My First Bad Review (and what I did about it)
Last month I wrote about Embracing 2016, no matter what.
I talked about contrast and how I felt it was necessary for the full experience of life.
I went as far as saying we actually need the bad times more than we care to admit.
Because seriously, how can we fully appreciate love without knowing, firsthand, the opposite feeling of rejection and hurt?
This idea was not well received.
One reader wrote this:
“I'm sorry, but I don't need to go through SHIT to find happiness or the true meaning of love, thank you.”
Not exactly a hard hook to the chin, but still.
Because she’s absolutely right.
We don’t need to go through shit to find happiness or the true meaning of love.
Just ask my new baby niece, who came to this planet filled-to-the-brim with unbridled joy.
She IS love.
She doesn’t need to be mired in hardship to know that.
And I’d do anything to keep it this way.
Except . . . I can’t.
In the three short months that she’s been here, she’s already experienced tummy cramps, hunger pangs, discomfort and fear.
It can be jolting down here on planet Earth but thankfully, Claire's surrounded by an enormous circle of love.
Her parents (and grandparents and great-grandparents) are completely smitten with her.
So are her aunts and uncles, cousins, and close family friends.
Yet none of us can protect her from all the bumps and bruises that are sure to come.
This is a very good thing.
Because sweet baby Claire came to the physical plane for the HUMAN experience.
And after reading (and listening to) numerous tales from people who have died and come back to tell their stories, I’ve come to an interesting conclusion:
The human experience is special BECAUSE it includes pain.
Here on planet earth there’s a duality that does not exist on the other side of the veil.
In the nonphysical realm, there’s only unconditional love and oneness.
(Or so I’ve been told.)
Earth is the place to go if you want to inhabit a separate body and engage in an adventure of choice and free-will.
This little blue orb is one of the only places where we can sample a colourful smorgasbord of contrasts—hot and cold, bitter and sweet, light and dark, good and bad, wanted and unwanted.
Variety is the main attraction and from what I've learned, it's essential for growth and our own spiritual evolution.
Which means there’s value in painful experiences.
This is where I tend to get into trouble.
Because (as the aforementioned reader asked me in her post) would I say this to a friend who just lost her child to cancer?
“Oh honey, this is such a great experience! It will help you grow in ways you could never imagine.”
No. Of course I wouldn’t.
I would wrap my arms around her and hold her while she fell apart.
I would bring food to her house. I would run errands. I would get down on my hands and knees and scrub the entire house with unconditional love and compassion.
But mostly—more importantly—I would create a safe place where she could fully explore her loss without judgment.
Grief is sacred, my love.
Karla McLaren calls it the deep river of the soul.
And there’s no dipping your toes into the water.
Grief is a total immersion, meant to cleanse and heal you.
Unfortunately, most of us in western society are uncomfortable with this. We try to pull people out of those ritualistic waters, offering pep talks (or medication) in an attempt to keep them (or ourselves) from any discomfort.
What a terrible mistake.
Pain needs to be felt in order to flow out of the body.
When life pulls someone we love into this holy river, it's our job to stand on the shore as a point of light for them, while the water washes them clean.
It's our responsibility to hold their place until they're ready to step back onto land.
Because, at some point, (and the time varies for everyone) we’re meant to step back onto land!
PAIN MAY BE VALUABLE, BUT THERE'S NO VALUE TO STAYING IN PAIN.
We’re not meant to suffer!
Suffering comes from the stories we tell about our pain and it’s a terrible, terrible place to be.
Dirty pain can swallow your soul, keeping you from moving through the grieving experience and onward to joy
Joy is our birthright.
Claire instinctively knows this.
When things don't go her way, she feels the full force of frustration and lets everyone in the entire household know it.
But she never stays there for long. The moment passes and then she's right back to curiosity and laughter.
What a wonderful reminder to be an authentic participant in the fullness of life!
And the fullness of life, my friend, includes a few bad reviews.
So when you find yourself facing the sting of criticism, it may help to try what I did.
I acknowledged my feelings by FEELING them.
I took several deep breaths.
I opened myself to a larger conversation.
I responded to the woman with gratitude (and she responded back with kindness)
That exchange helped me gain a level of clarity I couldn't have reached without it.
It also helped me grow into my big-girl-pants.
Because, as much as I fantasize about living in a perfect world (where everyone agrees with, and understands me) deep down I know I didn't come here for that.
I came for the contrast!
If I'd wanted to feel bliss and joy all the time, why not just stay in heaven?
Sending you so much love,—