Holding sadness and pain...

"Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea."  Chogyam Trungpa The last 6 months have been a muddle of deep grieving for my Dad since he had his stroke in March, finding wonder in pocket sized moments of ordinary bliss (remember the Big Pants?)  and keeping the courage and faith to keep moving forward. Dad continues to be an inspirational teacher to me. He has had all sorts of knockbacks form repeated chest infections, pneumonia, chronic pain and more and his process of grieving for the life he lost in March. Yet Dad remains absolutely resolute - he will walk again. And he will keep making us laugh.

Throughout this time I have been working on accepting whatever feelings arose from anger, frustration, deep sadness and despair to hope, joy and love.  They're all good, all important. Instead of trying to suppress them, I've tried to fully live them. There have been bucketloads of tears and laughter that has made my belly ache. It's not been easy but I have learnt so much about holding these opposite emotions simultaneously in my heart instead of allowing myself to 'drown in the pain of sadness'.

I've not always been able to do this, in the past having most defintely allowing myself to drown in whatever emotion was consuming me at that time.  Looking back I am reminded of Drowning not waving by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning. Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said. Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning. Maybe it's because I've barely had the time to allow myself to be drowned by the sadness

Gregg Krech, an expert on Japanese Pyschology calls this holding of seemingly opposite emotions in your heart as 'waking up to your life'.