I went out on a limb and extended an olive branch to an important person whom I use to be close to but am not anymore. We have had a cordial relationship with no bumps as of the last two years or so. The olive branch was denied and I wasn't expecting the devastation. It felt like a huge rejection and I have had many ugly cries to accept the situation as I have had to for many years now. I extended the branch on the spur of the moment for a couple of reasons, specifically as we had experienced a positive encounter last year and I thought, let's try it again. Let's make it an annual event! What was different at this time was although it felt so personal, I KNEW this time had to do more with this persons's situation than any past problems we had encountered. Although it felt like this was entirely about me, it is not AND I can see that. It doesn't make the pain any less but my understanding is clearer to help with moving forward and what action or non-action to take.
This past week, my seven year old daughter Riley went for her first pottery lesson with a person who lives down our street. The teacher used pottery lingo which I am not familiar with at all, but she said that Riley did a great job with centering (holding the forming clay as it is spinning). And that was great because it....wait for it.....it takes a lot of pressure to become centered.
What did she just say? Pottery lingo has now been interjected into my oh so personal journey of wellness!! Wow. It does take a lot of pressure to become centered. And when you are in the midst of accepting the pressure and pain, an analogy with pottery just makes so much sense. It was a most unusual experience for me to hear her say these words. It was like time stopped, and as she started describing, I knew what she was going to say was going to make complete and utter sense. The words just leapt out at me and I was rising to meet them, they melded over my body into my consciousness. It was like coming home. My new home.
Along those lines, I was reading an older blog of Geneen Roth's this morning, and she quotes the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who survived the Nazi concentration camps as he said “what is to give light must endure burning." I understand the fire, the pressure, the pain so much more clearly now. I had fire and pressure and pain before but now I know not to deflect it or avoid as my defense mechanisms kick in, it but to take it, whether I have to get up off the ground and stand back up again and again but to take it and accept it. AND I have experienced glimmers of the light. My mechanisms for coping are so much stronger than before. And this is the kicker, the pain, the fire will keep coming. I use to think oh, I made it through this, I made it through that, nothing else "bad" can happen. It will and it does. That is not pessimism but the reality of life. I see the joy all around me, but it is intermixed with the pain. One of my favorite movie lines is from "Steel Magnolias." (Do you see how I quoted Victor Frankl and now I will put a Dolly Parton movie quote in the SAME paragraph?? ) After an immense cathartic meltdown at the funeral of her daughter and then laughter occurs, Sally Fields character is eventually told by Dolly Parton's character, "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." It struck me back then, and it strikes me now, so bittersweet, and so true for me too.