Embracing the Difficult
I'll be away this week celebrating the life of my feisty, vibrant, beloved Grandma Pat.
When I get back we'll be booking another one of my most beloved souls, our old farm dog, Ruby, in for cancer surgery. In our family it has been a year of heart-wrenching loss, especially for my hubby, Jeff. These things always seem to come in waves.
As I sat this morning snuggling with Ruby over my morning coffee I got thinking about the lengths we go to in our modern lives to avoid this kind of pain, to numb ourselves to the darker, more difficult aspects of our emotions and life at large.
We collectively dream of a utopia free of pain and suffering, but I can't help but wonder if in doing so, have we missed the mark completely?
After I'd sat with my girl and my grief and my coffee, I climbed into the sheep pen to say good morning. Usually a sheep or two will come by for a scratch.
Instead, this morning I found myself quietly and calmly surrounded by no less than six ewes and lambs. Each to a one laid their face against my cheeks and head and closed their eyes, breathing their sweet warm breath onto my face and gently nuzzling my hair.
Sheep lack the intelligence of a pig or dog; instead they embody an emotional intelligence and sensitivity I've not seen in other creatures. It makes sense - as herding prey animals, being attuned to the energy of those around them is an evolutionary necessity. Still - it always feels a little like magic.
There is a beauty to be found in the midst of grief and difficulty, but only if we are willing to feel it. To lean into the warmth of the souls around us, surrender to it . . . remember that great joy simply cannot be without great sorrow. If we numb one, we also numb the other.
There is comfort to be found in recognizing that there is a needfulness to all of it. We feel these things, live these difficult times - both collectively and as individuals - for a reason. Attempting to erase, remove or contain it might make us feel better in the moment, but in the long run we lose something essential and unnameable.
"Utopias seem to be much more achievable than we formerly believed them to be. Now we find ourselves presented with another alarming question: how do we prevent utopias from coming into existence? …Utopias are possible. Life tends towards the formation of utopias. Perhaps a new century will begin, a century in which intellectuals and the privileged will dream of ways to eliminate utopias and return to a non-utopic society less "perfect" and more free.”
I'm off to raise a glass and have a hearty laugh among my most favourite humans in celebration of a life well-lived. See you on the other side.