Watering the Heart

We are at that age, aren’t we? Seems like every time you turn around, someone else is battling cancer, losing a loved one, or otherwise dealing with serious, life changing challenges.

So this morning I did one of the only things I really feel I can do when confronted with another’s pain — I sat on my meditation cushion and sent healing Reiki energy to two women I know who are particularly struggling right now, one from the pain of cancer treatment and the other having her gallbladder removed after weeks of ill health and uncertainty. And as I sat, focusing on each in turn and offering all of the healing energy I could align myself with, tears spontaneously flowed from my eyes.

They were tears of sadness for the pain I wish no one ever had to suffer, and the paradoxical truth that there is no escape from it in this human life; of joy at the deep ways people find to connect through adversity, as my friend with cancer is experiencing. I had just read endless posts on her Caring Bridge blog with jokes and stories, movie recommendations and suggestions for wig styles and colors, hearing how her husband and grown sons are rallying and finding new depths in their own hearts through this difficult time.

It felt good to cry, to be vulnerable and real and fully present to life exactly as it is. Pain exists — people get sick and spend time in hospitals, which are a blessing and a curse (ever tried getting a good night’s sleep in one?!?!?). The tears were like tenderizer, loosening the soil and helping seeds of compassion and connection grow stronger and more nourished. It reminded me once again that when you allow feelings to move through you, they don’t get stuck and you don’t grow weaker in the process. It’s like the Velveteen Rabbit, who became more real as his fur was rubbed off and his eyes fell out, because he was loved intensely and used fully…and isn’t that the best measure of a life well lived?

How will you water your garden today?