Why is this familiar feeling here again?
Because within me still exists the little girl who hasn’t be given permission to heal. She has been asking for love and I have been unable to meet her squarely in her eyes.
The darkness has been too overwhelming up until now and acceptance around this sadness has been denied; I have been running from one corner to another seeking comfort through avoidance of the painful stuff.
The shameful part of my history reappears and my throat constricts. My chest becomes heavy. The breath that I have worked to know becomes lost and tightness surrounds my sternum. The muscles around my lips become tight and my thoughts become rapid, but move through a mental fog that resembles molasses.
I have no words, just tears. And these feelings are too familiar: they are my shame, my sadness and my otherness. This is what keeps me from being able to look you squarely in the eyes and believe that I am deserving of sharing this world with you, my friends, my husband, the strangers crossing paths.
I wrestle with these memories and emotions. I question their validity and my relationship to them. I’ve been working on this stuff, you know? So why is it here sitting before me? I’ve found yoga and prayer. I’ve found mindfulness and have practiced release, relinquishing, observing and letting go. But there it is again, and these feelings are too familiar.
I continue to drive this road and I pray to something unknown. I pray for patience: these sensations and these feelings are only temporary. I pray for the recognition that I can forgive the child inside of me who lives in shame that I come from two people who did the best that they could.
I pray for the permission to feel the anger, the sadness and the guilt. I pray that my mother is doing okay. I recognize my powerlessness in relationship to the past. Pain is inevitable: suffering is optional. I keep driving. I look to the right and see a kind, gentle pink and orange sunset hanging over a freshly harvested field and remember that there is still some light. Earth is our mother and she is offering reassurance.
I look to the left and see the waxing moon peeking behind the rolling, reddening hills of Southern Indiana. Then again to the right and see that the sunset is still moving closer to the other side of our Mother Earth. God answers and I understand: there is darkness and there is light. We are traveling right down the middle. Every day we must experience the darkness and the light. Neither is more or less valuable and each have a profound teaching.
Driving slower I make my way down to the lakeshore near our home, tears, trembling and all. I sit with the moon until the rain comes. My breath deepens and I feel the crisp autumn air filling my lungs. My eyes begin to dry as the gentle wind of the approaching storm shakes away the dust. Nature is my teacher today.
I discover a breakthrough in what comes when I release the need to control my relationship to these memories and this shame. Slowly, but surely, I am starting to truly learn how to lean into the darkness and trust that tomorrow the sun will rise and light will glean again. I learn to surrender in order to dismiss the tendency to choose to suffer. And I find gratitude, even for the pain. It is here to help this little girl heal.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Author’s Own