“I would hurry to find a shelter for myself
from the raging wind and tempest.”
~Psalm 55:8 (NRSV)
Not so much physical pain, but the existential pain of living, perhaps of grief or loss or maladjustment, can feel so hard. We need a gentle empathy with ourselves.
We need, somehow, a way of soothing our sorrows and sheltering within divine rest.
Perhaps the relief we need is relief from our thoughts that have brought us to a hamstrung place. Maybe the raging wind and tempest has battered us so hard there is a dirge within us begging for release.
Finding Release In A Swirling Chaos
The decency of shelter is unequivocal. It is peace beyond the throes of chaotic awareness. We may have thrown ourselves like caution to the wind, wanting to grow, or just wanting to survive the fiercest of days.
Finding release from this swirling chaos is not in changing the circumstances. Rather, our method must be to soften our approach on ourselves. Somehow, we allow ourselves to be. If healing is there, we take it.
And something solemnly terrific occurs even within the grip of numbness. Possibility is seen, and hope is derived.
Softening the hardness of our mental or emotional or spiritual pain, feelings so intense yet indescribable, is at an arm’s length. We picture it. We hold it as a metaphor in our mind. And we can imagine it, both real and possible. We can procure it.
The Simplicity Of Being Gentle With Ourselves
Especially if we’re given to being hard on ourselves, which is a throwback from the victimisation of our childhoods, and in some ways may be a cover for self-protection, softening the hardness of our pain will be crucial.
We can calmly remind ourselves that we deserve gentleness. Self-respect begins with a soul able to console itself. And we are worthy of this self-respect; it is ours for the taking.
Ever manually we think; we engineer good and useful thoughts about ourselves—soft and pleasant thoughts. By our thoughts of tranquillity we facilitate feelings that we deserve. Our compassion is nothing if it cannot be felt first of all by us, within.
So, we commit to enrolling ourselves to compassion. And we begin turning up to each class in that course. We become diligent learners in how to be gentle with ourselves. And eventually we become grade ‘A’ students. We are able to feel kind to ourselves.
Compassion is nothing if it cannot be felt by us for ourselves. When life is grey, and things are hard, softness is the way. The hardness of pain is always best softened.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.