We begin in this life innocent and whole. Life happens. Modern life, where people don’t have time. We are damaged and moving too quickly to not run into each other. We get small and fearful and heavy or loud and angry and continue the cycle of squashing one another.
There’s a program for little kids when their parents are in rehab to help them process the trauma of addiction. They give them backpacks full of heavy stones. They toddle heavily across the room, straining. One by one the stones are removed. Each lap lighter. The stones represent of course, the burdens they carry on behalf of their parent. The angry drunken words, the terrible fights, the loneliness and neglect addiction relegates them to.
We are all this way. We carry heaviness inside of us that we may not even know is there until it isn’t. We are haunted by our past. We are also not taught how to be exorcised. We live in such a hurried, scattered way that we never have time to notice (until it’s too overwhelming) that perhaps something is off. If you feel that way, you’re right. Feelings are factual. The meaning we make of them is up for debate but never the feeling itself. They are always true. Cell phones and social media, TV and driving cars, 9-5 and “fear of missing out” leaves even the best of us unbalanced. And what do we do? Avoid. In a million different ways, we hide our heads in the sand, afraid to look into ourselves, as the monsters in our closets grow larger and harrier and more frightening.
The answer? Step back into the sun. The place that existed before the fear. Allow yourself to fall apart. Let others care for you. When you’re too tired to hide, don’t. *you have to be very tired to do this but it works. Allow yourself to be held by people who can do so without any fuss. Then slowly go back into that haunted house of yours. Bring a flashlight and a friend and open the windows. Let the light in to reveal the boogey men guarding your wounds. Free them with fresh air and acceptance and tending to those very real wounds you have.
That’s awfully easy for me to say, right? In practice, it can be terrifying but the concept is simple: get back to who you were made to be. A modern caveman. A tribal creature made to live in connection with the earth and our bodies. Its normal to have all sorts of impulses intended to avoid pain and increase pleasure but in that chasing and avoiding we suffer. It doesn’t make you bad to be this way, it’s just how we are made. It’s an art to be a human these days. And if you feel lost – you’re not alone.