My last post dealt with death and getting your Advance Directive done. Did you do it?
We were back into another workshop on death this past weekend. I am grateful that this work helps me focus on what matters. This poem helps me do that as well.
HELD, NOT HEALED
Stop trying to heal yourself, fix yourself,
even awaken yourself.
Stop trying to Fast-Forward the movie of your life.
Let go of 'letting go'.
Healing is not a destination.
Your pain, your sorrow, your doubts, your longings,
your fearful thoughts: they are not mistakes,
and they are not asking to be 'healed'.
They are asking to be held. Here, now, lightly,
in the loving, healing arms of present awareness…
- Jeff Foster
This is helpful to me on two levels. On one level it helps the conversations I mentioned in the last blog post - what is it I want to leave you with before I lay dying? Or, before you are off on some gurney without me to the hospital? In the warp and weft of our relationship, is there anything more I want to add? If this is my last contact, what is it I want to leave you with, give to you? Because if death is imminent, then we are past the goal of healing, making better, fixing. We are on to the essence of being held, what we as humans long for and live for - to be loved as we are, to be seen here now, to be known in this moment. Can you imagine someone to whom you want to transmit something and imagine what you want to say? Go say it. We cannot wait. In our workshop, one person exclaimed, "By practicing this "last message" to my loved one, it woke me up to wanting to spend more time, more space, together! I want more! Practicing leaving gets me here."
The other level I am helped is day-to-day in this bizarre world in which we live now. Friend and colleagues offer these perspectives: "ground hog day", "perpetual restlessness", and "this place filled with shoulds, I should exercise, I should fix the drawer that won't close, I should clean out closets". The message of the poem helps me with the shoulds. What if this big time out, this big pause, is for me to learn to stop fast-forwarding, stop fixing, stop doing? What if I put the slow motion setting on, and sit in the moment by moment regardless of whether I like it, or it feels strange or unfamiliar?
I know I have the space to make these suggestions because I am not trying to work while providing child or elder care. Even in these, I wonder how much suffering is coming from trying to maintain some sort of status quo in the midst of outright disruption. What if we all pressed a very BIG pause button, even in the middle of this already big pause, and said WAIT. I cannot emulate a work environment at home, I cannot school my kids the way they were used to, I cannot fabricate any familiar reality. I cannot... I just can't.
What about slowing down, imaging this all differently, and building your sheltering time from the ground up, without reference to what once was, or someone's idea of what should happen? I wonder if, as our relationships to each other, our work, and our play, change, there is room to ask each of those pieces what they want, how they fit now, how we can collaborate on being with what is.
Pema Chodren, in When Things Fall Apart:Heart Advice for Difficult Times says: "Usually we feel that there’s a large problem and we have to fix it. The instruction is to stop. Do something unfamiliar. Do anything besides rushing off in the same old direction, up to the same old tricks." I have been playing with stopping and inserting something really unfamiliar. I wonder about how we can support each other in this refashioning.
What would you like to stop fast forwarding? What "unfamiliar" will you insert?