checking in

I’d like to check in, may I have your attention?  It’s been awhile since I’ve felt compelled to share through this medium, but I want to let the thoughts and emotions bouncing around in me to have a place to land.  I am feeling stretched, fingertips reaching wide towards the sharp contrasts of joy and deep grief.  I feel weathered, open, tired, curious, grateful, regretful, raw.  My body is going from being an open channel for highly activated sensations to shut down and hardened, sometimes within seconds of each other.  There have recently been blissful and ecstatic moments, and moments that tear me apart.  Deep connections and penetrating aloneness.  I’ve got a whole bunch of unanswered emails and texts.  I feel a heightened awareness of the parts of me that feel deeply wounded and unlovable, and all the stories that come along with them.  I’m trying to stay present to what is.  I feel like I am in a state of unraveling, a grand coming undone that feels both wildly uncomfortable and buoyant all at once, and I have been fighting the urge to dig my heels in with defiance and resistance. 

It feels as though we are deeply immersed in a season of death, on the personal and collective levels. So much is dying – systems, beliefs, ways of being, bodies, all being laid to rest in the cosmic compost pile. The phrase ‘quality of life’ has been coming up a lot in my world recently, and I wonder what that truly means – for the living and for the dying. Who gets to decide? How flexible and fluid can we be in that assessment from one day to the next? How does a society that is both grief-illiterate and death-phobic learn to die a good death, and do it often?

Humans are such curious creatures, and I fear we too often place ourselves at the center, forgetting the much wider web we exist in.  Social media feels like a parallel universe where memes are myth-beings, and things like kindness, accountability, and critical thinking are in short supply – I feel both addicted to and disenchanted by it all.  A like and a share can too easily become a substitute for community care and human connection, yet it undoubtedly connects us far and wide.  I have been finding myself struggling to be open to views starkly different from my own (sometimes I’m downright judgmental and angry), which feels at odds with my idea of who I am as a person and my capacity to be compassionate and understanding.  I feel like a fraud, like my membership card to the ‘woke folk’ club should be revoked.  I want answers, as we all do, and at times my mind spirals into a state of desperate grasping for them when my body knows they don’t exist, at least not in some static and definitive way.

I don’t know what will happen and where we are all headed, but for now I’m just trying to find a good therapist and some peace of mind, and I’m striving to savor each precious moment while letting the ones that are dripping in grief and pain have their way with me. It feels like a delicate dance, and I’m trying to have the same patience and compassion with myself that would encourage in the people I love. I feel far from my best right now, but I’m trying. These past months have offered deeper insight into what is important to me, and I feel very clear on the kind of life I want to live and what I want to be of service to, but I am struggling to forge the path to get there. Maybe I am having trouble dying a good death myself. I pray for the softness required to slow down, breathe deep, and take each step forward with grace and humility, and for the bravery to dance this life with reckless abandon.

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