As I ran towards the beach, for maybe the first time in months, my face beamed with a big smile and I literally felt my face fill with joy. Whilst running I saw couples, families, cyclists, other runners, I was alone, it was Christmas day but I felt my heart fill with pure joy.
During this moment I had some kind of epiphany because in that moment my heart felt pain yet is also felt pure joy. I felt the pain of every loss I’d experienced over the years, along with the loss of my dreams that never materialised. I carried the pain from my yearning to be a mother, have my own family and be in love. Yet I also felt incredibly fucking happy and grateful all at once.
I felt grateful because I was alive, I was in the sun, I could see the sea and I knew that my mum was close by and I felt so fucking thankful to be here.
It was a beautiful moment in my life and one that I will never forget and since being away, here in Portugal I’ve held this realisation with me for a little while longer.
You see my whole life I have sought after happiness and peace, like we all do on a conscious, sub and unconscious level. However, what I’ve really sought after is that feeling of love and connection that you only really get when you’re alongside someone that you love and they pull you close-by and you feel their body against yours. It feels safe, warm, it feels like home and it feels god dam sexy all at once. It’s also the love and connection feeling that you get (I can only imagine) that comes from those moments when you hug your child and just feel that you could actually squash them because you love them that much.
What I’ve failed to see or rather realise until now is that our hearts are so frigging big I mean metaphorically and physiologically that we all have and hold the capacity to hold two opposing emotions at once. Now I’m sure some spiritually enlightened beings would disagree and argue differently but hey this is my experience and my article and I want to share this because if it gives me comfort and it may also give you the reader comfort too.
If you take the beautiful and challenging practise of Yoga, correct me if I’m wrong but there are normally two opposing forces in every pose. For example in warrior postures, the front part of your body is trying to move your mat forward, whilst the back part of your body is trying to move and pull it backwards. Being aware of these physical sensations within the body and seeking them really allows one to fully activate the postures.
I feel that life is no different, we seek to mostly be happy because let’s face it who in their right mind wants to experience pain unless you feel unworthy. Yet it is actually possible to hold space in your heart for both joy and suffering.
How does this help us to know this?
Well, It helps us because when we are in those deep and dark pits of despair, know that you are still able to go through your process and yet have moments of happiness and joy too. We can still feel the pain of our losses, our lost dreams, our cravings, our yearnings and yet catch ourselves in a single moment of joy.
This helps us because in those deep and dark moments we can now allow ourselves to feel happiness also by do something nice for ourselves and there are so many ways. Do something for yourself that will make you smile or feel nurtured; read a book in a hot bubble bath, treat yourself to a healing session, go to that spin class that plays the best music, get drunk with your best friend and talk shit about your dating disasters.
Pain, suffering and love and peace well I believe we need to allow them to co-exist. Why? Because life will always be full of disappointment and disaster. There will always be heartache and pain but if you are able to allow it in then life can unfold in beautiful ways.
For me I now seek the simple, just a simple compliment from somebody about a class I’ve taught or an article I’ve written makes me feel like it’s all worthwhile. That smile from a stranger, that message from a friend, they all ignite a spark of joy within me.
If we can allow these emotions to co-habit together, if we can get them to accept one another without trying to change the other and just exist together then I truly believe that we will lead a fulfilling life.
It’s like religion and politics to name a few, we’re all just trying to force and make each other wrong so that we can be right. We’re trying to persuade others that our way is the right way, the chosen path and they must follow but what if we can all co-exist and accept each other as we are.
I don’t need to label my experience of pain as bad in order to make my happiness the good that I seek. I just need to allow it in and observe it. I don’t need to allow my joy to be labelled as good in order for my life to feel better as I know that at any time life can change in a single moment.
Make peace with you pain and suffering today by allowing the joy in also. You and I have the capacity to feel these opposing forces all at once. We need to have one in order to acknowledge the other.
If life was all joy, it would lose its magic. I’m now grateful for my suffering as it’s my teacher and my mentor and when I experience Joy , man oh fucking man does it feel euphoric why? Well because the suffering has been intense and so anything else that comes in is a bloody bonus.
Love and light my earth angels.