Today, I was listening to one of my favorite people on the planet share his life-learned wisdom and music at an interfaith community where I have attended Sunday services since he introduced me to it back in 2001. It is called Circle of Miracles, and my friend's name is Peter Moses. One of the things that makes this kind and generous soul so amazing is that he is a hybrid of sorts. Part kids "edu-tainer" and part philosopher. He is a singer songwriter who works with young 'uns. I have joked with him over the years that his groupies are usually under 4 years old and under 4 feet tall.
This morning, he was speaking about the idea of deepening through loss. A common theme for everyone in the room, since there isn't a person on the planet who hasn't experienced change, sadness or sorrow over something they wanted, but didn't get, or had, but lost. His take is very much a Buddhist perspective: Everything is impermanent and that if we open ourselves to this concept, we can understand that even in the midst of the most painful loss, there can be peace. I know for certain that this is so, since while immersed in anticipating the deaths of loved ones and then the aftermath of their passing, I felt the most profound moments of serenity and then, strangely, a feeling of exhilaration that assured me that they were well wherever they were.
The inevitable dark nights of the soul have been unwelcome companions, and yet some of them have also brought me the most powerful personal breakthroughs. At times, I have resisted them mightily, attempting to take a spiritual bypass, a phrase that was coined by transpersonal psychologist John Welwood. I have upleveled my emotions, raised my vibration, taken a few steps up the energetic ladder, in an effort to keep from looking at the messy stuff of life. I have laughed in the face of death, danced with my gremlins and channeled my "inner Annie" as I sang "The sun'll come out tomorrow."
Is it denial? It sure feels that way at times. And then I ask myself what good it does to focus on what sucks rather than what shines in my life. It only serves if it allows me to heal. Emotional dumpster diving is acceptable to me, since I never know what treasures I might find. I certainly don't want to take up residence there. I have also accepted that when I fight "what is," I miss the bliss. Learning to accept what I can't change, per the Serenity Prayer.
What I share with clients is that we have three choices in terms of how we deal with emotional challenge and change.
1 - We can stay where we are and feel what we are feeling for as long as we do.
2 - We can feel worse by picking at the emotional boo-boo and claiming victimhood.
3 - We can feel better by exploring what lies below the surface of our struggles and then begin the healing process.
And what about duct tape? I have seen a meme that says, "Duct tape is like The Force. It has a light side and a dark side and it holds the Universe together." When we have our own personal roll, we can use it to patch together our torn open places until they can heal of their own accord.