I had an emotional and powerful conversation with a client yesterday. (She gave me permission to share this...)It began with a large dose of grief, helplessness, and outrage as yet another tragedy of violence - the shooting in FL - takes hold of our hearts. She used words like "awful, horrible, terrible, heart-breaking" to describe how she was doing with it, how her week was, and just her state of mind in general. As the conversation went on, though, I kept hearing examples of what I saw as, actually beautiful and expansive.
Her grown children reaching out to her in their pain. An intimacy with her husband that allowed her to invite him into having an open-hearted compassionate prayer for the shooter. A recognition of a yearning to give of herself to young people who would be at risk of experiencing loneliness, isolation, and rejection.
I was struck with the two stories that she was telling. One of horror and hopelessness; one of connection and compassion. Living together, side by side. The one of beauty and nurturing just almost becoming buried within the one of anger and pain.
The story of how horrible it is that these things are happening so frequently in our country and noone knows what to do about it - holding some judgment for the how much gratitude to be having these kinds of conversations with my family and to be seeing the place in me that's blossoming so much that I want to contribute with my gifts story.
This is a woman who has had way more than her share of abuse and physical illness in her life, and whose protective parts have often kept her true light hidden from others, and, more importantly, hidden from herself. To see it begin shining so brightly, in the midst of such tragedy, to see her protective parts that might have been prone to judge or condemn a perpetrator relax enough to have such compassion - it was, and is, beautiful beyond measure.
To hold light and dark together. In the midst of darkness, to still see the flicker of light. Most especially, to allow light to emerge out of the darkest dark. That's where we are, it seems. That's what we are being invited to do and Be.
We are not the first to be here. We've been taught about this phenomenon over and over. By many Teachers from many traditions. My wager is that if we can learn this lesson, we might just get to experience Peace on Earth.
Alisa Carr, Eye of the Heart, Spiritual Director, LCSW, DreamWorker, and Contemplative