Monday, December 28, 2015
Winter Gardening - Hope for my flowers...
So over the last year, especially the last 6 months, my life has taken some rather unexpected and shocking turns. Due to these changes, I have taken on extra work to make ends meet since most of the revenue from my business continues to go back into the business. So I am sitting in the hotel where I work the night audit shift and a kid comes in. He asks if he can sit for a bit and looks exhausted. It is slow and there is no one around. He is not bothering anyone. I say "yes" and ask if he is hungry. He says, "yes" so I feed home some leftover muffins from the morning breakfast. I also bring him a bottle of water and a glass of milk. He thanks me. Then he takes his hat off, puts his head down, and I hear sniffles. I don't know if he is crying or sniffling because he came from the cold and is not in the warm room. I think about asking him if he needs tissue. Then I decide to let him be.
Prior to his arrival, I was thinking about how different this Christmas is from last year. So many unexpected things have happened. Painfully unexpected. I think back to when I was on my own as a teenager. All the fear, loneliness, sadness, and pain back then. I'm so grateful to be in such a better place but yet, here I am again, experiencing pain. Pain that maybe is or is not too different from whatever is going on with this kid. I might never know.
After further conversation I find out that "he" is a "she" and SHE is not a kid, per se, but is 25 years old. Looks can be deceiving. I wonder what her beauty regimen is...I refrain from asking this question. I also consider the benefits of looking male versus female when living on the streets. I am not assuming this is why she looks this way nor am I really concerned with however she identifies....I merely wonder if she is inadvertently safer on the streets because she looks masculine. It must be so hard being a woman on the street. What happens when you start your period? How do you navigate the aggression at the shelter? Do you ever get a good night sleep or are you always sleeping with one eye open?
I have many unanswered questions. I do know that I can sit in compassion and loving kindness. Empathy. Perhaps that is the gift of pain. It enables us to feel compassion for others with first hand knowingness and experience. We can share in the overall bittersweet experience of life.
I don't know what this young lady needs but I know she needs love and prayer. She needs healing. So do I. For different reasons. So do we all, for varying reasons, I am sure. However, it can be that pain that unites us. I can access and recognize this need more acutely - in a more fine tuned fashion - because I experience it myself. Maybe that is the gift. The gift we never receive when we are too uncomfortable or scared to lean in to our pain.
So, I acknowledge this sprout of compassion and this blossom of empathy. I think...if my garden is already blooming in December, with these snippets of warm emotion and shared experience that help us recognize the common blood running in all of our veins, it will surely be even more magnificent once winter passes and spring emerges. I have actually been weeding my proverbial garden of people and choices that no longer serve me or have my best interest in mind. I have been taking stock of the energy output versus input of relationships. I pull these weeds and churn them in the large compost pile of pain, disappointment, fear, transition, loss, grief, etc. that has comprised my life over this last year. I churn all these experiences in my proverbial compost pile. These experiences have left me raw. I am far from healing. I feel energetically depleted and absolutely incapable of funding others' energetically right now. This is strange for me because I usually have a surplus of energy. I have more than enough to fund my own needs and the needs of plenty of others. Now that I am depleted I feel the energetic and emotional siphoning of others with more acuity. I don't have that wellspring of energy. I am the one in need of energy. What are you doing for me? Where is the reciprocity?
I would have considered those questions to be selfish at one point in my life...and in the not so distant past. I now consider them fair and necessary. I consider them appropriate. They're especially appropriate if one is going to take inventory of their life and balance their "doing" with "being" - their masculine with their feminine. I wonder if all this pain was necessary in order to deplete me, cause me to take inventory of how I am spending my energy and what all I am investing in and funding, and really looking at where it is getting me and what it is doing for me. I can be stubborn, so maybe I needed to get knocked down repeatedly and depleted in order to stop doing what I normally do and realize that I need to do something differently because I literally cannot energetically fund doing things the way I have always done them in the past.
I consider these things as I continue to weed my garden and BE alone. I pull what does not serve me. I add it to the compost pile. I be. I just be with my discomfort and uncertainty about everything. This seems real to me. Raw. Truth.
I also peak at those little sprigs of hope that are in the form of compassion. I hold on to the belief that this spring, I will have a magnificent garden.