My last guidance from Ayrie was, "Be brave". I'm learning that part of what this means for me is a return to my body. Scary, scary stuff. I went to my first yoga class (called gentle yoga) and then my second, and then a third....I've been seven times in the last three months. And I've cried through five of them. Yoga terrifies me -- both the baggage I have to face externally (my societally learned belief that perfect thin blonde yoga people are making judgments about my body) and the baggage I have to face internally (don't enter me. I've stored scary things here. danger. danger). I joined a gym and do slow minutes on the elliptical and lurching laps as I pant around the tiny indoor track. I've tried chanting. And taking conference calls while I walk. I've tried stretching. Adding weight-loss drugs to my regimen. Talking to my body. Walking around a lake. I want to try other things. Dancing. Biking. Creating art that uses my body. Every time I'm I do these things I'm feeling for space to open up inside of me. I'm feeling for increased vibration in my body. I'm listening for my soul to say, "I'm happy."
Why do I have to do this? Why the disconnect in the first place? What's so scary in my body? I suspect the answer is layered and complex, not easily revealed and understood. But one thing, I think, is my deep capacity for empathy. A story about Hurricane Harvey fills me with sadness. When they talk about the new evacuation plans that help people leave home with their pets, the radio DJ says, "We know pets aren't human but they are an important part of our human families. For some people, they are all that is left." And with that line the sadness isn't generalized anymore. I get waves -- images of people and pets, unique experiences of their bonds, unique feelings of their suffering, loneliness, despair. And then it becomes specific. It's as though I am with someone. I feel a man and his tabby cat. He's white and ginger haired, his cat matches his coloring. His dirty khakis and blue-tan plaid shirt blend in with the endless swirling dirty water. He stands on the steps in front of his ranch house, his feet covered in water, his eyes scanning for people. For any sign of life. The rest nowhere because he sees nothing living. He feels so small and alone. His cat's warmth and the familiar feeling of connection are the only things tethering him to this world.
I'm back in my bed. My head on my partner's shoulder. NPR playing from the phone that lays on his stomach. Eyes full of tears. Chest full of sadness. I realize that I don't know what to do with the sadness. This. This may be one reason I don't spend time in my body. I don't have the strategies I need to be me. Feeling and empathizing may be two of my gifts. I'm going to say - claim - that they are gifts. But they will also poison me if I can't expel all of the pain I take in.
So maybe these two things go together. I am not only watching and feeling for things that make me vibrate and delight my soul, but the times where I feel an exchange with the universe. I offer it some of my sadness, and it gives me something (love, presence, wisdom, space, energy) in return.
Oh. It just said, "I give you light in return."
No, as I typed that they told me that wasn't quite right. Using the concept of lightness is right, but we have limited meanings of the word. They say:
"So think of it this way for now. You always have light inside you, even when you can't see it. Sadness and grief are largely dark and make it harder to experience the light. Sadness and grief also have a weight that light and joy do not have. So when we take sadness from you, (which we can only do when you release it to us), you both experience more of your light as brightness, and as an absence of being weighed down. We also want you to know that you need to be able to do this. You are a healer. Empathy and connection are gifts you have that help you heal others. The particular type of healing you do helps people become more whole and authentically them. There are few things more important in the world than healing and wholeness work. The fact that you have experienced pain, loss, and grief makes you a more gifted healer. But you are not as effective when you meet people from a place of pain. So take in and sit with your pain, sadness, loss, grief, and disappointments. And take in and sit with those feelings in others. But then keep the wisdom and release the energy. This you must do to be healthy, to nurture your relationships and be present for your loved ones, and to fully use your gift in the world. Your gift is transmitted through your light, not your darkness. Do not worry that you burden us, that you are too much, or that you ask too much. We have an endless ability to recieve what you give us. It is no burden to us. We will receive what you give us with reverence, and we will release it to exist amongst us -- the spirits, the stars, and all that is."