but I guess we are not in this life flow to experience only ease, but to sense the fullness of life. And so the flow of love I felt as a little girl for my father lives on in me, I hope he can sense it wherever he is (he died some years ago), and I sense his beauty and longings in me and sense his call in my work and in every choice I make about how I show up in the world.
With love to you who might read this, may it warm and support your heart and your capacity to lean into your life's longings.