What Is Thawing for You?


As Spring approaches, what is thawing for you? One of our Board Members, Emily Carlson, asked that question. And her own answer is so good I’m stealing it for myself:

What is thawing is whatever keeps me from knowing that heaven and earth are one.

If the (false) separation of heaven and earth is an icy lock, what door would open with the thaw?

Would we fully know that the angels we imagine in heaven are right here, as are our loved ones “on the other side.”

Would we fully embrace the profound joy said to await us “in God’s Kingdom”?,

Would we return to the present moment of the body and soul’s knowing?

Would we lie down in the grass and gaze at the wind sweeping through the trees, regardless of the chill?

For me the unity of heaven and earth is all of these things, and something else I thought about while I was reading a student’s English composition essay. In the essay, the students describes her desire to move past tortured obsession with the mirror and the fear of physical imperfections, to see herself as perfect just as she is. As I was reading, I saw myself in this young woman’s story, and felt an incredibly grounding truth in my body, centering my body, like heaven pouring through a column into my body. I felt a thick warmth in my throat, holding me solidly as that column. The message was to look in the mirror and say:

I do not want to change anything about my body.

For me, this is different than saying “I accept my body” or “I love my body in all its imperfections.” For someone with an insidious habit of judgment, it is all too easy to say these words and somehow still only hear the last one.

So I say it again, slowly, deliberately, and even more openly:

I do not want to change anything about my life.

Of course, this is hard to say in the throws of hardship, grief, loss. I do not in fact expect anyone to be able to say this in the face of death, disease, betrayal, pain, suffering. Though I know one can, I don’t expect it. I think it is fine to not be fine with trauma.

But what is around the trauma? What in our lives needn’t be judged, even as we hold deep regret and extreme wishes for different circumstances? What can be loved even as we wish for an end to certain kinds of pain or loss?

When my mom died, I suffered a significant depression, not because she died, but because of all the ways I was suffering around that trauma.

So maybe the challenge can be to pick one thing: one thing we know we need not judge, one criticism we are ready to let go of. Maybe it’s our old standby: I’m too ___________ or I wish I had more _______________.

And we say, with knowing: I do not want it to change.

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