Gratitude, Joy, Oneness, Service, Purpose and Meaning (Day 1048 – Day 1063)
Several weeks ago I asked my friends on Facebook to give me a one word topic for a post on gratitude. I had 36 replies and I have worked in a few of the comical ones into my gratitude posts on Facebook, itself. In my last post, I worked in MonicaS’s suggestion of ‘self forgiveness’. Today, I’ll use JohnE’s suggestion of ‘build‘ as the foundation of this post (see what I did there?)
Of course, for John, who is building his dream house with his bride on Vancouver Island, the word conjures up certain things. It may conjure up the idea of dreams fulfilled along with the frustrations of overruns and delays and, in his case, probably the idea of love and new beginnings. I don’t know what associations he makes with the word ‘build’ but I think that we all can associate those concepts with our own lives in different ways.
This morning I listened to a clip from UK Channel 4 from a Google Executive who had to rebuild his life following the sudden death of his child. His message made me think of the idea of building. He said the first step is to realistically assess the situation and be grateful for what we have. And in assessing the situation, we must determine what there is we can do about mitigating what has been lost. If there is nothing we can do, we must accept the situation and move on with building a life that is a little bit better than the day before.
On the spiritual path, there is a motif of destruction before creation. We don’t have to be grateful to the person driving the car that kills our child. We don’t have to be grateful to the renegade builder that runs off with our deposit. We don’t have to be grateful to the lover who humiliated us. We don’t have to be grateful to them at all. But we can be grateful for the opportunity to build again. Day by day, we just have to keep building.
To build, we need a foundation, and to get to the foundation, we have to clear out any rubble on the terrain. If one is building a house, one must honestly survey the terrain and adjust to the landscape. The land must be cleared of any old structures, and any contamination before it is ready for a new foundation on which to build.
A bomb went off in my life and my relationship just before Christmas. Like much of the population of London in world war II, I have been in shock but I kept calm and carried on. I made it to work and kept on going, but emotionally, I was buried alive, unable to feel anything but shock, denial and anger. I have been trying to heal a broken heart but what I had not seen until the past few weeks was that heartbreak was made complex and sticky by the quicksand of humiliation. These are very different emotional structures. I’ve been going in circles and every time I tried to build, I ended up further in a sink hole.
In my last post, I looked at how I had participated in covering myself in layer upon layer of blame after being humiliated. In the past few weeks, I have begun to unearth myself from the rubble and return – with compassion – a wheelbarrow of this mountain of rubble to its owner. Only now can I begin to really clear the land to make way for a foundation on which to build.
Clearing has restored my access to the full range of emotions. This past weekend, I had the joy of the laughter of abandon with my friend JK, in San Francisco. I am grateful for her gift of humour. I am also grateful for my tears. By removing the sackcloth and ashes, I am free to let go of the pain.
I am grateful to my friends who have given me the topics for posts around which I can organize my foggy, shocked and shattered mind. Without some organizing thought, I would not be able to return here (albeit less frequently than I have done, in the past) and exhibit gratitude as my service to my readers.
In building our emotional intelligence, we aim to develop emotional empathy, where we can put ourselves into another person’s emotional shoes and feel their joys and sorrows just as they do. A stepping stone to that is cognitive empathy where we understand why another person feels the way they do, even if we don’t have the capacity to feel their feelings along with them. Perhaps Oneness and connection can be seen in this same light.
Even though I must still write from the perspective of my personal journey, a single word like ‘build’ has helped me to find some meaning in what may seem so overwhelming. And, taking a word that means one thing to John, another to the Google Exec and another to me, there is a connection that is built between the three of us.
Despite these connections that I am making, I am still not currently fulfilling my purpose.
I have hardly been writing in 2017 but much of the inner work has been at a soul level and beyond verbal. I have found a new way to express whatever is going on.
As I was recovering from surgery in mid-March, I began painting from my imagination and with very little idea of where the piece was going.
What has emerged is a visionary, intuitive art.
Perhaps painting will remain a part of my purpose.
Perhaps it is simply something that is needed to heal a non verbal and soulful connection that has been damaged. Whatever is happening, it feels profoundly meaningful and constructive.
Each piece seems to have something in common with the next. To my eye, it is all beautiful, it is all engaging, and it is full of depth and love and light.
And, each piece seems to build upon the last one and I trust where it is leading.
In December, I was left feeling unattractive, unloved and humiliated. My paintings have allowed me to see depth, love, beauty and light. If I can see it, and it comes from within me, then I must be made of those things.
It is what we are all made of, if we have the eyes to see it.
We all have to build and re-build our lives many times over.
I hope that JohnE fulfills his dream with his house build. I hope that the Google Exec continues to build a life that is better than the day before. And I hope that I continue to build upon this love and beauty that is being expressed in my painting; it is upon this foundation of soulful awareness that I choose, again, to build my life.