surrendering to Love

…. facing my own vulnerability and pain

  

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell, don’t go back to sleep.” – Rumi

I wanted to walk away this morning, but my soul had other plans. It begged me to sit with this feeling of ‘too much’ (yes, you can bear it) one more time, to not rush out that door headlong into winter, that there was something yet to glean from these seedheads.

The last of the grains came free with these words, “Eventually, it feels like forgiving Reality Itself for being what it is’,  the last lines of a brief morning reading on the practice of letting go.

And I remembered that sweetness

All those years ago in the midst of my own devastation, God coming to me, seeking my forgiveness for being ‘imperfect and impotent’, asking if I could Love Him even here (often in ghastly images),  yearning for me to welcome Him into my embrace.

I understand now. That was about acceptance — Love Of Life, as it is.  No denial of its ugliness, or refusal to acknowledge its suffering.

This morning, in the breaking dawn, I clearly saw the wide gulf between deep curiosity about life and the rigidity of certainty about it, between the wisdom of love and the self-assurance of knowledge and information, between resting in the knowledge that Love is Deep within All and denying that Life is Pain and the world is broken.  And I asked myself, “What vulnerable place within me am I seeking to assure with certainty… or to protect with denial? What grief, perhaps, am I unwilling to accept?”

That question broke open the hard-coated seed to Love within. Suddenly I can see that my striving– seeking answers and explanations, understanding and solutions– stems from this vulnerability.

As each day for hours, often several times a day, the pain and darkness of a beloved one pours into my heart through the cellphone attached to my ear; as each day, images and articles of the brokenness and suffering in our world pour into my heart from the screen, I divert the flow of that pain to my heart with so many words and thoughts – a world of ideas flowing into and out of my head. My brain tricks me into thinking it can grasp onto some formula to solve the problems of Life (if only ‘they’ could see)… and avoid feeling the pain of a heart broken open by Life’s suffering.

The truth is that Life is pain (it is also bliss. sorrow and joy. terror and beauty, night and day). That pain needs to be held by compassion (perhaps, it wants to teach us about compassion). Where there is suffering, it seeks mercy. Where there is grief, tenderness. Acceptance not resistance.  Surrender not solution. Forgiveness not fixing. (the ‘if only they could see control’ transforms into the release of ‘forgive them for they don’t know’) A Love like that heals, and transforms darkness into light.

This morning, I wondered how I forgot this, as I really thought I’d done this work long ago (when in the midst of my own life-rending pain)  had come to accept that Life’s heartache is an essence of her Great Beauty, after all, a paradoxically necessary part of our journey of Becoming more deeply human, softening to Love. But I asked myself, ‘Is it true that you have come to accept/love the Reality of Life? Do you truly have compassion for Life as you claim that you do? Or do you want to bypass its ugliness and get straight to the Beauty? Can you love its darkness, too?”

I so yearn for the transformation of pain in others, in this world – but perhaps I am too attached to that outcome, and so I try to push rather than allow it. ( my mind cannot help but bring forth images of childbirth here- the pain of contraction softening the cervix, allowing for the birth of a new being)

I see now that in allowing the pain of others to enter my heart, I must take care to not let it get caught in my head, separated from my soul, to Re-Member that pain to the Wholeness of life as I know it to Be.

This morning I acknowledged my own sorrow and grief, which I’ve been denying in my unwillingness to feel the vulnerability that comes with opening to the pain of the other. This morning, I allowed myself to be a mortal human being, tender with the vulnerability of unknowing.  This morning, I allowed that pain to be seen and to be held. This cracked open the seed, if you will– To release its clinging to knowledge and expertise, To let go its need to fix so as not to feel anxiety and fear, To fall into true acceptance and Love.

Simply Love.

I expect the yearning to alleviate pain and transform suffering is a Holy Yearning, which gets a bit twisted up in my human attempts at responding to Life’s pain. The question for me is how does it truly look to offer comfort not answers*, hope not invalidation — to Be and to Act with Compassion and Love, with Mercy and Grace, grounded in the Wisdom of Soul, with Love—open eyed, open hearted, open souled. To love the darkness without trying to make it be light. To love those who, from within their own brokenness, cannot see or receive or know Love, or whose own hardness will not let you close enough to remove the thorn that is causing their pain. This is not to turn my back on What I Know, but to enter more deeply into this Beloved World, bearing that Love on my sleeve (some of those seeds, you see, clung to my coat).

Vulnerable to the full catastrophe. 

*My husband and I were talking about how difficult it is sometimes to crack the veneer of one who is unable to receive a message of Love. (Some seeds require a manual knicking, often performed in nature by bird beaks). I thought of my own journey, and how vital it was to hear and to receive new definitions of Love from those outside of myself, in order to heal my image of self. But then I wondered, what soul force was it within me that sought out those outside messages, what soul knowledge allowed me to receive them.  He came up with the image of an egg, that the chick must crack the shell open from within. I’ve also learned that butterflies are the same- that if someone tries to ‘help’ it in its painful looking struggle to free itself from the chrysalis, that butterfly with not survive. But I wondered about that image of the egg, and how it is also that something must keep the egg warm, while the chick grows strong enough to survive in the outside world. I think of my very pregnant daughter-in-law, and the strength of the womb to both nurture and protect, but to also push life forcefully forth. The process is painful. There is a powerful life-force within the seed, within the egg, within life– and there are conditions in which that life force is supported to develop, and in which the birthing is midwifed by one who knows the way.. And so, I am left with both/and in regards to this inner/outer action of Love. We are the hands and feet, as they say… And within each of us is the spark of the Divine urging us into Life.

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