I ripped open a scabbed over wound last week. I'm not really sure what prompted it. There has long been a division in my family over belief. That is nothing new. So, I don't know why I got so upset about that. I'm not sure if it's because things have been so particularly difficult with the kids lately that I've felt so groundless. And I'm not so sure what drove me to that place of superiority and bitterness. So, I've been just feeling all the yuck as much as I can. I've been observing my thoughts, trying to get to the bottom of that anger. It's a little treacherous in there, so I'm trying to tread lightly, with great gentleness.
But some great things have come of this wound-opening experience.
First of all, I discovered that I am far from healed. The emotional abuse I suffered as a child is still having a profound affect on me. That wound is still there. And I'm feeling it all the more now that I've poked at it and picked the scab off. But rather than do all the things I used to do to try to escape it I'm just feeling it, all the pain, all the sadness, all the anger. And I'm doing it with love and gentleness. Buddhism refers to this as Maitri - unconditional friendliness with oneself. It's being honest with yourself in the a loving way. It's seeing where you are right now and being okay with that. I am who I am.
The first realization led to the second. I am not a child anymore. I need to stop expecting that I'm going to get the things I missed out on from other people. I need to figure out how to be the grown up. Again, the honesty that comes with this view of oneself is the necessary ingredient to growing up. I've been a child for so long - waiting for my parents to pick me up. If I can feel all my own junk and love myself unconditionally, then I won't be desperately seeking everything from outside of me. It's beautiful. And I can feel that strength - even now - being able to admit things to myself. It takes the power out of them. I'm human and terrible, but that's okay.
Third, I was reminded that I have the most loving people in my life. And I learned that nothing I think or say is going to drive them away. I am surrounded by such immense love and support. I have this amazing space to grow, surrounded by great wisdom and lucid thought and joy. Even with all my rantings and mean thoughts, these people still want to be around me and find joy in my company. I am not alone.
Fourth, I have had a real softening of my heart. I kneaded the resistance and the rightness until it began to loosen up. This goes back to being okay with being groundless. It's very disconcerting being a parent to so many small children. You don't have a say over whether you sleep or when you wake up or if you get to shower or over vomit or poop on the floor. You can't even get a roll of toilet paper out of the cupboard without a fight. You're in a sea of demands and screaming, and, very often, you can't find your footing. So, I think, I'm clinging to this idea that I can have control over something. I can have control over what I believe. I can have control by finding out THE TRUTH. Then I can know for sure and feel grounded. I can rest assured. But the truth is that we don't know. We'll never know. And being groundless is the beginning of fearlessness. "But if we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship, one that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death." Pema Chodron
Anne Lammot says, "Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are."
And today is particularly groundless. Maya screamed in the night for an hour or more and now has a cough and a fever. The babies fight every nap and every diaper change and fight and cry and break me down all day. Elliot is crying for me right now. It's really, really hard. And I snap and have to leave the room and take deep breaths (and try not to make those eye-rolling sighs). I'm groundless.
But I'm trying to stop grasping and to stretch my arms and feel the freedom in that.