The Light Switch - Part Two
Updated: Feb 25
“We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder…”
- Pat Benatar. 1984
I have been a journaler for most of my life. I took a BIG break from the time I entered motherhood until the beginning of quarantine when I found myself with time and energy to pick up a pen again and I am so glad I did! As I started to write out my feelings and describe the daily experiences I was having, I realized that of course no two experiences of loss could be alike – no two humans are alike, no two relationships are identical and no two circumstances would ever be the same. This was good news! I needn’t be disappointed in anyone for not understanding! I needn’t be mad at myself for feeling disappointed in other people’s inability to understand! I didn’t have to keep searching for the right book to help me! I was actually somewhat in control of this! All I needed to do to encourage my own healing was to tune in, dig deep, and practice the safe and cathartic act of writing to see what poured out onto the pages. I began to relish the ritual of going to bed early and spilling my heart out, often writing directly TO Darcy and asking him the questions that were on my heart… and sometimes my own heart would even give me the answer! Was I channeling him? Making the answers up? It didn’t matter! I was feeling lighter. I was seeing my own hope and optimistic spirit shining through - mixed right in there amid the very authentic pain and sadness on the pages. I was lifted. I was rising. Just a little. It was utterly therapeutic. I had found my medicine. I could feel the tiny damaged particles of my body start to heal, cell by cell, and it felt like the best thing ever. I was writing the words I had been searching for. I was all I needed!
As a person who has been highly focussed on her own personal growth and spiritual practice for the last couple of years, I know that my purpose revolves around being of service to others. When my thoughts were coming into alignment as I wrote, I couldn’t help recognizing that if this practice of writing was helping me then maybe it could be helpful for others too.
The one book I read that really DID land in my heart is called “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. A must-read for all humans. An ordained monk, Pema’s beautiful depiction of basic Buddhist philosophy was so helpful and the particular concept of “tonglen” really spoke to me. Tonglen asks us, instead of backing away from any difficult emotion, to open our hearts, to feel that emotion as deeply as possible - to really understand it and breathe it in- and then to exhale all the love we possibly can to all others who have known or will know a similar emotion or pain. Not only does it send out a high vibration of love and support, it helps us remember the kinship of this human existence. We WILL all have similar experiences. We are NOT alone. We CAN help one another. We are united through our emotional experience. As the inevitable waves of grief crashed over me, I started practicing FEELING into the pain as it arose by breathing in the experience very deeply and then, as I exhaled, I would consciously send out love to all that had experienced that pain before me, all who were in it now and all who would experience that pain in the future. It felt like service to me. And it seemed to fill my heart with happiness – something that felt a little bit like JOY!
So, this is the practice that has inspired me to share here in this blog space. I want to breathe out some big love to you, my friend. To help with whatever you are going through. I want to inspire you to look within yourself for the light, the comfort and the answers that you need, so that your grieving journey will be one that feels tailor-made for you. Then all the additional love and support that you receive from your loved ones will be just what you need to tip your full cup into a state of beautiful overflow. It is going to happen. We still have to live through it. But we can live in the light, right?
Let us never underestimate the power of putting positive intentions out for the highest good of all. It doesn’t need to be a monumental action to have a monumental effect. Think of the tsunami that starts as a ripple in the ocean that comes from a tiny shift in the earth. Maybe this shift in my perspective – my “light switch” moment of looking inward instead of outside myself can become a small ripple and then a powerful tsunami of support for others who are experiencing loss of all kinds. Fingers crossed.
Until next time, heal and be healed.