I, like many, have a lot on my mind these days. Sometimes I brainstorm my questions of the world, get them all out of my head and onto paper, then pick one and write. It's one of the ways I process and reflect on events, emotions, my own personal state of being.
For #mentalhealthawarenessweek, I chose a prompt about suffering:
How do we handle suffering when we see it?
Here's what I wrote. I'd love to read what that prompt brings up for you.
I see suffering every day
Just by looking in the mirror
The lines around my mouth have deepened
The creases on my forehead too
But mostly it’s the haunted look in my eyes
The look of someone who has been through so much
Who has held precious things and felt them break
Who has been rejected or tossed aside
Who has weathered hurricanes of emotion.
And still, I stand.
I see my face reflected in all its lined and shadowed glory.
I have lived. I have loved. I have lost.
My own suffering aside
I see it sometimes at the store, on the street, in a park
And then - ooooof
That pang in my stomach
Is it Pity? Empathy?
Seeing someone who is struggling
Or might be lonely
Or in some kind of trouble
Or just that their life is not the one they want to be living
That pang sits in my belly for hours afterwards
Leaving me tired and relieved when it’s gone
I’ve been working on that membrane -
The one between me and the world -
Working on having it be less permeable
A little more like protection
One that lets a little feeling in
Even a medium amount
But not all of it….
As an empath, all of it is too much.
I can only do all of it if I am writing, acting, creating
It in a different form
Otherwise it sits
Like undigested meat
Heavy with nowhere to go
Even unbridled joy is hard!!!
It pushes at the edges of my being
Tears escape and the belly aches
From laughter and dancing
I need to laugh and dance more
I am tired of feeling sad
I want blue skies
And pistachio ice cream
A crisp apple and boogie music
Soft velvet blankets and lilac branches in my bedroom
I want to celebrate kindness, bravery, art
To love with abandon and hope that tomorrow will be better -
Even if it’s just a smidge -
Better than today.
My father used to say to my mother:
I love you more than yesterday but less than tomorrow.
Here’s to that!
To loving more than yesterday but less than tomorrow
To rejoicing more than yesterday but less than tomorrow
To living more than yesterday but less than tomorrow!!!