The veils of resisted grief were evident upon his face.
“I learned that people are not there for me.”
How revelatory those nine words. How packed with programming and imprinting and pain.
Oh, me too my friend. Me too.
I have learned from multiple examples in my own experience is that it isn’t so much people aren’t there for me. People are just frequently not there.
In a culture as pain aversive as is ours it is not surprising to me that others often don’t show up when I am experiencing pain or turmoil. Most people in our world will do almost anything to avoid their own pain. We have become masterful at denial, deadening, and suppression. I personally believe this has far reaching and even tragic consequences. And it is understandable. But if you cannot be there for your own pain you certainly are not going to be there with mine.
There is an unprecedented haze in most eyes these days. This is partly because our brains were not designed to process the incredible amounts of data that are coming at us in each moment. We are also privy to tortuous images that startle and disturb us. We are seeing scenarios on television and on the internet that are shocking. Violence is part of our everyday culture. Mass shootings and suicide bombings happen so frequently that we file them away as part of our current culture.
And so being “there” is a full-time practice. Being truly “here” a full-time job. Keeping my heart open and available is a primary practice at this point in my journey. While I am committed to being there for others I must first be here for me. For the experience of my own experience. To attend to my own pain, loss, estrangements, disconnections. The better I get at that the more equipped I am to empathize and attend to you.
My suffering largely abates when I take the “me” out of “people are not there.” While I am open to a direct and intimate connection with a very small number of heart-comrades I do not live in an expectation that people should be there for me. It is a set up. Any time I pain myself with “should” and with “me” it is an aperture for potential pain. People are sometimes there, and often they are not. The point is not how much others are there. The point is how much I am here.
Releasing the expectation that you will be there softens my heart and opens my eyes. I become more available and “here.” I notice my own demands about how others should be there for me. I feel the grief behind that demand, a grief that compounds whatever else I may be facing. I breathe. I open. I release. I am here.
In my pain I learn that I really am here for me. And that makes me the perfect person to be there with you.