I decide to open up to a fellow holistic therapist about how I’m feeling. I tell her that nothing necessarily bad is happening to cause this feeling but that I sense its heaviness.
I’m choosing to carry it around and I’m not letting it go. I admit that I’m afraid, which makes me want to close down and not care in order to protect myself.
My friend instructs me to close my eyes and really get into the feeling of being scared. She tells me to allow it to grow and expand and fill my body.
I feel an energy in my chest and my stomach. It feels like fear then anger and then I relax. I open my eyes and relay this to her.
She asks if there’s any bad feeling left. I tell her there is. Sadness and grief. So I’m told to repeat the process of feeling and allowing the sadness.
I see the little girl inside of me. I feel what she’s feeling. But there’s a resistance within me. I don’t particularly want to go there now. Been there, done that.
Despite my current resistance, this year I’ve been loving myself more. When I feel bad, I remember not to reject myself. Because of this major personal breakthrough, I know that I’ll be okay.
My friend tells me that I’m repeating an old pattern. There really is nothing to be afraid of. I need to face my fear so that I can see that it’s just an illusion.
I already feel much better. This makes so much sense. I usually resist these bad feelings, fearing that they will control my life and affect how I behave, react and relate to others.
My friend reminds me that this is where my resistance lies. I don’t want these feelings. I’m trying to avoid certain behaviours. And I’m fearing the worst possible outcome.
“Stop resisting,” my friend insists.
“Allow the feeling to take you over. That will create a shift. A letting go. Which will open you up in wonderful ways.
Open your heart. Allow yourself to be hurt. And the funny thing is, you won’t be hurt. Because the real you can never be destroyed.”
She predicts that letting go of resistance and allowing the feelings to take me over will change everything. I won’t have to worry about what might happen, how I may react or the many ways I could self-destruct.
She also warns that just because I’ve now stopped pushing against the swing of resistance doesn’t mean that it will immediately cease moving.
“Once you stop pushing the swing, it will continue to move back and forth for a while. But it will be less forceful and it will gradually swing less and less,” she smiles.
I leave my friend’s house with an unfamiliar feeling in my chest. Is it pain? Discomfort?
I allow the feeling to grow and expand until I realise what it is. My heart is open. And that’s okay.
Posted in Love, Personal development, Spirituality
Tagged abandonment, acceptance, anger, behaviour, body, chakras, change, control, discomfort, emotion, expansion, fear, feelings, force, grief, growth, healing, health, heartbreak, holistic therapist, hurt, illusion, inner child, letting go, life, living, love, mind, mindfulness, open heart, openness, pain, past, patterns, personal development, personal growth, power, presence, present, reaction, rejection, relationships, relaxation, relief, resistance, romance, sadness, self-destruction, self-love, sharing, shift, soul, spirit, thoughts, worry
I pick up a little book called Tuesdays with Morrie while on holidays in Spain. I saw it years ago but avoided it because the blurb on the back made me worry that it’d be a depressing read. It is about a dying professor (Morrie Schwartz) and his younger student (Mitch Albom). This time, I am ready. I devour it in two sittings. And I cry and cry and cry.
It isn’t that it’s unbearably sad. It’s just so touching, it moves me like nothing else has for a long time. I can feel Morrie’s energy with me as I finish the memoir. I love him. I can honestly say that he (and the endearingly honest Mitch) has changed my life. The gradual shift in Mitch’s attitude inspires me almost as much as Morrie’s wisdom.
Morrie allowed himself to let go, to be vulnerable, and to ask for help. He observed that, when you’re an infant, you need help from others and, when you grow old, you require their assistance also. However, what we fail to acknowledge is that we need other people in between times too.
Morrie told the tale of the little wave that witnessed other waves crashing against the shore. The wave wailed, fearfully: “Oh no, look! This is the fate that awaits us. How horrible!” Another wave reassured him: “Don’t fret, little one, for you are not a wave, you are part of the ocean.” As Rumi wrote: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.”
Morrie’s message has made me realise how closed off I’d become. I’d tell myself that “I like my own space”. I’d go home while co-workers would sit and have tea, a chat and a laugh. I’d stay alone in the flat watching episode after episode of The Good Wife. I’d spend weekends preparing classes instead of exploring the countryside with loved ones. I’d retire early rather than spend time with friends.
I still believe that there should be a balance between rest, work and play and between stillness, silence and moments of noise and interaction. But Morrie’s story has shown me that the most important thing in life is to love. To share what you have with others. To give another human being the gift of your time. Morrie said that he was always 100 per cent present with whomever he was speaking. When he was talking with Mitch, he thought only of Mitch. This resonates with me as I am often in the company of others when I’m not really there. I’m thinking of what needs to be done, or how I shouldn’t have eaten that or I might even be putting a photo through Instagram while somebody attempts to converse with me.
Morrie’s big, brave, generous heart has made me resolve to really live life, to connect with people, to appreciate nature, to question the values we’ve been brainwashed into adopting, to understand that love and peace are what’s true and priceless compared with ever-changing, unreliable material and physical possessions. One of my new goals is to do something that makes me feel alive every single day. I also promise to be present with people, as if each encounter were our last, and to ask, in the words of Robert Holden in his book Loveability: “How can I love you more?”
I have a couple of hours before I have to head for the airport. I could go for a last swim at what the locals call the “healing beach”. But it’s a bit of a walk, I mentally argue. And it’d mean packing a wet bikini. Then, I remember that I’m living life. So I set off in my flip-flops, carrying a pink towel. A line of ants and a yellow butterfly cross my path. A lone purple wildflower on this dry dirt track reduces me to tears. I offer an Hola and a smile to an old man sitting alone. He returns my smile, its corners clipped with surprise. An elderly couple stroll ahead, hand-in-hand. Yet again, my eyes mist. I beam as I spot a set of keys a stranger has carefully balanced atop a bollard.
My breasts bob and sway as my feet flap upon the sand. I feel like an ancient elephant striding across the desert. I inhale the scent of my sweat that has collected in cracks and creases. A homeless man sits on a wall behind the beach. I abandon my beach bag and strip. I don’t suck in my stomach. Not today. I duck my head into the ocean even though my hair was freshly washed this morning. I am alive.
Mitch and Morrie used to say, “We’re Tuesday people” because they usually met on Tuesdays. And I am writing this piece on a Tuesday, watching the waves surge and retreat, with tears in my eyes and a heart that’s breaking… wide open.
Image: Author’s own
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged appreciation, attitude, beauty, brainwashing, communication, compassion, death, drop, energy, family, friends, future, generosity, gift, gratitude, grief, heart, heartbreak, help, holidays, human beings, humanity, impermanence, inspiration, instagram, letting go, life, living, love, loveability, loved ones, material, mitch albom, morrie schwartz, nature, ocean, past, peace, people, photos, physical, present, robert holden, rumi, sadness, sharing, shift, silence, smartphone, society, spain, spiritual, spirituality, stillness, tears, thinking, thoughts, time, togetherness, truth, tuesdays with morrie, understanding, universe, values, vulnerability, waves, whole