I've said before that 2013 was a year best described as 'uncomfortable'. The year that preceded it was similar, though it was pocked with higher highs and lower lows; 2013 was steady, enduring discomfort.
And so I'm somewhat surprised to find myself, less than a month into a new year, sensing a true shift, not only within my own physical body, but among my people - the people I see day to day and the people I see online, people like Glennon and Danielle and Marianne. Something is shifting. You feel it, too, I'm betting - this deep, sturdy band of truth that's starting to move up toward the surface. It's this certain sense that all is not well out there, in the world, but that all might be just perfect in our centers.
Because that's, of course, where it starts. With one, and then many, individuals saying, "Wow. Shit is getting real out there. I best get right right here right now if I'm to be of useful service to the world." At least that's how my dialogue is sounding. Yours might sound different, and that's just fine. But the sentiment is probably similar.
There are so many words associated with this building movement: truth, desire, miracle, love. The word I've been leaning into hard is 'feeling'. It's not as touchy or as feely as it sounds. Truly feeling our emotions - sitting with them without attempting to change them - is rugged. I know this because I've lived it. You probably have, too. Last year, my marriage, twice, skidded messily into a parking spot we weren't sure we could squeeze out of. It felt suffocating. Two years before, if we'd found ourselves in the same place, I'd have poured myself a few glasses of wine and ignored the reality of our life, simply because our life was feeling hard. And in our culture, 'hard' tends to equal 'fucking it up' and none of us want that to be our lot.
Instead, when I found myself stuck in a seemingly-hopeless marriage/parking debacle, I just sat there. I let myself feel the quickening breath of seeming suffocation. I leaned into the hard that is marital discord and then I leaned in further. I listened to the sickening whispers. I whispered back, through tears. But I didn't run away and I didn't numb myself with wine or food or hurtful words. (I sometimes numbed myself with Facebook and Scandal, which are, usually, easier-to-manage vices in my world.) And so, because the feelings were given their due, they moved on. They were tended to, fed oxygen, given a hug for luck, and sent gently - finally - on their way.
Numbing and fighting isn't how our spirits lift themselves to their highest potential.
It starts with feeling. Feeding the feeling instead of fleeing from it. Feeding it with breath and a quieted mind (even if only temporarily), but coming back to breath and quiet whenever we can bear to remember that that's what we're going for.
Fleeing keeps the feeling there, like a child with an unanswered question; we try to remain distracted, but we can't ignore the presence or the importance of our reality. And as we ignore or numb - as we flee - we're forcing our uncomfortable feelings to stick around, nagging us, until we give them the attention they require.
I'm breathing in air lately that tastes like the sea: fresh and crisp. I'm exhaling, grateful as all get out for the reprieve from the discomfort. It wasn't until tonight that I truly noticed it had, for now, passed.
I'm thinking about who I need to forgive. Who needs my compassion. Who deserves my apology. Who needs to be heard.
I am opening, as quickly as I can, to Holiness and all I can do on Its behalf.
I honor the gift of the discomfort as I honor the clear blue of the sky underneath it.