Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kindness Counts

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

Sometimes I get so bogged down in my own mundanities that I begin to think I've got a pretty hard row to how, but then I'm given the gift of being allowed to be present in another person's life. It unskews my perception.

This happens a lot with my clients. As I work with their bodies, listening to their cells and their words, it's possible to step into a realm of reverence. Holy pain. Without any lack of compassion or blindness to the reality of physical dysfunction, I can say that pain truly is a door to the underworld of self-knowledge. When people attend to their pain, they begin to walk the strange paths of mysticism, in whatever form arises from their depths.

This is something I'm working on in my life, trying to be awake and mindful (at least momentarily) in all situations. When I start telling myself the painful story of how I'm "starving", I stop and ask myself if that's true. If it's not true, why do I think it's true? What does "starving" mean to me, and what has such power over me that my head begins to spin and I feel faint and only a chocolate chip muffin (or six) has the power to save me? It's actually pain of some variety. Heart pain.

What is that feeling of exclusion and the searing pain of rejection I can inflict on myself through a perceived slight from a near-stranger? Heart pain. When I'm can't sleep for wheezing some nights, but other nights I'm breathing easy, and nothing in my physical environment has had a significant change, what grief am I holding in my lungs, what clouds of pain obscure my heart's sight?

And what do I really want from life, so much that I'm willing to ride even pain to get there?

But Lord, it's such hard work sometimes. It's hard when it's just a continual harnessing of the wayward mind. Harder when it's intractable physical or emotional pain that you can't expect to dissipate anytime soon. Burns. Ruptured discs. Death. Pain is not a comfortable traveling companion.

It's not easy, but we're up to it. We are truly so tough, and so fragile. We deserve respect, and we deserve recognition of our pain. We deserve kindness. We need to give this to ourselves, and give this to each other.

Life can be difficult. Sometimes we are fighting a hard battle. Kindness is a balm, and should be applied liberally. There is no shortage, no rationing - it can be given with an open hand.


gfid said...

What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving, 
or being loved.

I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey

to find its source,
and how the moon wept

without her lover’s
 warm gaze.

We weep when light does not reach our hearts.
We wither 
like fields if someone close

does not rain



Meister Eckhardt

Madcap said...

Eckhardt is someone I keep meaning to read up on... in my spare time. He's referred to by so many other authors I enjoy.

Woman Laughing said...

Oh, wow, truly stunning words ... I need to read this again to take it all in.