I recently had a realization about life. I don’t want to seem to be a downer, though, so I will tread lightly here. My epiphany: My hardships aren’t strange anomalies that will suddenly change into rainbows. My hardships are part of life. Illness, death, change, depression, anxiety, loss — these are all part of life.  And my sense of Truth right now tells me that these won’t go away, nor should they necessarily. See, you all think I’m dragging myself down, don’t you?

Actually, I am finding this realization freeing. I came to this feeling when a friend remarked that since my dad’s death in 2008, so much change and loss and hardship has occurred.  A few weeks ago, my friend was visiting with me and sweet Mountie, who was not doing so well.  She was feeling my pain about my sick kitty and exuding compassion when she said, “You need a break!”  While a break would be nice, I realize that all of the pain and losses I have experienced in the last four years — okay, eleven years…wait, my whole life — are part of a continuum and the best thing I can do is meet all of it with grace. 

Grace is my new power word this year. How do I meet loss gracefully? Loss will not go away. Loss is part of what we all experience.  So how do I (how do we) deal with our hardships without breaking apart?  Or maybe, for some, the question is how do we put ourselves back together after being broken apart?

We take our time. We approach ourselves gently. We pick up the pieces as if they are delicate artifacts in need a soft dusting. We forgive others. We forgive ourselves. We cry. We scream. We laugh. We step outside of ourselves and connect with others on this planet. We trust another day will come. We walk. We drink tea. We dance. We breathe. We take one small risk, even if that is to get out of bed. We rest. We realize others suffer more than us. We realize others have suffered less. We realize that ranking suffering isn’t fair, kind, or helpful. We realize that our losses are the most important because they are ours. We forgive others for not understanding or saying the “wrong thing.” We write in our journals. We read books with self-help quotes and poetry that makes us cry. We realize that we are grateful to feel deeply and we love ourselves, snotty nose and all, because life isn’t out to get us. Life just is. So we will just be.

I leave you with a poem by Walt Whitman — a poem which gives my achy heart some comfort. I hope it does for you as well.

Youth, large, lusty, loving-youth full of grace, force, fascination,
Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace,
force, fascination?

Day full-blown and splendid-day of the immense sun, action,
ambition, laughter,
The Night follows close with millions of suns, and sleep and
restoring darkness.

About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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4 Responses to Realization

  1. jillsalahub says:

    In the past year, I’ve had this same realization, and you are so right: it doesn’t mean we’ve given up or given in, but rather we’ve given, and we will again and again and again.

    This word came to me as well, bubbled up in a moment when I was between asleep and awake, and it was right, perfect–just what I needed. We are so vulnerable, but there is such beauty in it.

    This post made me think of this quote from Pema Chodron: “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” But, there’s a Healing Nest, isn’t there 😉 Much, much love to you!

  2. This post isn’t a downer at all – it’s honest. Life isn’t always some exhilarating experience. Sometimes there is pain and sadness, but those moments are what the bright spots that much brighter. Without them we wouldn’t become who we are supposed to be. 🙂

  3. This post is the opposite of downer! Thank you for the reminder that life is happening NOW, with all its messiness, and grace just IS.

  4. kj4hope says:

    an honest realization and a courageous post–very glad you wrote and shared it…our world needs more bare honestly like this…instead of sweeping loss, pain, and so much more under the rug–or expecting people to ‘be over it’ in 3 days. Thank you.

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