A gentle rain is falling this morning. It has a voice like compassion. I am going slow into the day.
Sometimes in our lives we enter a space where everything else falls away and we just have our body pulsing around us and our soul surrounded by dark. You know, the migraine hours, the sudden crashing illness times, the moments after an accident. We're too sick or dazed to think about money, manners, or what our hair looks like. All that connects us to the world beyond our bones is love. Our love and concern for the important people in our lives.
In those times, other people form our external space, whether they want to or not, and whether we like them or not. Those who surround us and attend to us become the whole outer world. If we're lucky, they will be thoughtful and kind. If we're not, they will be worse than unhelpful, they will disrupt our healing with their attitude. When you're in crisis, knowing the world around you is a safe place makes all the difference. It doesn't necessarily need to look like gentleness. Often, steadiness and cool calmness offer the greatest reassurance. But to have someone disrespect the space holding you is, well, just horrible.
I'm generally a helpful person to have around when you're sick or needing to get out of a difficult situation. What I'm not so good at, though, is remembering that so many people are in crisis even when I'm unaware of it. I'm sure it's happened countless times - with aquaintances, in interviews, at the supermarket checkout. I'll be having a normal interaction with someone who is, inside themselves, holding shards of a broken relationship, or worrying about a monetary disaster, or in some other way struggling with life. Am I gentle to them? Am I steady, thoughtful, kind? When people see me coming, do they have that moment of ease like you get in a medical crisis when the ambulance arrives? Or are they secretly praying, let this person be kind?
I need to remember that I can make all the difference to someone - we all can - whether we know it or not. In the dark moments, the migraines of the soul, we represent the whole world to them. Each of us can be safety so they are able to do the inner healing, or simply holding on, they need to do until the pain recedes. Or we can make everything so much worse.