It takes courage and willingness to move towards and through our feelings. When we have strong not so nice emotions surfacing there is a tendency to defend, push away, and guard against expressing and feeling them. The body, however, has a very different agenda. It wants us to experience and acknowledge our feelings as a way to naturally heal. In difficult moments it wants our undivided attention and care. It wants us to care and to make what we are feeling matter because it does matter. I often use the example of a child, or one’s beloved pet, or even a dear friend, who needs and seeks out our attention. More often than not we stop and take interest in them and their needs. We console them and give them our attention. We also feel good when we are able to nurture and be a witness to another being calming because of our efforts and willingness to attend. Similarly, it is you and it is your experience. Your personal reaction to what is happening for you. The body needs you. It will respond kindly to you when you focus in and be willing to nurture and attend. And when you do the body will thank you. It takes a lot of energy to defend, push away, ignore. A lot of energy. Paying attention and allowing the feelings to be creates release and calmness. Are you willing to give it a try?
Last week I went to the city I grew up in to visit family and friends. I had a chance to see some old friends whom have known me and I them for a very long time; including my grade four teacher as we have kept in touch all these years and are very good friends. Sadly, I was also there to visit my grandmother who is not well. I did see her last summer and was somewhat taken aback by her decline since then. It was also a very surreal experience to have spent the time with her attending to her now in a lot of ways that she attended to me as a child. I never really thought or expected that her and I would at some point be in a position of reversal of roles, although I was more that content to rub her back and help her into bed. Her spirits were good and I knew when she began to annoying fuss over me that she was feeling a tad bit better. My grandmother. She wants to fight. She wants to feel better. She wants to be positive. And as I stroked her arm and kissed her cheek on my last day there a wave of sadness washed over me and I had to leave her for a moment and go into the kitchen and allow the tears to fall down my face. I needed to allow myself to feel the strength of emotions that bestowed me as I was literally face-to-face with something I never could have possibly imagined and positioned in the reality of life’s hands and the realities of what it means to be a human being and aging. Looking back on the last day of my trip I reflected and wondered if it would have been better for me and my grandmother to have shared my tears of sadness with her. I do not know, but what I do know is that despite everything my frail grandmother is strong and I wanted to be strong for her. However, I also knew that I needed to feel and be and feel and be with myself and what I was experiencing as a way to surrender to what is and what will be. I needed to be present in the moment and experience. Now I am home and my heart and thoughts are with my dear grandmother holding the memory of her beautiful soft face and her gleaming blue eyes and being grateful to have had a visit with her and for a short period of time help her in a small effort to give back all the help she graciously has given to me over my lifetime.
Last Monday, October 31st marked the year anniversary of the last day I saw my little cat Paige. I remember that day as if it was yesterday, yet a full year has gone by and so much has happened over the year. It was a Sunday and as I was engaged in weekend chores I found it strange that Paige had not checked in with me all day as she usually did in between her exertions outside. Adventure could have easily been her middle name as she loved everything about being free in her very own backyard, but she was still very much a mom’s girl and liked to check-in from time to time. By late afternoon I had that sinking gut feeling that something might be wrong as I had not seen her since early that morning. My body was being quite intuitive but my mind was over-riding the body as I tried to convince myself not to over-react. I had dinner plans that evening with a friend but had to leave early as the sinking feeling just kept growing bigger and bigger and my whole being was telling me to be at home just in case she was to come home. I had horrible nightmares that night of my Paigy and awoke the next morning with her no where to be found. Part of me was numb with disbelieve and part of me felt like I was losing my mind as I called upon my dear loved ones in my life as the execution of the search party began around the neighbourhood. I had no clue what I was looking for and scared to death as to what I would find if in fact we did find her. It was a combination of desperation and hope that everything would work out fine and she would show up home safe and sound and another part where my heart sank as this was so very much out of character for my sweetie girl.
Last Monday morning as I arrived home from the gym I was so cold from briefly being outside and then it hit me…. The anniversary. I had thought for weeks and months after her disappearance in my mind horrified that she might be out there. Somewhere being so cold and alone. How as every day that went by grew colder and colder and my hope thinner and thinner. Last Monday the tears streamed down my face as I remembered how that felt. Never knowing what happened to her (and part of me not really wanting to know). The body memories of that time last year hit me hard even though I was well aware the anniversary was coming up. The wisdom in my body last Monday as it felt cold and reminded me of that dark cold day last year. My heart broke again, but not at the same intensity as last year. Thank you to my body for bringing me into my feelings and thank you to me for acknowledging and willing to be with myself in remembrance and honour for my darling cat Paige; in my love for her and how much I still miss her. Moving through and out of the emotions into wholeness, completeness, and towards continued growth in life.