body grief

I know the answer

but I don’t know how to get there. I know the answer to my darkness, my fear, my grief, everything is love. And I will never be able to love others to the depth I desire until…yes, I love myself. But I honestly have no idea where to even begin. I’m 49 and am googling “how to love yourself.”

Even that simple phrase, once unpacked, shows how far away I am. There is no dearth of search results, but as I scroll through the listings I grow increasingly sad and that empty hole that food tries to fill starts getting bigger.

Ouch. So I run to Pema Chodron

Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.

If you have Buddhist inklings then always run to Pema.  She invites us to focus on the soft vulnerable places. And her refrain is that we must first be gentle…with ourselves.

Before I can go let that soft sad place in me start to trust that I will listen to her today, I am fleeing my body and back to looking for other answers “out there.” Instead of sitting with anything, I keep running from moment to moment. I’m getting tired but I am not yet exhausted.

Oh!

Marion. Marion Woodman.

Pema is my Buddhist guru and Marion my Jungian.

As you bring to consciousness your feeling and try to work with it. Be gentle with yourself. Let the warm love flow.

This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.

My copies of both When Things Fall Apart and The Pregnant Version are tattered, stained, and scribbled on. They are heirlooms. These are the books that I return to over and over…always meeting me at a different place in my life’s spiral.

I’m scared. Scared of dying and scared of living. What a threshold place.

So today my goal is to be just a little more present to myself than I was yesterday. It sounds so simple right? But we know that for many of us it’s the hardest thing we will ever do. To simply say yes to ourselves with love and compassion.

Be gentle with yourself, Jenny.

Let the warm love flow.

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  • Shirley Scritchfield

    Jenny, this is hauntingly authentic. It echoes struggles I have had my entire life and I am considerably older than you, my dear. I am increasingly aware that I MUST stop searching elsewhere for the “head” answer and spend disciplined, regular time listening within. I’m not there, but I’m getting there–working hard to lean toward learning from love rather than fear. Holding you–and me–in the Light.

    • Jen

      Shirley, thank you so much for your comment to my post. For me, I know my body holds the answer. I have to lean into her and give her the space to speak. And learn from love. Just like you said. Thank you.