Listening

Sitting in the doctor’s office today waiting on a referral to see a therapist I am reading Mark Nepo’s new book Seven Thousand Ways to Listen.  I put it down.  I hate this feeling of vulnerability, the past colliding after a year with the present.  The holidays aren’t helping, and every moment I feel poked, dug into deeply with sadness.  For someone who is usually pretty happy this feels foreign and almost ridiculous in nature.  The melancholy doesn’t happen all the time, just when I least expect it, when I can’t control the emotions as I clean the bathroom, mop the floors, take the trash out.  As I stop and breathe and continue on the paragraph the words stop me again and I begin to listen attentively:

With each small cry, it feels less a release and more like an irrepressible, unfiltered tenderness at being fully here.  The more of these moments I experience, the less a problem it seems.  For isn’t this what I’ve been after: to be this close to life, to be pricked below the surface of things? Now I wonder: isn’t anything that keeps us this close to life a gift? Now I want to learn the art of puncturing whatever grows in the way in order to feel that moment where everything touches everything else.  I’m coming to see that keeping what is true before us reminds us that there was never a better time than now.”

And, just like that the listening becomes too much for the sanitized and sterile room.  I smell the walls of disease, hurt, brokenness.  I feel the energy from the clinic engulf me.  I stop everything inside and begin to write on my phone:

 

I listen to the silence
shortly overpowered by
thoughts. It stops.
The quietude of nothingness
gets distorted. I stop.
I swallow in the memories
that prickle and pain me.
The chaos of it stops me
from continuing
the serene path of joy.
I pause, not erasing it all
or stopping the forces
but allowing the tears
to trickle gently down…and out.
Each one takes a little suffering
and then it all stops.
I can breathe again. It hurts
no more,
no less,
not anything. I am back to me
with a wet smile on my face
and the honoring and gratitude
from my spirit
that this too shall pass

once and forever

when I stop holding

betrayal– even while forgiving;

self-criticism– even with the lessons;

and grant the gift of unconditional love

for me

for once…

for all.

*************************

Just like that I was able to get through the morning.  It is never easy to admit that things need to be discussed, realigned and released with the help of a professional.  I am great at thinking I’ve dealt with the issues and quickly moving on to the next one.  After a year I realized I’ve just camouflaged them with beautiful ornamental masks.  It is good to finally be proactive and hopefully make amends with the holidays and those who tarnished them.  May you find yourself listening attentively to your inner voice and follow it!

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