To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.
This is the trick to staying well isn't it: to feel the sun even in the dark. To not lose the truth of things when they are out of view. To grow just the same. To know there is still water, even when we are thirsty. To know there is still love, even when we are lonely. To know there is still peace, even when we are suffering.
None of this invalidates our pain, but only strengthens our way back into the light.
Close your eyes and feel the fact of the sun. It will be there when you can see again.
Inhale deeply through the part of your heart that is closed and feel the fact of love. It will be there when you can feel again.
Breathe slowly through the part of you that doubts and feel the fact of life. It will be there when you can open your spirit, as you did when you were born.
I read this daily reflection from Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening (Red Wheel, 2020), and it slayed me to the core. To-the-damn-core. You know when you hear something that feels like a truth you always knew but couldn't remember, and at the same time it's a punch to the gut? That was this.
It felt like a message written for our world- for our hearts - for this exact moment in history. When our normal has been flipped over night by a stupid little virus we can’t even see. The sun’s been hidden from our view. Suddenly we’re sitting under what feels like the murky darkness of fear, uncertainty , and change. Everything has changed so damn quickly. What was normal yesterday- going to work, sending the kids to school, sitting at a table with friends, even buying damn toilet paper...poof - gone!!
And there it is...there’s the rub. That’s the real angst. The thing under the thing. The root of the tree. The truth that you, me, any of us- can get an eviction notice from our life at any moment. That in reality, we really control none of it. Ouch!
It’s a hard freak'n truth. One I know too well. You might too. It comes in many forms...death, divorce, addiction, a diagnosis, a revealed secret, betrayal, financial loss... The list is long. The impact the same. The life we once knew is gone.
It happens when something out of our control and completely uninvited happens in an instant, and nothing is ever the same again. Our normal is gone. We’re now standing in the wilderness, where nothing is familiar and nothing makes sense. We're having to sort through the debris, figure it all out, and begin again. It’s the hardest scariest place. We never want to admit it can happen to us. But it can, and it does. And it just did.
So here we are, as global citizens and individual humans trying not to lose sight of the sun, the light, and the truth of things we can no longer see in front of us.
There was a time for me when I received an eviction notice so deep and wide that I completely lost the truth of so many things. Things that were wiped from my view. Foundational things - things i’d built a life on. Love- faith- trust- family. It became a street fight to find my way back to them. To be able to feel the sun even while living in the dark. To believe that although the once known and familiar version of these things were gone - a truer, more beautiful version of them existed, even if they were out of view. It took all the courage and tenacity I could find to keep reaching for the truth of what I could not see. To grow my way out of the dark. It was brutal and messy and not a damn bit pretty. But eventually I did it. And I was right. A truer more beautiful version of me was waiting. A version that's been busy building a life that feels more like her own.
Eventually this pandemic will pass - brilliant minds will figure out an immunization and treatments - we will all be okay again. But for now, it's our job not to lose the truth of things out of our view. Things like trust....trust that life is fundamentally good, even when it's hard. Trust in ourselves...that we are kinder, braver, and smarter than we think we are. That we can do hard things. And trust that there is a truer more beautiful version of ourself waiting for us if we refuse to lose sight of her. Even as we are kicking screaming against it all. Even as we are stumbling and struggling. Even as we do it all imperfectly.
Sister - the hard truth is that there are forces outside our control that can evict us from our normal life at any moment. It can all change in a hot second and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. That's the quiet little secret we all live with isn't it? The unspoken universal fear. (Life can change and I can't do a damn thing to stop it.) It's true - but truer yet is that the sun still shines even when it's out of our view. The trick to staying well then, is to see beyond what we feel. Not to deny what we feel, but to trust there is more in spite of what we feel. To "trust the fact of the sun", even in the dark. To remember that it's still there - warm as ever- even though the clouds are blocking it from view.
So gorgeous - let's turn our face toward the sun, let ourselves feel the fact of it, and trust it will be there when we can see it again." And maybe, just maybe, a truer more beautiful version of you and me will be standing there to receive it.