…If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
I’d like to share a few quotes that I have found to combine to describe the path that I am on, as I strive to become a love warrior (As on June 18, 2015, Judy’s site is down) or “to connect with the power of our lineage, the lineage of gentle warriorship.” (Chödrön, Start Where You Are, 49)
I have written and talked much about the difficult times I have gone through in the last few years. As I walk the path of recovery and healing, I’ve started to have moments where the pain, the sorrow, the joy, or the love have been almost palpable. When others have talked or written about their difficulties, I found myself more and more identifying with those feelings, almost everywhere I turn.
Sensitive to the Undercurrent of What Was Going on in Every Moment
Tina Francis writes a weekly feature in the online SheLoves Magazine. This week she wrote about become honest with yourself and the big leap and risk that often is. As she describes the process of coming to admit that she really is a photographer instead of just “likes to take pictures”, Tina recounts coming to a place in her life of great sensitivity after a difficult break-up:
..I remember the year well because it marked one year since “The-epic-breakup-of-2007″ that crushed my soul. The first and only boy I ever loved, broke my heart.
I was committed to “the pain,” a.k.a. the grieving process. I think I confused it with a part-time job. I could have paid off a killer house in the Hamptons, if there were an hourly wage for sobbing uncontrollably into bath towels.
George Bernard Shaw says, “When your heart is broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace.” In that place where nothing matters, the end of my happiness if you will, something fascinating happened. I let go. In that place where I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, I saw a glimmer of God’s peace.
What does my breakup have to do with taking pictures you ask? Everything.
When the thick fog of heartache finally lifted, I had a new set of eyes. I went into the world like Bambi, unsteady and awestruck by the beauty that surrounded me.
I didn’t see the obvious, I saw the subtext.\ I didn’t see milestones, I saw epic stories of sacrifice.\ I didn’t see people, I saw energy, joy and love.
I suddenly had a superpower, “Emotional X-ray Vision” which allowed me to be sensitive to the undercurrent of what was going on in every moment.
(As of June 18, 2015, the above article doesn’t exist, unforunately.)
This beautiful passage (I hope you don’t mind me quoting this much Teen), connected with me at a very deep level. I think I’m still traveling through that place she describes as the end of happiness, but I feel that I have seen glimpses of those moments of being sensitive to the undercurrent. I feel, and I must express.
A Stepping Stone for Working With The World
Then, yesterday I was reading something that jumped out as describing what Tina went through (perhaps subconsciously) through her grieving process. Pema Chödrön, a wonderful, humble Buddhist teacher, wrote:
This approach is very different from practicing affirmations, which has been a popular thing in some circles. Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not. That’s a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it’s passing memory, and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. It’s not just one way. We are walking, talking paradoxes.
I think Tina went through this as she let go as she described, as she was committed to the grieving process. In the end, it leads to something that Ani Pema later writes:
The main thing is to really get in touch with fixation and the power of klesha [pain] activity in yourself. This makes other people’s situations completely accessible and real to you. Then, when it becomes real and vivid, always remember to extend it out. Let your own experience be a stepping stone for working with the world.
Let your own experience be a stepping stone for working with the world. The experience that Tina went through all the sudden made her sensitive to all around her and all that she was in. As I said before, I have a glimpse of this, and I think this idea and practice is the heart of the path that I am on.
Be Heart Well
Sometimes it takes a broken heart (and not necessarily the “he/she broke my heart” type, but any of the pain and sorrows and grief that comes through life) to prepare you for these things. It is only in the cracks, fissures, and deep crevasses of a heart that has been broken that there becomes room and openness enough to contain the love that the world needs. As I walk my path, as I learn to become honest with myself, I wish to have the pain and sorrow and loss I’ve been through be my guide in being a heart-warrior. Say my full name — (Travis B. Hartwell which sounds like Travis, Be Heart Well — and this is what I am meant to do and be.