Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
(there is a crack in everything)
That's how the light gets in
The holidays can certainly bring much cheer, but for many the emphasis on how we should feel joy, can make things a bit darker during this season of light...and our experience of our stress and pain, our sadness, loneliness, anger or grief, may grow more intense.
But we are not often encouraged to look to pain as a place where the light comes in. Our pain can actually be the very portal, the doorway, to a more expansive life.
The truth is, that when we begin to drop deeper into ourselves - in meditation, yoga, contemplation or stillness - most of us will find some level of pain. This pain is often in the form of tension. We may experience it as a physical or an emotional sensation. We may experience it in the form of images, thoughts, or stories that bubble up when we begin to grow still.
What's important to consider, is that how we meet our pain can either leave us feeling more tight and closed, or more open and malleable...more dark or more light.
How then can we practice meeting ourselves, our pain, in a way that makes space for this light to come in?
We land. We remember that the ground, the support, is there underneath us. Holding us.
We breathe. We allow our breath to flow fully through us.
We relax. We release our obvious bodily tension and habitual gripping. Our jaw. Our shoulders. Our belly.
Then we go in deeper.
We listen, inward. We begin to notice our discomfort. Our dis-ease. Our pain. We may experience sensations in our body or a rush of difficult emotions or thoughts...seemingly unbearable. So we breathe more deeply. We practicing Allowing...
Allowing whatever we find to just be ‘whatever we find’. We practice not judging. We practice staying... We practice being kind with ourselves. And then we Repeat this process... again... and again. Land. Breathe. Relax. Listen. Allow.
We can make space for our true feelings as we allow the ground to support us, the breath to calm us, and our own kind attention to soften and to hold us. This very process of visiting with ourselves is the LIGHT of awareness. Our compassionate attention is our healing light.
Practicing in this way changes us neurologically too. It sets conditions to switch off the Stress Response and switch on the Relaxation Response, releasing the chemistry and the hormones needed to help lift our energy, spirit, and ability to bond. We feel more connected to ourselves and to others.
As we expand our capacity to meet ourselves this way we set the conditions to allow ourselves, our emotions, our pain, and our stories to continue to evolve and transform. This is not only good for us, it's good for everyone we come into contact with.
So, however you are feeling and with whatever conditions you find yourself in this holiday season - May you be safe, may you be at ease. May you know that you are loved. And may you feel the presence of your own loving attention.