No one is free from the reality of life…This quote from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Caroline Myss, struck me as a truth when my ex husband, our 8 year old son and I gathered together to say goodbye to our beloved friend and companion, Maggie, as she sighed her last breath.
The cries of our son broke my heart. Death, however, is a part of life and we took him out of school so that he could say goodbye to his animal friend. As a parent you want to shelter your child from such pain, but we knew not being able to say goodbye would have hurt him more. I was struck by his bravery and acceptance as he saw Maggie’s x-rays, gave her treats, hugged and petted her, smiled as we took “family” pictures, was there for the injection and then gently removed her collar after she was gone. He was adamant about staying with her through the entire process. He was also able to express his pain and be in that current reality with compassion and grace instead of turning his head to hide from it – a precious gift of love and acknowledgment to Maggie in her last moments.
This made me think about how often we turn our heads from the painful realities of life..how afraid we are to feel heartbreak. Do you look away when you are at a stop light next to a homeless person asking for money? Do you change the subject when a friend needs to share their difficult time because you don’t know what to say or it makes you feel uncomfortable? Do you avoid negative TV or reading articles about unpleasant situations such as teen sex trafficking, bullying, joblessness or the rising number of foreclosures? Or do you judge those who may be in such circumstances? These are the realities of life that we ALL face together as a world and nation. Denying, avoiding and judging difficult subjects or circumstances just because they don’t exist in our immediate environment or because they make us uncomfortable disconnects us from each other and robs us all of the opportunity to experience genuine compassion for and connection to those who need our help.
It’s time we make room for open discussions about the challenges that we are facing together so that we can offer each other support and help find solutions. So often, I listen to people preach the law of attraction as if thinking a negative thought is going to manifest some horrible situation. I was actually corrected one day at breakfast with friends when I said the word “can’t” as if I had uttered some curse which would send hellfire and damnation to our table. There is a difference between marinating in harsh realities and acknowledging them. Reality needs to be acknowledged before we can even begin to make a change. Otherwise, it just gets buried deeper to burst forth with greater strength to be dealt with at another time.
We are under the impression that we can control everything with our minds (our ego) and forget that something bigger and out of our control is at play here too (our soul). If the law of attraction worked as “advertised”, then we wouldn’t be in one of the worst economic times in our history now would we? I’ve seen so many posts on Facebook with quotes encouraging people to stay away from negativity or otherwise you may be dragged down by it. I understand this thinking from a practical point of view in certain circumstances, but, who is to go down in the muck to help those that need it if we’re taught to be afraid of negativity? Being able to come from a place of compassion and understanding, not judgement or fear, can be your “protection”. This requires an open heart.
I’m not encouraging you to dwell in negativity, but do I encourage each one of you to open yourself to a little heartbreak from time to time. Don’t look away from the homeless person on the street. Listen openly and without judgment to someone who needs to share their life challenges. Cry the tears that may come as a result. Think about what truly breaks your heart. It is through this channel that we find connection to and compassion towards one another. It can also be a catalyst to inspire you to share your gifts of service thereby producing wonderful, positive changes in our communities and the world.