“To stay with that shakiness – to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness – that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic – this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior” – Pema Chodron
Lately I’ve been experiencing a ton of emotional release, a purging of pain and hurt and heartbreak that hasn’t quite emptied itself out yet. The asshole of a bully in my mind (aka inner demon/inner critic/inner gremlin/inner mean girl/immobilizing self-doubt) has been on a roll. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
It has been relentless.
Taking full advantage of my vulnerable position.
Sneering. Hissing. Cackling. Taunting. Spewing ugliness and lies. Fucking shit up.
“What are you doing with your life?”, “Of course, they never really loved you”, “You’ve never been worthy enough”, “haha, you’re still an awkward, boring loser who stays home on a Friday night alone”
(And I feel like I’m back in my first year of high school again. Small and Angry and Silent. Wielding a black Bic pen and secretly assaulting my tormentors within lines of bad poetry)
Instinctively, I want to fight back. I want to tell it to “fuck off!”, to get down to its level and throw stuff back.
Or shrivel up. Stutter apologies. Make myself invisible.
Or, to kill it with kindness. Counteract its dirty, shaming tricks with hollow positive affirmations.
But the inner-jeering gets to me. Claws at my spirit repeatedly. Smears my weaknesses in my face ‘til I’m choking on them.
And I believe it all. Even though I know none of it is true or real.
“We empower our demons by believing that they are real and strong in themselves and have the power to destroy us. As we fight against them, they get stronger. But when we acknowledge them by discovering what they really need, and nurture them, our demons release their hold…By nurturing the shadow elements of our being with infinite generosity, we can access the state of luminous awareness and undermine ego. “ –Tsultrim Allione
And when there’s nothing else to do, when it’s all leaked out of me and I’m laying bruised, cut-open, and helpless on the floor, my heart tells me:
“All that exists is this moment”
Everything in my head is just stories. Old, worn-out narratives. It’s all illusion. It doesn’t exist.
All that exists is my heavy body, these four walls, the softness of this couch, the deep brown eyes of this beautiful Husky staring up at me…
The shift from my chattering brain to the softness of my senses is grounding, centring.
There is only this moment.
There is only breath.
In and out.
“All time is here in this body…The past exists in its memory and the future in its anticipation, and both of these are now, for when the world is inspected directly and clearly, past and future times are nowhere to be found” –Alan Watts, The Way of Zen
And the feelings and the moments pass.
And on the other side of this chaos, the heart blooms wider and wilder.
There is more space to tread.
There is peace.
And I wake up feeling just a little bit lighter.