Making Space for an Inner Engagement

"Every disturbance,
whether resolved or not,
is making space
for an inner engagement."
~ Mark Nepo

I set out for a walk this morning - breezy and perfect in every way - on the cusp of the Memorial Day weekend, deeply reflecting on this quote by Mark Nepo.

Life is filled with disturbances, and every once in a while we revisit old wounds...

I imagine sitting down with a dear friend or two, inquiring of them - or perhaps answering the question:


"What is the greatest wound you carry?"

For some of us it might be one wound - or perhaps several. For some of us it could be something very big and unfathomable - something even defying articulation - such as abuse. Or losing a child. Or having a beloved leave... Sometimes our wounds might seem insignificant to others. But it does not matter. For to the one who experiences the wound - it is very real - and is perceived as the worst possible experience in that moment...

Yet, our experiences are simply that - our experiences... They are rarely truly understood by others...

Every once in a while a past wound rears its irritating head once again. And we might find ourselves asking - "Really? This issue? Again? Are we not done with this?"

In the past, I tried to sweep revisiting unpleasantries as swiftly under the carpet as possible. But now, I stop, and make a point to consciously acknowledge what arises, investigating why it is choosing to come to me in this moment. I sit with it. I "befriend" it. But, I can also look at it in the eye and say to myself, "This too shall pass." Somehow, it always does. Even if it takes years...

Many disturbances in our lives are never resolved. But whether or not they are - we are still broken open and challenged to grow and engage in deeper reflection, and it is always our choice as to how we respond...

"As a shovel digs up and displaces earth,
an interior space is revealed...
Every experience excavates a depth
which reveals its wisdom once opened to air."
~ Mark Nepo

There is not one soul living on this planet that has not experience profound wounds - of rejection, of neglect, of pain, of suffering, of illness, of death. Yet through it all, we can decide to move forward and become better because of our experiences. Even in our deepest hurting we can choose to love and overcome the pain in our lives. We can harness it for a greater good...

I reflected on my own pain, my own wounds, lying beneath the surface - acknowledged but not really shared. Sometimes, it is best to let some things lie fallow... But my pain, and my wounds are no worse than anyone else's. I think of dear friends that have carried much heavier crosses, trying to navigate inhospitable terrain as gracefully as possible - and they somehow all have!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I think of all those who have lost mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and spouses - who served valiantly fighting the wars the rest of us never had to engage.

What I have learned through my own experiences, is to try to observe as much as I can with as much dispassion as I can muster. It is not always easy. My experiences have served as opportunities for growth and greater richness. I believe I am a better person because of them. I cannot always see the bigger picture, but I do trust that everything will unfold as it should in my life. I pick myself up when I fall, and I know that the excavation of my heart allows for a deeper engagement within...

As I concluded my walk, a blue butterfly flew down right in front of me. I stopped dead in my tracks, and observed it open and close its wings slowly, with reverence - almost as if it were bowing - and then it danced counter-clockwise in a circle. Then, it reversed its trajectory and did the same dance clockwise - all the while reverently opening and closing its wings. It was so incredibly beautiful and I had never seen anything like it.

Once the dance was concluded, this little butterfly lifted up effortlessly and flew away, reminding me that sometimes our deepest wounds, disclose our greatest blessings!

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