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Where pain meets peace

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

There is no other time then now.

It seems as if, in order for me to be allowed to sit still and just be, do nothing, enjoy the world’s tiniest little pleasures, breath and pray, feel loved and taken care off; there’s a need for some kind of calamity. It’s as if there’s an internal agreement (of which I was unaware of its making): “she can only find peace after she suffers.”

I’m wondering why that is. Why I can’t simply allow myself to fall silent without any sort of drama or fuss preceding it? I wouldn’t call myself a drama queen, rather the opposite, I’m the one who’s seemingly fine with everything. But in some strange way I do seem to need the drama first in order to allow myself the peace after.

Exactly because there mostly is some kind of drama involved, I almost feel like I'm not allowed to enjoy my little island of peace and quiet. Luckily that’s the old me. The one living by rigid rules, needing to be little miss perfect, not being allowed to feel the sweet comfort of simply being, resting, unwinding.

I’m starting to grasp the necessity of regularly and without the prerequisite of drama, allowing myself to enter this state of -for lack of a better term- coachpotatoness. That’s probably not even a real term, but I vote for it to become one. A state of total unproductiveness. Not that nothing productive could come out of it, I am after all writing this article from under the blanket in the coach. But the productiveness isn’t demanded nor expected. That’s the thing. I’m free to do nothing or to do something and both, from my current state are equal.

True freedom. No one expects anything from me right now, and so whatever comes is fine. And so I guess that’s where my sense of peace comes from. I guess that’s a bit similar to people suffering from social anxiety who start to live at night, because everyone else is asleep and so nothing is required of them. I get it. It serves a very sweet -with a dash of salt- kind of relief.

When being someone who is naturally overly concerned with or for others, there’s only peace to be found when either their asleep or something happens. Something big enough for others to naturally feel like they shouldn’t expect anything from me right now. If anything they offer their comfort and service to me. It’s a compleet turning of the table for a -professional and private- caretaker. A strange chaotic relief.

I do however need to watch out for the ravin at the other side of the road: not feeling my pain, covering it up, pretending to be fine and only wanting to enjoy my peace and quiet when I’m actually in despair. Angry. Sad. Appouled. Disappointed. Asking why? Searching for explanations. Not finding any of them satisfactory. Not finding any of them covering the true impact of what’s just happened. I was living in one reality and all of a sudden it shifted into another. There’s no way back. The road is too slim, ravins at both sides, the only way is forward, further into the abyss.

I have nowhere else to go but to be here, now, in this space and this time of my life. In the coach, in peace though accompanied by my raw pain. Unclear whether it’s the physical or emotional pain who’s worse. Apparently our brain processes it all in one place and so maybe the distinction between both is an illusion. I’ve seen enough examples of physical pain coming out in psychological complaints and vice versa.

And so maybe the biggest question is this: can I allow myself to feel into all of it? To truly feel my pain. Even accept my natural resistance towards it. Breath with it. And when the clouds do dissolve - even if just for a quiet minute - enjoy the vast blue sky beyond. Feeling the relief that also in the midst of grief, in the confrontation with a lost desired reality, this is not the end-station. This too shall pass. Infinite possibilities ahead are yet to manifest themselves.

And since there won’t be any other time in my life that will be exactly like this, and there haven’t been any of them before, why wouldn’t it deserve my full awareness?

I’m full of questions to which no answers exist, to which no single person can give me full comfort nor relief, but myself. By letting go of the need for an explanation. Not everything needs to be understood in a mental way. The most impactful events within our lives won’t allow us to rationalize them, to simplify them like that. To divert us from the pain through ‘explaining it away’.

The only truth here is my direct experience. I’m feeling tired and soar. Both my mind, body and spirit are tired and soar. I want it to be over. Yet some part of me refuses to let go, it refuses to accept this -old/new- reality. Where there’s no baby to come, where my body let me down, where I’m not a part of the mom’s club nor do I have any certainty that I ever will be.

The only thing I want right now is to know it will come. To have that certainty that it will happen. A part of me trusts that it will, if only -paradoxically- I fully come to terms with where and who I am, right now. If only I’m willing to meet the person sitting with me in this coach. If only I uncover all those layers, all those masks she’s wearing and look her straight in the eyes.

And know her.

And trust her.

And trust that whatever comes her way she will know how to handle it.

She doesn’t even need that one specific outcome because she can handle any outcome. She can let her peace of mind become fireproof. No more need for drama, nor need for any outside prerequisite. The only thing she needs is to see herself for who she is and find peace within that encounter.

In Dutch we would translate ‘encounter’ with ‘ontmoeting’, which actually could be literally translated as ‘un-musting’. Which is interesting because that’s what it’s about. Not having to be anyone other than yourself. Allowing for all those false selves, all those conditions we’ve set in order to be worthy of love, to see that they are false.

To see that love has no prerequisites.

It just is.

It’s ‘unmusting’ to be anyone else, to be like any other, to need any other reality than your current.

-Tat Twam Asi

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