“I got out my old calendars and checked. We used that Groupon. I didn’t lose three hundred dollars, afterall,” I told Fred, and he gave me a hug and a kiss.
It was a sunny Friday, and we’d just gotten back from a bike ride in Pitt Meadows. On that ride, I told Fred what happened to me on Tuesday evening. It took me three days before I could talk about it. Then I finally had the courage to check my records and find out if I had lost the money. That took less than five minutes.
When the facts were before me, I felt relieved but not sorry that I went through what I did, as uncomfortable as it was. I felt compassion for that part of me that was so panicked. It was paralyzed, afraid to look in case what I feared was true. I’m grateful that this part of me got to speak up and reveal the fear it carried. Now it’s in the light and, together, we can notice when that fear comes again, hold on tight to God, and let it pass.
As I was writing this, the phone rang. Fred took the call, and I left my writing to listen. I overheard that Hadrian, our grandson, was not going to come for a sleepover as planned. I felt a pinch, a little “Oh, no!” It sounded like he preferred to do something else.
He just turned fourteen. I always knew the day would come when this could happen, but that doesn’t mean I won’t feel the loss, and I was feeling it. I looked at the chocolate cupcakes and the veggie dogs defrosting on the counter and felt sad.
After Fred hung up the phone, he explained that Hadrian was feeling under the weather. He wanted to come alright, but needed to stay home and rest.
We were disappointed he couldn’t come, but I also felt a sweet relief. He still wants to come.
I returned to my laptop, writing and reflecting. The wave of sadness I felt when I thought Hadrian didn’t want to come revealed a fear. Something in me is afraid of how I will feel when our grandkids stop coming regularly for sleepovers. It will happen, and we will feel sad, but I don’t need to be afraid of the sadness.
I almost ended my post there and then realized later that I’d dismissed my fear.
What if it wasn’t ready to go? What if it had more to say to me?
Sure enough, it hadn’t gone far. I welcomed my fear to take a seat and tell me why it was so afraid of losing this pleasure?
I heard that it isn’t that I won’t feel loved or lack worth. I don’t like losing something that I count on to make me feel good, like being responsible with my money makes me feel good.
Then I saw it plainly: I believe I need to feel good to be happy.
I see how that belief winds me up. If I don’t feel good, I think there’s something wrong that needs fixing or I think about what I can do so I can feel good . . . or I just eat something.
What would it be like to let go of that belief? What if I simply surrender to this moment and receive what’s in it with openness and curiosity? How might this moment be a gift to me, just as it is?
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within. Amen.
–Father Thomas Keating
∗ ∗ ∗
In this short video, Cherry Haisten introduces the practice of Welcoming Prayer taught by Father Thomas Keating. Welcoming prayer, spiritual direction, and focusing practices have helped me understand how feelings reside in my body and need to be welcomed and heard. They express how a part of me is feeling. When I am grounded in God, I am more able to move to a place of observing that part and welcoming my feeling instead of being identified with it. I can hear what my feeling wants me to know and see how it’s trying to help me, even if that help is not the help I need. In an interview with Tami Simon, psychologist and founder of Internal Family Systems, Richard Schwartz, talks about these parts of ourselves and explains why he believes there are no bad parts.