06 March 2013

Reading Mariechild Together: Peculiar Magic

The migraines have been really bad lately, and although I determined years ago to refuse to indulge in victim-status, I admit to having felt very isolated both during the days of intense pain and afterwards. "I am in this all alone," I thought. I viewed it as a fact to accept rather than a problem to chew over. I let the regret and loneliness be, without judgement.

Today's reflection in Diane Mariechild's Open Mind -- Womens' Daily Inspirations for Becoming Mindful gives me a new way to be with the aloneness. What she is saying is that we are all in this life alone. We are all on an alone journey.

Furthermore, "I could hold the experience in my heart and let it work its magic there."

Now, I am not so sure that pain works magic in my heart, at least not in the way Mariechild means: she is talking about intense, wonderful experiences leading workshops and retreats for women. But I do know that pain works in my heart. So does sorrow, so do all the emotions I experience. If I allow them to be -- without judgment and without denying or grasping -- I give them space and time to work their peculiar magic in me.

I once attended a workshop in which the speaker was a young man living with AIDS. He said this astounding thing: "AIDS is the best thing that ever happened to me." He told us that the shock of being diagnosed had forced him to look at his lifestyle, assess his emotional and spiritual health, and begin to make great changes in his life. He would rather not have AIDS, he said, but he also knew that it had made him a better person.

I would rather not have migraines. We all would rather not have to deal with things like our own difficulties; the mental illness or addiction of a loved one; physical challenges; death and dying. Yet these are life, they are the realities with which we live. We can choose to let them work their magic in our hearts. That, to me, is the most hopeful thing about being alive.

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  1. This reminds me of lines by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Take this sorrow to thy heart, and make it a part of thee, and it shall nourish thee, till thou art strong again."

  2. Wow. You make me want to read other Longfellow poems. Thanks!