What does it mean to know the essence of life?
As my husband prepares to go back to Africa and I am left with an aching heart, I've recognized that what I've been considering THE experience of life's essence is pleasure - a focus on hitting the high notes.
That's what I seem to want, what I have thought to be the essence of being fully present and in love with life. It seems that we humans want that. Prefer it, really. But what IF to taste the essence, the blissful nature of life on earth also requires a surrender to the sadness and the grief and the anger?
With my partner's coming and going, this question comes around and opens me wider to life each time.
Open to receive.
My experience, though it continues to unfold, is that the more challenging emotions are just as vital to knowing the essence of life as the experiences we seek to hold onto. That the more challenging emotions have the ability to open us even wider to receive the goodness that life in a body has to offer.
Don't miss the opportunity.
When I used to sit long Buddhist meditations, I would hear, "Life is Suffering." I believed my work in meditation (and living) was to rise above it all. I have wanted most every modality that I've learned: yoga, meditation, energy work and coaching to somehow help me avoid heartache and challenge.
Now, I would call that a huge mistake, a missed opportunity to draw near to my own heart and the pulse of life.
All experience is an invitation to make love to life.
Beneath all fear, all grief, all sadness and all anger is the essence of life - our wholeness and vitality and desire for being fully alive. When I dive beneath the surface of the heartache of this moment, and many moments in the past, this is what I discover:
- When Erick comes and goes and my heart breaks, I find that underneath the loneliness is the deep love and joy that we share in our day to day lives. If I didn't love him, it wouldn't matter. Even through an aching heart, that is worth celebrating.
- When I am filled with grief and anger when Erick gets home, I find that underneath the surface is a knowing I can trust myself and our partnership. Sharing my anger and grief that we are separated speaks to the intimacy of our relationship and my trust that our relationship grows through truth, not being polite.
- When I am outraged by having my feelings or experience of missing my husband dismissed or diminished, I find that underneath the surface is a knowing of my own wholeness. The absolute rightness of my feelings and again, that it speaks to my respect for myself and the love that I feel for my husband.
If I remain on the surface, I suffer mightily.
When I stay on the surface of the anger, or the grief and hold on tight to the stories of separation and ruin that I can definitely spiral into, it hurts. And it distances me from myself, from Erick, from life -- from what is most important to me.
However, when I have the courage to dive in, when I go deeper, when I attune myself to what is happening beneath the surface something miraculous happens. My heart opens. The truth spills out. I can feel a blossoming of joy even in the middle of the swirling emotion because I love him, I love my life, that much.
That is so good to know.
Holy Holy. The essence of life.
I am finding that whether I am afraid or sad or pissed or joyful or content, the essence of life pulses within me. I don't need to seek out a particular kind of experience or feeling-state because the quality of life, of living, is always available.
So today, I open to the joy and the heartache - the recognition that this man I've chosen to spend my life with with will come and go for another year. And that each day, every nuance of engagement I have with that circumstance, beneath the surface, is pointing me squarely toward love. Toward a deeper recognition of wholeness. Toward an ever-opening heart. Toward an intimacy with the essence of life.
You are Invited.
Whatever challenge you face, whatever difficult emotions you are pushing away or riding, I invite you to dive beneath the surface. Ask yourself how is this particular feeling or circumstance an invitation to taste the essence of life? Notice if you can find a hint of opening or pleasure when you dive beneath the surface.
Tell me everything.