after the kids are gone to school i heat up the rest of yesterdays coffee in my chemex over a low flame. when it is warm, i add a spoonful of honey, a dab of ghee, and my extra creamy oat milk. i lean over the mug and take a sip. i become of aware of this wondering, “my awakening is not sterile.” the flavors of the coffee dance in my mouth. i feel my breath filling my body. my bare feet pressing into my hardwood floors. my awakening is not sterile, it is the opposite actually - an exquisite leaning into the vast waves of sensations of life. a practice of learning how much i can feel, how loose my grip on controlling and judging my feeling can be.
yesterday in a luminary session i invited my client to deepen into her practice by moving beyond the initial layers, that felt softer to resolve and into the depths of asking “where does it truly hurt?” this is one question that can guide us in peeling back the layers of protection to find the pockets of emotion, of memory, of frequency - we have tucked away. our tucking away was for good reason at the time it happened, we didn’t have the tools or support we needed, we felt a real fear that we could not withstand the pain of it. this fear lingers, sometimes for generations, encapsulating the seeds of pain that create ripples in our day to day life - in how we experience the now. these are our patterns. gentle inquiries like, “can you show me where it hurts? i am interested to hold space for your real suffering?” can lead us to the places where we might unstick our patterning and experience a different being state.
when we discover our awake awareness, open hearted awareness, or true self, the being state that is innately soft and compassionate, that is vast enough to hold any suffering, we learn what connection we can bring to the parts of us that are hurting, the parts that are afraid. our ability to turn towards these suffering states sets us free from having to avoid or abandon certain parts of ourselves. we become more and more open to what arises. our non-attachment isn’t cold or unfeeling, it is deeply feeling with any judgement of what the feelings, or sensations, are. our awakening isn’t sterile, it is a leaning into the many and beautiful waves of living this life.
the other night at my new moon circle we celebrated the year anniversary of our commitment to each other. this circle of women has gathered as close to every new moon as we can and held a simple space. we answer “how do you really feel?” or “what is on your heart?” and we listen without fixing, resolving, or needing to make better.
i sat that night and shared candidly that the deeper i go into my practices, the more profound my shift in my being and sense of reality feels. i continue to discover this immense freedom and joy. and also, i feel old fears rising up. where does it truly hurt? i am afraid to be different. i feel alienated. i feel other. i feel alone. i grab onto to some sense of identity that keeps me “here.” i said to these moon women, “i still have this part of me that so badly wants to be normal.”
there the confession sat, in the warm space of the circle. my scared parts with me, my own heart beating. none of the women gathered making me feel right or wrong at all. i took a breath. practice. breathing into my deep belly. breathe, breathe, soften, breathe. breathe into the space of the deep belly. feel the space. breathe, let the space expand. breathe, let the space grow and grow - even larger than my body. breathe myself into the space. practice.
i feel her still, this part of me so afraid to keep going into realization. afraid to let go of the rules and constructs. the part that believes she wants to “be like everyone else.” i hold a tender space for her today. i will make time to turn towards her in my own practice, i will bring her to the places where i am supported, guided, and helped by others.
here is what we do, we turn towards. how? this is experiential. we discover our ways through practice, alone and in the space held by others who practice. with someone who you trust. someone who can hold up the lantern when the light goes a little dim - who will gently invite you, “maybe this is the way.”
i am eternally grateful to the teachers and guides who have done, and continue to do this for me. and i am indescribably touched to have the opportunity to hold such space for others.
perhaps you are also exploring…
where does it truly hurt?
what spaces do you have available to explore this with your self? with support?
if you don’t have one already, can you allow yourself locate and work with a resonant teacher or guide?
we are not here alone.
if you are looking for more recommendations for supportive texts, practices, teachers, etc. please let me know. i would be happy to share some of my favorites with you.