“….the best way out is always through” (‘A Servant to Servants’ by Robert Frost)
I was woken by thunder and lightning in the early hours of the morning. And as I lay in bed listening to the wind and rain, I found myself embracing the wild weather and accepting the melancholy of my loneliness. Perhaps one of the most comforting certainties in life is that at some point, the sun will burst through rain-clouds. Increasingly I find myself paying attention to that moment in which the first rays shine through, creating that special glow just before the clouds disperse to reveal blue skies. The sun knows how to cut through clouds. Water knows how to move around rocks, finding its way through fine crevasses. The wind knows how to whip through a dense forest, caressing and confronting all that lies in its path.
We humans so often look for the easy way out. We take detours, seek distractions and avoid obstacles. If there is an exit sign, we will invariably find it instead of staying on a seemingly endless highway and just seeing where the road takes us. If there is a vacuum or broom nearby, we are quick to suck up the dirt or sweep it under the rug, instead of sitting beside it for a while. Or we stir it up by over-analyzing and throwing more dirt into the mix, instead of allowing the dust to settle and simply observing how this makes us feel. And if there is a closet, we will lock those skeletons away and conveniently forget where we have hidden the key, instead of opening the closet doors and inviting those bones to dance alongside us.
If I have learned one thing from the losses I have experienced in the past three and a half years, it is the importance of being present with pain and suffering, confronting the hard stuff and working through whatever life delivers. Denial, distraction and avoidance serve a temporary purpose, in alleviating the pressure, easing anxiety or lifting the veil of depression…. until the next emotional trigger. I know this because I have intimate experience of these ways ‘out’ of my own emotional turmoil. About ten weeks ago, I disclosed something to my 73 year old mother, a secret that I had kept to myself since childhood. My gutsy decision to do this was brought on by my deep sense of emptiness and grief over the death of my father (three years ago) and the end of a significant relationship (one year ago). These losses have helped me understand that the only way out of a deep and consuming sadness is through it. To use a common metaphor, the only way out of a tunnel is through it. And sometimes going through it takes a long time, much longer than one would like, as we encounter debris from the past and fallout from the present.
Importantly, since that conversation with my mother, something has shifted. It’s as if the sun has finally broken through a massive cloud cover for the first time in 35 years. Until now, I had not realized how much of a burden I have been carrying and how this has impacted all my relationships, including that with my mother. It may be a cliche, but it’s also a truism, the truth does in fact set you free.
My mother has resilience, a quality that I probably underestimate in myself. She endures because most days she wakes up the next morning and does what she needs to do; while some days she simply accepts that she cannot ‘be’ in the world and allows herself the time and space to go through whatever she needs to go through. My mum and I deal with hardship and heartache very differently. She internalizes, I verbalize. She comes across as stoic, while I can collapse in a heap. She cries for precisely 30seconds, takes a deep breath and carries on, whereas I can quite easily sob myself to sleep. I sometimes wonder if I would find a ‘way out’ of my problems more easily if I was more like my mum.
Then again, maybe I could be more like water, wind and sun.
Original post: http://cinova.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/travel-theme-through/