Courageous & Candid Conversation...
Suffering the Stormy Weather?
Or Weathering The Storm?
I’ve been approached a few times recently by people struggling with feeling deeply the “brokenness of our world”. Some are concerned about environmental destruction, others about political corruptions, and others still are being met by the personal grief of loved ones dying through illness, or taking their own lives. Some are connecting our stormy emotions and the themes of loss and destruction to the storms that have been wreaking havoc recently. There is a realness behind these expressions of suffering, the experiences are valid and warrant being listened to. Not so much a listening for the purpose of colluding and affirming, but more so, a listening that simply acknowledges and allows space for the safe expression, movement and release of the heaviness. If you have capacity for it, please listen to those close to you if they are honouring you by entrusting you with their vulnerability BUT heed the warning ~ “Take it in, don’t take it on”
I remember when I first started training in Kundalini Yoga and my Teacher Hari Har Ji shared that Yogi Bhajan’s desire in sharing this particular “technology” globally was to prepare everyone for “the crazy times”. All yoga holds the potential of this. The practices of pranayama (breathwork with presence), mantra, movement and meditation have the effect of applying the “right” kind of pressure to the body-mind to support integration of unresolved trauma, and to increase the capacity of the nervous system and endocrine system to tolerate the “wrong” kind of pressure. Of course, there isn’t really a “wrong” pressure, but there are certainly those situations and circumstances that we don’t consciously choose, that feel unwelcome, hurtful and result in us feeling lost, or at least diminished in some way.
Another motivational force that has supported the continuous evolution of so many different healing modalities, is the simple truth that the more individuals inhabiting this earth that are able to keep on calling themselves back to centre, to stay steady in the chaos, remain clear in their hearts and minds; the more of a chance we have as collective to form communities and societies that are filled with celebration, joy and the power to thrive. This being of benefit not only to the human races, but to all our relations, including our lover-mother Earth herself.
Light And Dark
There is a natural rhythm to the human experience, by which we all of us are likely to be the one feeling the brokenness and aligned with suffering at times in our lives; and at other times, we will be the one offering the hand to hold, emanating the reassuring light, and reminding those beset by grief that the beauty of life awaits them when they are ready to return to it. The more we allow ourselves the drop into the dark night of the soul, the more possibility we cultivate to deepen into compassion and empathy. The more we engage with our chosen practices, the more we position ourselves as a light-bringer and one who beats the drum to guide the shadow-explorers out of the darkness. You see, there is no thing wrong about any of this… it is the natural expansion/contraction, wax/wane of life. When we find the courage to learn, develop, and even master both of these directions, we align with our wholeness and realise how futile fear or resistance is, that actually, even the dark loves us and longs to nurture us whole.
So how do allow ourselves to drop without getting lost in a perpetual loop of wallowing? And how do we develop our inner light and the power to hold ourselves in equanimity without falling into the trap of spiritual by-passing or hiding our most raw expression behind socially acceptable masks? I’m sure there are a multitude of wonderful answers to this, and there is always going to be a degree of subjectivity, what works for me might not work for you. However, there are some fundamentals that I have found to ring true for most and certainly support my own life…
Let us take it back to the “dark night of the soul” versus “beating the drum to guide another out of the darkness” or put another way, “I feel like shit” versus “What can I do to help?” By considering the one in the depths of suffering to be as much in service to the one helping out as the other way around, we create the potential to take away any shame of being in need of support, guidance or holding. We also give protection to the one offering support from false pride, aloofness, or superiority complexes. It sets both parties free to let go of any resistance and to move freely back and forth between these two states of being, knowing that one is no better or worse than the other. We are all of us, just like the turbulent storm clouds AND the rays of sun breaking through, expressions of nature.
How might it be then, the next time you choose to give loose change to a homeless person, or give your time and energy to help a neighbour, or receive a client into your therapy room, to say thank you to them for being in service to your evolution? And how might it be to call up a friend and request a shoulder to cry on, or collapse onto a massage couch exhausted by grief and have no shame in doing so because you KNOW you are giving your friend or your therapist a rich opportunity to share of themselves?
I appreciate it’s a big ask, and this is why we tend to the fundamentals listed above and our practices... So that we stand a chance, and so that we can keep on discovering the many ways by which we walk one another Whole.
Join me for a cheeky bite into contemplations on the nuances and riches of life as a messy yet magnificent human (and more than).