“We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens." ~ Pema Chodron
I am in mourning today, as people all around the world are, for the innocent people, most of whom were queer and Latino, murdered in Orlando. Rage, confusion, horror, helplessness, and sadness alternately sweep through me. I am letting it happen, the various currents of emotion, trusting in my capacity to be with what is arising. What is helping me manage my emotions is being in touch throughout the day with friends and online communities. Doing so helps me feel connected to a family of others who are also grieving. To give myself a break and distract myself, I have also taken the time to stretch out on the grass in a nearby park. As we all have experienced, riding the waves of challenging emotions is a dynamic process in which feeling resourced in self and community is vital. One must constantly assess how much is too much and shift course if need be: check in with a friend or family member, distract oneself with a walk around the block. One gauge of getting overwhelmed is the loss of the capacity to experience emotions consciously, mindfully. Are you able to witness the expression of your emotions or do you drown in them? Experiencing your emotions consciously allows them to integrate into your sense of self. It is like helping a fire burn purely so that nothing remains. Losing yourself in emotions, however, might traumatize you, by which I mean, make you reject the experience as too painful and reinforce or create a fear of experiencing similar emotions in the future. That fear is the byproduct of a fire that didn't burn purely. On this day of mourning, please take care of yourself by distracting yourself if it all feels too much. Maybe it's time to clean a closet, take yourself to that movie you've been meaning to see...