How do we recover, do you think? Do we recover by writing? By telling our story? Do we recover from the slow, steady work of tackling it, and sitting beside it, and swimming with it? Do we take it to pieces and scatter the pieces? Do we take the pieces and build something new?
What do I mean by “it” anyway? Am I talking trauma or experience or recovery? Am I talking about being human? About being alive? It only hurts when we’re breathing. It only hurts because we’re alive.
Is my heart more efficient because it has been with me for so long? We develop a shortcut to our compassion, don’t we? A quicker path to tenderness. My tenderness for children is a tenderness for my own son, but it’s also a tenderness for vulnerability, for youth, for how much struggle is yet to come. For the processes of learning and unlearning and fucking up and starting over. For newness, yes, but also for wisdom.
I have been so angry and I see that the only way through is love. I see that. That’s my only path back, and I have to remember to stop and rest. I have to remember not to hurry. This is all we get. This marvelous, weary world. Eventually, even our aches become familiar. I couldn’t love you if I forgot that it’s work, sometimes, to love. That it’s a verb. An avocation. I show up, every day, to love you. I rest, every day, because I can’t do my best work without quiet. Without focus. Without knowing that I am as likely to be right as I am to be wrong and either way, I am learning.
What I am talking about, I think, is patience. We have to sit and listen. Me, especially. I have to sit and listen. I have to think. I have to stop chattering. Stop running. Be still and let it hurt where it hurts and let it love where it loves and be grateful for the way my car climbs hills and the way my wife answers the phone and the way my kid writes spontaneous notes on the back of restaurant receipts. What’s my hurry? Why do I have to know things? It’s enough, surely, just to feel.
2 thoughts on “It only hurts when I breathe”
healing is the most important process there is. for me, it was important to do all those things you said – write, read, speak, think, sit with, examine, understand and defend my suffering. to know what happened to me was not not not okay – and to be okay with its not-okay-ness, and yet, acknowledge it happened, acknowledge it happened, and try to integrate it into my life.
an herbalist told me once that there are four aspects to any healing process: mind, body, spirit, and ritual. the injury happened on a mind body spirit level, so those levels must be addressed. but the ritual aspect communicates to the psyche the layers which are being unpeeled, and healed. the ritual communicates to the unconscious that a change is happening – it may be only called upon, and not enacted yet, but the ground is moving.
I’m glad you are sitting in silence and listening, trying to stop the chatter that fills the days. this is sacred work. our world needs it. you bless yourself and the world with it.
I love this comment. I love to think of ritual in this way. Thanks for sharing, my friend.