Sunday, March 28, 2010

Claiming What is Broken

Aren't we all broken in some way? Even the smallest things we do on a day to day basis that don't fit with who we think we are. No one thinks that they are perfect...right? We've all drifted off into our own headspace when we were supposed to be listening to our spouse, or left dirty dishes in the sink for too long, or muttered something under our breath while waiting in line or when a driver cuts us off on the interstate. We are flawed as human beings, but does this mean we are broken?
Another universal human experience, aside from our lack of perfection, is our capacity to feel emotional pain. Most of us manage to feel it to a point, and then our bodies and brains kick into survival mode. We turn away from what is broken in ourselves: our hearts, little bits of our souls we thought we knew, our minds and our bodies. The pain is too much for us to bear, so we deny its existence in our lives and choose to anaesthetize ourselves. We choose TV, food, arguments we made up to distract ourselves, alcohol, shopping, and anything we can find to comfort ourselves. All of this is done to fill a void; there is an emptiness within where our emotions could dwell if we claimed them.
When we choose to ignore our feelings, like an uninvited guest who's stayed too long in our house, we are constantly reaching out to find something to dam up the flow of our true emotions. What if we let ourselves feel them all? Would we die? Would we be carted away in a straitjacket? Would we end up wandering the streets and sleeping in dark alleyways? Could we choose to simply acknowledge what is broken, maybe even to let ourselves howl and scream if we need to, and survive?
There is a certain level of distrust in ourselves if we can't allow ourselves to view and experience the tidal shifts in emotion in our lives. Does this diminish the capacity for things such as joy, love, or peace? Sometimes the pain is so great we mentally pack our baggage into a neat mental U-Haul and decide to put it into storage and move away. Far away. Yet every month we are paying on that storage unit. It may be a thousand miles away, but somewhere in the musty depths, there are things we care about that we'd hate to lose. So we pay and we pay. It may not seem like much, but there is some level of energy extended to that discarded baggage, and it takes its toll in nickels and dimes. It adds up.
So the next time I am feeling angry, or there is a hurt which makes my chest and throat feel like they are going to explode, I am going to claim it in all of its broken stinking humanity. I am going to let the wave crash over me and feel the earth disintegrating under my feet. Because there is more space hollowed out after this marriage of what is broken with "real life." With the mundane. There is room for a force greater than me to move in and expand. The reward of this is a low tide, a period of calm where I can wade out farther than I ever imagined, until I can just barely see the shore.

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