Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

It's always darkest before dawn.

I don't remember what quite set it off, but I've a had a disheartening and hard month or more.  I dug a hole, fell into it, and had a hard time climbing out.  I know that when this happens, it's up to me to figure the way out myself.  My meditation practice and my children help me to see what's really important, but sometimes it's hard to act when you feel a bit paralyzed.

It's the culmination of many events that transpired with family after my Grandmother passed last January.  There seemed to be too many unresolved issues that I couldn't let go of.  I believe in moving forward not living for yesterday, but sometimes that's hard to do, especially when others choose not to.

When the big stuff goes unresolved, the little stuff starts to effect me, and can bring some more big stuff with it.  Then the domino effect begins and it rolls down to my children, family, those I love, and everyone around me.  Like a friend says, "When Mama ain't happy, no ones happy."  It's not a selfish statement, it's because every Mama is one of the most important parts of a child's life.  It's our job to be strong, or know when we're weak, and pick ourselves up, and ask for help if we need it.

Someone that I love has had a very hard time moving forward and something very unfortunate happened to him.  I chose to help instead of throw my hands up.  It was a hard decision, because it wasn't just a little help.  That choice made someone even closer to me say some very cruel things because they weren't happy with their life and their choices.  Many things said were untrue and borderline insane so I tried to let it go.  I couldn't.  It's hard to let things go when others are hurting and they try to hurt you.  Bitter resentment will eat you up if you let it.  I have learned to live with and understand many of my resentments, so when I see others stewing in despair, it hurts.

I chose to take a stand and do what was right.  My relationships are my business.  If someone doesn't like them then that is their problem not mine.  I don't have to discuss anything you don't want to hear and you don't have to ask.  Seems simple to me, but we are human.  One thing that I know is that you can't tell anyone what to do, they have to decide for themselves.

Then, last week, my littlest one came down with a virus and we had four sad question-filled days with fever.  It was like a mediation retreat, doing nothing but loving and cuddling my tiny boy, sending him love and trying to send myself some kind and gentle love.  Thank goodness Grandma was off to play with Z, while I nursed Bodhi for days.

Everything hit me.  I was deeply questioning every choice I made.  Was I really being a good mother?  Good wife?  Good daughter?  Good friend?  Kind?  Gentle?  Loving?  Forgiving?  What have I done wrong?  Am I doing anything right?  How come everyone else seems to have their shit together?  Everyone does so many different things.  Some people can take care of their family and find time to do what they love, and sometimes make a living doing it.  Do I need to find my niche in life besides being a mother right now?

That last one hit me harder than I expected.  It had been in the back of my mind for a few months now.

Right before all the questioning, I had began reading some things that helped me in my journey.  Things that were deep in my heart but had to be pulled to the surface, and put right in front of my face.  

There was this.  It helped me take a step back and see things from a distance.  It gave me the perspective of time and space.  It was a little lightbulb above my head.  "Step back."  Look at it from the other's perspective, from the whole room's perspective, from my city, from my state, all the way to the end of the universe.  What was going on was not grand on the whole scale of sadness.  It was, in the words of Lemony Snicket, a series of unfortunate events.  It allowed me to see things in real time.  Was most of the stuff that was bothering me going to matter in five minutes?  An hour?  Next week?  Next year?  Ten years?  No?  What the hell am I grasping this hot cole for?  Feel that tension, don't speak, don't act, move forward gently, as gently as possible.  Send out love, not hate.  Don't be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.

Then I read this.  There's always more rope at the end.  There's always a new day.  There's always a beginning.  Seemingly infinite times a day we can choose to begin again.  I even started taking Z back to bed and symbolically saying, "Let's start over.  Let's begin again.  I'm sorry."  When we both acted out.  It worked.  Then a whole new day came and it was my clear slate.

This really helped to solidify it.  Wow.  Most of the stuff won't matter in 5 minutes, definitely not in a hundred years.  It's a blink in the universe, and most won't matter, but love will.  I don't have to act on every frustration or problem that comes my way.  Most stuff resolves itself if I wait patiently.  As a bonus, there's always a new day or moment when I screw up, or choose to see the shadows instead of the sunshine.

The sun is always there.  It will always rise.

How I choose to live this moment matters, it can effect generations to come.  So love love love.  Then love some more.  Forgive yourself.  Forgive others.  "Be here now."

I was feeling good.  It was all coming to a head.  I removed myself from feeling responsible for other's pain and took responsibility for my own.  I will always be here to love when they are ready.  I will always be open and forgiving.  And believe me, you don't know the half, a fraction of what I've forgiven.  It's not that it doesn't hurt, but all I can do is be me, and be ready and accepting.

Then I woke up one day and saw this, thanks to her.:

It was as if the sun within me was beginning to shine again.  The clouds were lifting.  

I suddenly didn't feel so lost.  I suddenly felt OK with my place and my relationships.  More OK than I had in a long long time.  I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.  I know when it's time for something new.  I always know when I pay attention.  I can't push the river.  

A new day has dawned.  

No one but me could work through it.  I asked for help when I needed it.  Some came directly, some from afar, and some I just found out of the great big blue.

But it came.  

Just in time.

And now I can breathe a little easier.

Thank you, to those that loved and helped.  Even if it was just existing in my presence -that's pretty important in my book.


I read these very powerful words just after writing this:

The warrior is never caught in the trap of doubt. The fundamental doubt is doubting yourself. This doubt can manifest as anxiety, jealousy, or arrogance. In its extreme form, you slander others because you doubt your own confidence. The warrior of perky, symbolized by the snow lion, rests in a state of trust that is based on modesty and mindfulness. Confident within him- or herself, therefore, this warrior has no doubt. He or she is always aware and is never confused about what to accept or reject.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Sacred Path of the Warrior

(This is book I read and re-read over and over, and highly recommend it.)


  1. Just in time. All of it. And your voice is my voice echoing back to me, a gift.

  2. you have said so much in this post, and all of it so fundamentally important. reading this comes at a time when i needed it. so, thanks for that.

    we are all just floundering souls trying to find balance, and do our very best by others...and ourselves. it's not so easy. the human existence is such that most can only endure it for an average of 65-70 years. imagine the expansion we could make if we could only learn to diligently practice the list of spiritual and emotional acadamia you have provided in this post. thank you for sharing...and in such a touching and beautiful way.

    1. Thank you, Aubree. That means a lot to me.

  3. Love you, my friend! You are my heart.