I have sorrow surfacing this morning. This sorrow bubbled up after I heard about the break-up of two people I love. Like the tender little flowering vine above, this sorrow winds itself around my heart. And it tightens its grip when I read about some people’s reactions to Bowe Bergdahl’s release from years of captivity in Afghanistan. Most of the press about Berdahl is so mean and cruel; he went from being a victim we heroically rescued from the Taliban to an evil deserter perp in record time. And now his parents are getting death threats. I am so sad when I hear about how cruel we can be to each other. I just don’t see how arguing about who is the real victim and who is the baddest person of all helps anyone.
I am sad from watching people push hurt and pain onto someone else while insisting that it is the right or moral thing to do. We humans excel at off-loading our grief and hurt, don’t we? Instead of sitting with hurt or sorrow and allowing ourselves to feel it, own it and then honestly express it, we spew our pain all over someone else. I get the sense that this pain passing round robin is why we keep repeating the same mistakes again and again, re enacting the same wars, crimes and petty nastiness against each other generation after generation. We lob our yucky dissonant feelings (what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body) on to another person like a hot potato. We may feel better temporarily, but we’ve simply passed the pain on to someone else and nothing ever gets resolved.
In all the years that I had a private healing practice, I spent most of each session teaching clients how to get in touch with their pent up emotions and then express them than in way that didn’t hurt anyone else. Expressing the difficult emotions is such a key part of being able to heal and move on. But instead of feeling and healing, we continue to spew and blame others for every pain.
Humans have clubbed each other over the head with their pain and their hurt for millennia. Only now, we have raised pain passing to fine art; we employ hate radio jocks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to help lob our pain “out there” – onto some evil person who “deserves it.” Or we post and tweet hateful things about people we don’t even know and call it entertainment. It’s easy to lob our pain onto a stranger and walk away.
I am sad about what I heard today. It hurts to be sad, I do NOT like this feeling. But I’ve learned that the only way to move beyond sadness or grief without lobbing it on someone else is to acknowledge what I am feeling right now; I need to sit with it. Sit quietly and breathe deeply. So I will sit and breathe and focus on whatever sensations come up in my body. I will honor this feeling and the big open hearted part of me that cares so deeply and feels so sad. I may weep. I may feel like my heart will break. But I will sit with this sad and honor it with my attention. And slowly, like a summer storm blowing through, this sad will pass.
Sit in a safe, quiet place
Slow down your breathing; count to 3 with each in breath, then 4 or 5 or 6.
Breathe slow and deep. Notice whatever you’re feeling right now.
Lengthen your exhale. Make your exhale longer than your inhale.
Imagine that you can breathe out difficult feelings and sensations. No need to ignore or push them away; just breathe them out.
Just breathe and notice whatever bubbles up from within you; body aches, emotion, difficult thoughts. Just notice whatever comes up and breathe it out.
Breathe it all out without judging it harshly. Breathe it out with as much compassion and self-love as you can muster.
If tears or rage come, breathe that out too. Try to open your heart to each feeling, each sensation. This is your inner weather – this storm will pass.
Just notice and breathe. Notice and breathe and open your heart.