Tod Inlet - Gowland Tod Park, Vancouver Island
Gillian Cornwall, c. March 2016
"It's all good."
How many times do we hear that phrase bantered around? If someone tells us they are sorry they were late, sorry they hurt our feelings, often we assume the best and say, "Don't worry; it's all good." Sometimes, the actions of others impact us and we feel worthless, saddened and invalidated.
How do we integrate the hard stuff of life: pain, suffering, heartache, trauma, sickness and loss into the "it's all good" mode of thinking?
Maybe we can't. Loss is loss. Feeling sh*t is just that.
The thing is, we are created with the full suite of emotional response. Why? Quite simply, it is because we are made to experience the entire suite of experiences, from love to loss, pleasure to pain, in sickness and in health, blah, blah, blah, as the vows go...
It interests me to note that when I am having trouble and I express it, whatever kind of trouble it may be, some folks are hell bent at looking at the bright side before acknowledging the hurt, pain or suffering. Perhaps it is just too difficult to see, too difficult to acknowledge and accept that you are hurting without wanting to "do something" about it. Anger, fear, sorrow - often thought of as "negative" emotions - are simply the flip side experience of their "positive" counterparts: love, joy, comfort and so on.
Personally, I find that it is such an honest and heartfelt experience of truth when someone tells me how they REALLY are and I don't try to fix it. I think it is important to be present and to actively listen and accept a person with all of their emotions - that is humanity. To blanket suffering with platitudes and a "glass half full" mentality is not a panacea for pain.
We needn't get into the crevasse with someone when they are down, nor do we need to tell them that they will have an awesome story to tell if they live through it ....while they are stuck in there and terrified and we are up top eating a sandwich.
I find what is most helpful for me is finding a willing ear, acceptance that I have fallen, acknowledgement that I am hurt and a light shining - maybe helpful comments and pointing to good, solid footholds to guide me out - for what good is the person that simply jumps in with you and says, "I have no way of really helping but, at least we're in here together!"
I need to work on my empathy because I've joined too many people in the crevasse over the years and it has made me extra wary of loaning a hand and getting pulled in. I think of what they tell you in water rescue when someone is drowning: you need to be able to keep yourself from being pulled under. Perhaps just throwing a flotation device and saying "See you on shore!" is a bit of the opposite extreme... Like everyone, I'm a work in progress.
Additionally, I may need to keep my truth to myself a bit more instead of relentlessly sharing every single thing I perceive to be true. Often people will say they don't mind, and they may believe it, but I suppose spewing your truth like a geyser, as regularly and magnificently as Old Faithful, may be a bit overwhelming for those who are near and dear.
If I were to wrap this post up in one sentence: "It's okay to feel bad and not pretend you feel good."
...And because I can never do anything in just one sentence, it's also okay to take a break from feeling bad and go try to enjoy yourself for awhile. It sets things on their heads and can give us new perspectives.
You needn't fake it til you make it. Be you. Trust yourself. You are perfect on your path. Just keep walking, one step at a time and allow people to light the way for you when the darkness comes. Maybe other folks can't tell you exactly where you should be going, but they can offer a smile, a light or a helping hand.
So, what does it mean? "It's all good." For me, it means all of your feelings, all of your emotions, are good - when you let them help you down your own particular path to enlightenment and peace with an open and loving heart, replete with self-acceptance and respect for the path of another.
As always, let's walk our paths, side by side, for as long as it is good for each of us, with good hearts and good intent.
-Gillian Cornwall, c. July 3, 2016
From Sheila's Garden - Somerton, Somerset, UK
Gillian Cornwall, c. September 2015