Monday mornings often create this jarring emotional space in me. I am never fully prepared for the alarm and especially on weeks that are looming with large events, I wake with uncertainty and sadness. I don’t always know where my sorrow comes from, sometimes I have a clear and ready story about some injustice perpetrated or received. But more often lately it is just another color that lives in me that needs space to breathe and a compassionate regard.
I woke with my old familiar back pain vibrating down my left arm. Just a few days ago I thought I had that pain tamed. This is how it is with pain, it has a life of its own and like everything else just wants some tender attention. I came across this poem, Sorrow by Mary Oliver recently. It makes me weep even when I am not in a Monday morning melancholy. One thing that this positivity quest has helped me to do is form a real relationship to the inner figures who make up my emotional landscape. I know this little girl who carries my sorrow intimately now. I am not afraid of her messages and I know when I go to her, listening and sometimes cradling her small body full of pain, that I am healing. Mary, always so beautifully articulate, instructs us:
“Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must
take care of what has been
given. Brush her hair, help her
into her little coat, hold her hand,
especially when crossing a street. For, think,
what if you should lose her? Then you would be
sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness
would be yours. Take care, touch
her forehead that she feel herself not so
utterly alone. And smile, that she does not
altogether forget the world before the lesson.
Have patience in abundance. And do not
ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment
by herself, which is to say, possibly, again,
abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,
sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.
And amazing things can happen. And you may see,
as the two of you go
walking together in the morning light, how
little by little she relaxes; she looks about her;
she begins to grow.”
Living with my emotions as friends, each with their own face and wisdom is a way of embodying what is. It keeps the storylines to a minimum and invites me continuously into the present moment. Sorrow, Fear, Anger they all just want your attention and tenderness.