If life is not a problem to be solved but rather a mystery to be lived, we have a lot of emptying to do before we can let go of the control panel and simply ride the mystery train. The reasons for our need to ensure a desired outcome may be fertilized with different compost materials, most of us folks are simply afraid to fail. Consequently, we try and try to avoid it at all costs....until the pain of where we are is worse than the pain of change. Until then, we remain stuck on the same note, in the vinyl groove of discord. But once we hit this pain threshold when the panic alert button seems to go off inside ourselves, we begin to act.Fear of failure is by no means the only reason why we try to skip town before our own internal chaos forces us to dump out our overflowing cups. There are many reasons and when they are seen through the eyes of a unique human being (you, me, him, her....whomever) they make the reasons take on new meanings. Fear of disapproval of family, the need to be liked by everyone, obsessions, addictions, lack of confidence, biases, abuse...fear of being abandoned, being rejected....
There is a transition which happens during periods in our lives when big change is happening before we have the ability to enter a place where emptiness takes hold and we are capable of letting go of whatever we are using to control/stop/avoid the outcome. In that transition, there is a recognition that sacrifice plays a role. No two ways about it, sacrifice hurts. We'll put up big walls, BIG obstacles to avoid giving up something even if it isn't working for us. Embrace what you know is the mantra....better the devil you know and not the one you don't know, right?
Its a push/pull point in the process that feels tantamount to death. We have the capacity to hover over the line between fear and hope for a very long time. WHY? Well, I wonder if its because when we look at an empty vessel, we see it as nothingness? Instead, maybe we need to learn how to see emptiness as a rebirth. From a seed of change comes life altered.
Change leads to rebirth. Nothingness may be the black cloak covering our internal fear and perception of emptiness, where brokenness and vulnerability lay in wait, but its only our interpretation of it. Emptiness does not lead to nothing.....emptiness can lead to the rebirth of the soul.
If it is a gain worth having....be it freedom, love, happiness, peace, is it worth losing everything else in the process?? This is the question we face in the chaos of letting go. Knowing what you want is partially made up of knowing what you have to give up. This is where we sit in the transitional battlefield. And most of this battlefield is tucked away from the sight of others inside our minds full of chaos and turmoil. Our inner struggles as we make decisions and wrestle over the control of our destiny however often spill out. Our actions and our feelings tend to betray us. Though we desperately try to keep a rein on them because it SO important in our minds that we continue to "have it all together....." others in our lives see the truth before we do. We are so busy fighting against change that we can't see that others may see more than we do.
And what do others who love us do? They try to "fix" it....out of LOVE, mostly. No one likes to see someone else in pain....in the throes of change. It hurts like hell to watch someone strip away the layers of skin, to stand naked in the eyes of a personal storm, ill equipped it seems to succeed in the battle. So, we toss the advice...we take over, we try to solve it for them....we put our best love at their feet wrapped in gifts and guidance. They also give opinions, shower judgement, react like it's impacting them personally. They can downplay too....or simply ignore the angst because they have a specific view of who you are and what you represent they are not ready to relinquish.
The visible visceral gut churning reaction to the emotional pain of another is to offer it a salve or a solution. Band-aids over the bleed.....antiseptic on the scrape.....antibiotic cream on the cut.... this is what we do for a human being suffering through their battle for control, their battle to avoid decisions which will lead to changes and sacrifices. Either that, or we run away from it and avoid that person because we don't want to get involved or we don't want to "take it on..." Who wants to watch someone suffer so much?
"Consolation is a beautiful word, " wrote Father Henri Nouwen. "It means 'to be with the lonely one.' to offer consolation is one of the most important ways to care. Life is so full of pain, sadness and loneliness that we often wonder what we can do to alleviate the immense suffering we see. We can and must offer consolation.....
.....To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say, 'You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry the burden. Don't be afraid. I am here.' That is consolation. We all need to give it as well as receive it."
When the unrelenting panic hits warp speed, when we are in the throes of change and are at our emotional tipping point where the pain of where we are finally overrides the pain of change, I can't think of a more soothing response from a person who cares than the words and action of consolation to help ease the transfer onto the mystery train. Touch without judgement, be it in words or in the comfort and the warmth of a hand held out passes on a stillness necessary to accept the inevitable....and enough hope to see through to another day.
under the smile of the moon, on Saturday at twilight.