I have been thinking a lot about wholeness this week. My friend, Deb, shared a post on Facebook recently about how she’s achieved wholeness in several areas of her life: as a parent, as a spouse, as a descendant. She spoke of past trials and failures and not-knowings and how she’s moved into a place of wholeness.
I sat with her comments for a long time. At first, I couldn’t relate. To me wholeness felt a state independent of success or failure, although that’s probably not what she was attempting to convey. Something inside urged me to dive deeper, to discover a tidbit attempting to surface, to illuminate the path.
Sitting with the churning not-understanding for a long time, clarity began to shine its beacon. I witnessed areas in my life–and the unfolding of others lives–where division reigns. Where it just feels hard. We’re divided in how to respond, where to turn, how to act. We’re confused, grieving, suffering, pushing away. We don’t like how life is appearing in this moment and it just hurts too damn much.
In so many arenas of our life this division arises with its accompanying thunderstorms of emotion. By division I mean that we’re not clear, that we’re not allowing, that we’re not bathed in a sense of wholeness and completion.
All this week the phrase “Coming into wholeness” whispers.
It feels more clearly that part of our life journey is about accepting our division, our feelings of brokenness. Instead of pushing these to the farthest reaches of the mind where we won’t feel so darn separate and confused and hurting and compulsive and scared and devastated.
Death will rob us in this lifetime. Of loved ones, and then our bodies. We won’t get everything we want. We’ll get sick. Our loved ones will suffer. We’ll feel unfulfilled with jobs, partners, living situations. We’ll feel angry. The country’s government will seem just wrong. We won’t be able to figure out how to proceed. Horrible things conspire to break our hearts.
Some folks nudge that this dark cycle of the moon of our lives could be illuminated by positive thoughts and actions, turning us away from a darkness that can splinter and shatter a tender human soul. While this may be true, there often exists a turning-away in this positive movement, an inability to engage with suffering because the knives penetrate too deeply into the heart.
Coming into wholeness is a hero’s journey, a journey some choose to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. What if, at the core of life, at the very heart of life, exists this desire of the holy to move from division to wholeness? What if this is the natural breath of living itself?
What if it’s not about warring against darkness, cancer, loss, pain, illness, unruly emotions, addictions? What if it’s about making more and more room in our essence to allow and examine and tenderly hold our grief? To envision a wholeness that hugs all of us–imagine that, all of us–so very tenderly? Even the broken parts. Especially the broken parts.
The more we open in the face of everything that wants to turn away and protect ourselves, the more we bring our shields of courage and love into what used to be a battlefield, the more we relax into the holy work of transformation, then a deep healing can unfold.
A way we get stuck is holding too closely to our stories and interpretations of suffering. Wholeness urges us to expand past these limiting stories which shatter more gunfire into our hearts. Wholeness whispers that it’s possible to open other doors of understanding. Not by turning away, but by continuing to pour loving awareness and inquiry into what hurts.
If we’re downright stuck in pain that will not ease, it’s so often our stories about grief and suffering and addiction and unworthiness which keep us jailed in our interior prisons.
The challenging thing is this: we usually don’t know how to do this. In every new situation it’s as if we’re toddlers attempting to piece together jigsaw puzzles. We have to learn our way anew to wholeness, every single time. We have to find a way that works for us, in this new moment, in this new incarnation. It’s like starting all over again.
Coming into wholeness may be our live’s work, our holy alchemy. Again and again and again we discover our division, our slivered fragments, our broken ceramic chunks of heart. We give them our tender affection, our understanding, our love.
And the circle births in wholeness. Once again. We see that the wholeness has been there all along: we were just blind to its full revelation. As perhaps my friend Deb discovered, we’ll know we’ve turned full circle from division to wholeness because we’ll sigh in blessed relief. Oh yes, we’ll see, now I see. Oh yes…