I was feeling pretty good about that and then a friend asked me advice about buying hats for a friend of hers who is now bare-headed from chemo. I checked out some web-sites and found myself recoiling from the hats I had once worn, so it is a back and forth and in it all is a place to continue growing and expanding my own heart to contain all of this and more.
Pema Chodrun has an article in the May 2007 Shambhala Sun. I quote from it by plunging into the middle, knowing you will catch up.
"And what's especially encouraging is the view that inner strength is available to us at just the moment when we think we've hit the bottom, when things are at their worst. Instead of asking ourselves, "How can I find security and happiness?" we could ask ourselves, "Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace - disappointment in all its many forms - and let it open me?" This is the trick."
She continues on and then says this.
"When we're putting up the barriers and the sense of "me" as separate from "you" gets stronger, right there in the midst of difficulty and pain, the whole thing could turn around simply by not erecting barriers; simply by staying open to the difficulty, to the feelings that you're going through; simply by not talking to ourselves about what's happening. That is a revolutionary step. Becoming intimate with pain is the key to changing at the core of our being - staying open to everything we experience, letting the sharpness of difficult times pierce us to the heart, letting these times open us, humble us, and make us wiser and more brave.
Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away."
She makes it sound so simple and we know, as does she, it is a life-long practice and there are tools. May we each find the tools that ease our way and allow us to stay with pain until there is no more. Expand and open as you look within to open and clear your core.
Remember, also, that "spaciousness includes pain."