I've been talking with a number of people over the past few weeks who seem to be going through some pretty heavy stuff (myself very much included). I was going to try and write some inspirational, spiritual sounding niceties, but honestly, sometimes life is just really fucking hard, and it's hard to make sense of, and all of the "spiritual" teachings and practices in the world just seem to fall short.
Yet the catch-22 is that it's thanks to these teachings and practices that many of us are able to weather life's storms with a bit more semblance of acceptance and compassion towards ourselves and the situation. So what am I trying to say? I really don't know exactly. I guess that pain, hurt, heartbreak and suffering are all terrible experiences to go through and yet, they're part of the deal, part of this human condition. We've all experienced them before in one way or another, and we've made it through, so we know that we have the strength to do it again... even when it seems like we don't.
Today, for the first time ever, I cried in the middle of giving a public talk. It was the most vulnerable moment of my life. I arose this morning having literally not slept a minute last night, my heart breaking in ways I didn't think possible, and all I wanted to do was crawl back under my covers and disappear. But I sat for a moment and felt a deep knowing that I needed to show up to the event today, and not only for others, but for myself as well.
While there, I couldn't fake a smile. I couldn't lie and tell people things were going good. All I could do was show up and offer myself completely, which I did. That is what my heart has been telling me to do for the majority of my life, but it hasn't been until the last several years that I've truly honored that calling. So in my pain and brokenness, I showed up. I let people see that we don't always have to create some facade of happiness and contentment... that it's okay to embrace our humanity, all of it. I didn't do a goddamn thing that was special, so please don't confuse what I'm saying. I just showed the fuck up regardless of how much I didn't want to... and I honored the pain, vulnerably sharing it with others. I "honored my awkwardness" as my friend Lauren said.
I stood there, microphone in hand, and I cried. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it through the talk, but I closed my eyes and brought myself back to conscious breathing and somehow, I was able to finish 45 minutes of doing my best to share a message of hope in the face of adversity. I want to thank every single person who gave me a hug afterwards. Thank you for letting me know you could relate, in one way or another, to my words and pain. Thank you for honoring the fact that life isn't always pretty, and in these dark moments, we can truly be there for one another. As I write this I'm filled with heartbreak, love, gratitude and unbearable sadness, but I'm showing up for all of it, for myself... and for all beings.
We hurt, but we also heal, and like Henry Rollins once said, "Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on." Today, may we all find that strength so that in whatever small way we're able to, we can begin to heal and move on.