“In Tibetan lore, a spiritual warrior – one who faces life on earth as a life of transformation – always has a broken heart, for it is through the crack that the eternal mysteries enter. When we fill the cracks, we not only misrepresent ourselves (for everyone has cracks), but we also shut down the possibility of contact with the eternal mysteries, and so, shut down the possibility of our own transformation.”
– From Mark Nepo’s The Exquisite Risk
Four months ago I started living a slower life. It’s going well. One of the biggest tangible consequences of the change is that I cry a lot more. Because, well, I guess because I have built in time to be human, to have a human response, to grieve. It was a little unsettling at first. But now I am sitting in my brokenness. Healing is my work. I let the waves of sadness come when they want to come and wash over me. It seems I am grieving more than my most recent losses. It seems like I am grieving my whole life. Once I decided to actively sit in my darkness and do the work of healing, it became exhilarating. It’s hard, but I feel it transforming me, moving me toward more wholeness. Acknowledging my cracks and not rushing to fill them helps me feel like I am becoming more human.
Three months ago, I started lighting a candle for each of my griefs. I named them. I sit in the darkness and acknowledge them one by one. I thank them for the invitation to make me a wiser, more compassionate person. Pema Chodron reminds us that “Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.”
We are existing in the liturgical space between Christ the King Sunday and the first Sunday of Advent. We are reminded that Jesus, mocked and killed alongside criminals, is our King. And now Advent, the season of waiting in the darkness for the light to come live among us.
Waiting is not passive. It takes intentionality to sit. When the darkness hits, I have the instinct to jump up and turn on the light. To work harder. To go shopping. To check my voicemail and email and text messages and twitter feed and blog comments. This time we are living in- this space between Christ the King and Advent- is a time of choosing to let our eyes adjust to the darkness. To sit. To wait. To trust that the light is coming. To allow both the darkness and the light to transform us.