…….I walked into a room on a Sunday morning to listen to a talk. I ‘met’ the words on the screen with a ‘knowing’. A name, a beautiful face, a tender passionate woman stood in my mind’s eye and I KNEW this was for her. For me to share this with her. For me to BE this with her.
I took the photograph.
This courageous woman often suffered from my inability to “hear” her. You see, she was with me during the final stages of active (very active) alcoholism. She was a witness, an innocent bystander, as I crashed into a deep dark bottom. That’s not entirely true. She was much more than an innocent bystander. She was in harm’s way and was impacted along the path of my descent.
She also walked with me through the early days, weeks, months…3 1/2 years of early sobriety. NEVER pretty and there is seldom sustained periods of sanity, let alone maturity. Imagine living with a not-getting-his-way 10yr old…almost EVERYDAY. Cuz he showed up almost every day.
I am stung by memories of hearing her say “Greg, you are doing damage.” When we would try ‘talking’, I often imploded from the weight of accumulated shame; years of it…a lifetime of it. “Greg, I don’t feel heard. Why can’t you open your heart & listen? I need you to hear me.”
Two reactions and only two seemed available. ‘Go dark’ and run away or explode into angry bullying rage. Both brutal. Whew, it hurts to remember! It hurts yes, and then I hear Rumi “flies collect on a wound. These flies of self-protecting feelings. Wave away the flies. Put a plaster on the wound. DON’T TURN YOUR HEAD. Keep looking. The wound is where the LIGHT ENTERS YOU.”
I sent a text with the photograph.
I had cleared so much. I had been waving the flies away. I refuse to look away from the wound. Light entered. For the last 2 years, light has been entering.
But still, how could I sit with this precious one and be a ‘listening’? Especially since it would require another deep look into MY wound. This look though would come through the eyes of someone who had suffered from that wound.
We agreed to sit with one another and gaze together. As she shared, my heart opened, I opened and love was in the room with us. It stayed in the room. It remained within me and it poured from her. No compulsion to run, no rage, no defense. What had been impossible became possible. I was fully present and truly listening. Great healing began to occur that day. April 1st.
What I later discovered to my joy and amazement is that she had been looking deeply into her own wound, refusing to turn away. While she uses different vocabulary to describe her soul’s journey the metaphor of gazing into the wound fits almost perfectly and I trust she is ok with me taking the liberty.
Will we choose to reconvene and “look…keep looking…and not turn away…is there more light to be shared”? I hope so.
Every day that I am willing to look – every time I refuse to turn away from the wound, light enters. The wound is exactly the place where the light enters me.
Will you sit – with yourself first – can you muster the courage to sit with your wound and LOOK. It’s where YOUR light will enter. Don’t turn your head. Gaze fully into it. The light, YOUR light will enter. Truly!!!
“Pour your light into a spoon and lift it to nourish someone’s beautiful parched holy mouth”.
Mad Love, Greg