I was with a friend yesterday who was having a difficult time. I am always trying to make people feel better about things, and very often that’s not the best response. I mean, sometimes it’s quite useful, but “Hurry Up and Feel Better” is antithetical to this Slowing Down process I’m so excited about.
Grief, even if it’s just the grief of losing a picture of the future, needs to be processed. Trying to move someone through it so *I* can feel better is a disservice to the process I know to be so important. It’s not comfortable, but it is important.
And so, because I know the world is always reflecting back to us that which we need to recognize and honor in ourselves, I thought, “where am I experiencing this same kind of grief and how can I recognize and deal with that so as to better support my friend?” And I was amazed at what I found. I found *several* areas in my life I’m experiencing a reflection of what she was experiencing, and I found layers of resentment and anger, sadness and combustible loathing. I was surprised. I thought I’d worked through much of what I’d found, but apparently some more has come up for acknowledgement, acceptance and tender care.
I am no expert on psychological processes. I have a number of tools I’ve learned over the years, but the only really effective thing for me right now is bringing the feeling, the experience and event, into meditation. I’ve got a number of meditative techniques for this. One comes from the book, “The Presence Process” and involves just sitting with the feeling without wanting to change it, redeem it, transform it or anything else. Just being with it. I picture myself sitting on a front porch overlooking a lake, my conscious mind and the feeling/pain/thing I’m avoiding, each in a rocking chair (sometimes smoking, because I smoked for so long and there was a social element that I still have some attachment to, I guess), just being together, watching nature in some way. There’s a “Hotel California” element because we are most definitely stuck with each other, but in that moment and for that time, we’re ok together. It softens my feeling towards it.
Another method is offering myself and the issue specifically to the altar. I begin my meditation and symbolically place the offending thought on an altar before, well, i guess now that i’m thinking about it, it’s sortof before a burning bush. Yeah, I’m not fantastic with the visuals today, but this process brings relief for me as well. I used to symbolically step into the fire representing a willingness to be transformed, but what with the inflammatory diseases, I’ve stopped that particular visualization.
And so, I’m going to work on honoring my own experience and particularly my friend’s. Not trying to make things better, just being together and honoring our inherent wholeness and completeness, despite some tough feelings. Feelings pass unless we avoid them, in which case they cling. I’m not going to try to do the ‘spiritual bypass’ on a tough feeling so we can feel better in the short term. Hopefully, we can just hold hands and go through it together. At least that way, neither of us is alone and we have the support of a loving friend, who doesn’t always need to be a little ray of sunshine.