“Ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
there is a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in.”
Struggling with infertility. Someone (with kids) says, “You’ll be okay–you can always adopt.”
You’ve been unemployed for over a year. People (with jobs) keep saying, “The right job is out there, somewhere. Just keep looking. Don’t give up faith.”
You’re reeling from the death of a loved one. Someone (who hasn’t experienced a death, recently) comes up to you at the funeral and says, “Be happy for them. They’re in a better place, now.”
People say these things, and everything in you is thinking, “They don’t get it,” or you’re shaming yourself because you’re having difficulty feeling optimistic, or perhaps you’re even angry (“What the fuck do they know?”).
The sense of isolation in those moments can feel profound. You’re doing your very best to hold on to some sense of not freaking the fuck out, and here’s someone who’s not in your situation, who has no clue, coming up to you and saying something that sounds nice, but doesn’t actually fix the situation.
Breathe + Choices
You have choices, here. How you choose will have a profound effect on your life experience, so take a moment to get present and choose wisely.
Choice #1: You can sit with and in the truth that the person in front of you is saying words that, for someone who is in the midst of profound despair, have no real meaning. You can feel even more isolated.
Choice #2: You can look this person in the eye, pull forth all the love you can muster, and high beam the love on them. You can open your heart, and receive fully the love that they’re trying to give you, even if they don’t “get it” or understand.
Many people choose choice #1, not knowing that there’s an alternative. Too much of choice #1, and you can go through an experience bracing yourself for the hurt.
In the midst of my own personal devastations, I try to be fully in choice #2.
When I’m in the midst of my own personal mess, and someone is saying to me those tired generic lines that are always said and associated with that particular mess, I take a deep breath, I high beam the love, and then I take another deep breath.
I look at this person and the part of my brain that would normally be reserved for hearing their words shuts down, until all I can hear is my own inner thinking voice, saying:
“Look at the miracle of this, this person who stands before you wanting so badly to love you. Let them love you, Kate. Let them offer the words, because they’re doing it from love.”
There’s a rawness that immediately arises for me in this. My armor is down. I’m not defended against the the Story running (they don’t get it they don’t understand they have no idea they just don’t even know…).
But if I keep breathing, and keep myself focused on the miracle of this human being in front of me who’s just trying so hard to love me, something softens and feels less raw.
With that softening, our hearts open.
Receiving the love is the choice. We can focus on the level of words, and that’s where it’s easy to disconnect, or we can focus on the level of what’s intended, and that’s where something can open.
Thank you, you think. Thank you for saying that beautifully imperfect thing, that ends up being perfect because I see that you’re just trying to love me as best you can.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
That’s how you get through.