gentle grace of christmas morning

Dear great, great, grandaughter of mine,

It is Christmas morn, nearly 7 am, and across towns and cities, radiating in all directions, Christmas has arrived for children.. who are perhaps now your grandmothers. Magic has awakened them early. I send out messages of welcome, deep smiles of hope for that joy. I am glad.

But many are sad. (it is this way every Christmas. It is a difficult time for those who are grieving, who are lonely, who are suffering, but this year, it is particularly so). I’m aware of it in myself, now , too. It’s funny, how I didn’t think it was there, how really I thought I was content. Sorrow can be that way. It can hide under many faces, and it can be present alongside even contentment. A little nugget that screams for our attention, too, at times, like Horton’s Who, “I am here, I am here, I am here” We are never the whole of our feelings, though they can consume us at times, making us believe that is so.

As Walt Whitman once said, we contain multitudes.

And we are more than them too. We are the One who can see them all, hold them all, feel them all.

Yesterday, I felt it, the sorrow. I think it came out screaming at first in my feeling of unfairness that others were choosing/able to be with loved ones this Christmas. The feeling of being left out is a deep human pain… the pain of rejection, of abandonment, of being unloved and unseen are all wrapped up in that one. (hmm, wrapped up, as in a gift to be opened?).  I think yesterday morning’s letter, if you look closely, was thinly veiling some of that pain. We judge others often from that place. That can be easier sometimes than facing our own sorrows or failures.

I felt it in others yesterday too, the quick sharp retort and biting reactions , lashing outwards in anger at seeming slights and misunderstandings, from those whom I love , sometimes in the midst of conversation.  I felt like I was surely stepping on terribly painful toes—the proverbial, can’t say anything right, which you probably have experienced by now, that confuses you. There is so much tension in so many of us,  from holding so much, that we are snapping from it.

I read 2 things this week that helped me to see more clearly.

When you enter the world, you come to live on the threshold between the visible and the invisible. This tension infuses your life with longing. Now you belong fully neither to the visible nor to the invisible. This is precisely what kindles and rekindles your longing and your hunger to belong. You are both artist and pilgrim of the threshold. —John O’Donohue

Beneath every behavior there is a feeling. Beneath every feeling is a need. And when we meet that need, rather than focus on the behavior, we begin to deal with the cause, not the symptom. – Ashleigh Warner

So perhaps we are not being asked to do such a small thing, after all, as I wrote with such hubris yesterday, from my own lashing out pain. It is both a small thing and a big one. Here is the snake eating its tail again, that right/wrong circle of ambiguity. It is no wonder we ‘sin’ if it means ‘missing the mark’. It can be difficult even to know what the mark is…. Well, that is not entirely true either. Love is always the mark that we aim for.

Inquiry (in response to the second quote), a gentle curiosity, ‘what’s really going on?’, is always a good first step to aligning oneself to Love. Just that question alone is to be seen and often that is all Love asks of us, to see the other as Beloved, worthy of attentive grace and compassion. And I suppose that leads to meeting that ‘need’ – not necessarily fixing or providing for (or  taking away)  or easing the grief or pain that is causing the other’s behavior—but seeing it/‘meeting’ it. Perhaps if I begin there. Just there.. whether I am seeing the pain of a loved one or the pain of the earth or the pain in humanity that is making it act out. (that ache in yesterday’s post that we are trying to blindly fill with ‘all the wrong things’, because we are not ‘seeing’ it truly for what it is)

“Take the log out of your own eye” it was said, before you point out the splinter in the other.. It hurts to have a splinter in there, let alone a log !  We must acknowledge our own pain, it seems, or we project it.

Seek to see clearly, with Love.

(Ok, the texts announcing the waking up of my world are arriving, causing me to smile and to smirk at their silliness. That is love showing up….Don should be waking up soon too.

So I will leave you with that.

Love, Gaga

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