Stay in it.
That unsolicited thought stopped me in my tracks. Monday evening found me tired and hungry, 6 hours after the weight of her death created a physical pain in my chest and throat, jabbing me during my busy day of meetings and experiments. I was eagerly eyeing the fresh beer I had poured, thinking that just one finely-crafted IPA would take the edge off and let me fulfill my remaining commitments that night.
But then I heard that voice, the voice that randomly comes to me when I’m biking uphill, lactic acid burning my quads, and when my heart sinks as I wearily process yet another failed experiment. Stay in it. That mantra I repeat when I’m under icy water or discover I have miles to go ’til camp while my blisters scream at me for the 30 pound backpack I’m shouldering.
I took a sip of the beer. It was supremely delicious. I poured it down the drain. I chose to stay in it.
Instead of escaping my pain, I turned towards it. I wrote about my pain. I took a walk and called my best friend to talk about my pain. I decided to go to her funeral, a choice that requires me to lose some sleep, ask favors, and release some commitments. I’ll almost definitely ugly-cry in front of people whose opinions matter to me. I’m choosing to feel it all and to stay in it.
I’m declining the anesthetics of busyness and alcohol in order to fully feel the heaviness, with hope and faith that this process will enable me to feel light again. I’m staying in the arena of my awareness.