It’s not just the physical signs of advancing age that are unnerving. You reach a certain age and realize that just as you’re beginning to perfect your swing, it’s time to get out of the way and let the next generation have its turn at bat. And you’re apt to feel the slightest bit disheartened about how few points you’ve put up on the scoreboard….
It’s a big round table that we’re all sitting at, more or less together, and even those of us who grew up with wise elders and stable households are still frightened children, sometimes. And sometimes there are bigger, stronger people protecting us from life’s harshness, but sometimes we’re the ones who have to fry the chicken and set the table. Even if you don’t have happy memories and protectors to make you feel cherished, here’s an unexpected truth: nurturing others can help heal the part of you that no one looked after properly….
Alone with my sundry tooth terrors in the wee hours, I found something else in my heart: compassion. I found a lot more empathy for people coping with pain, loneliness, and troubles much more profound than my own. Pema Chodron calls this compassion “the awakened heart,” akin to the bodhichitta. Feeling what we feel, the negative as well as the positive, is a doorway to the complex hearts of others….
How is it that when we think of soulmates, our parents seldom come to mind? Or for that matter, siblings, first cousins, and the grade school nemesis who unfailingly edged us out as the top student in our class? We seem to assume soulmates present themselves only as romantic partners or the rare lifelong friend. That usually disqualifies the people who grounded us or gave us wedgies….
There comes a moment during each holiday season when I reflect on the boisterous, colorful, exciting Christmases of my youth, and I wonder whether my modest version of Christmas doesn’t mark me a Scrooge. But in my heart, I know that all I really want of the Christmases I remember is to be a child again.
When you decide at this Cancer New Moon to spend quality time with your heart, it will be the unpleasant stockpile of emotional refuse that you feel compelled to tackle. The old grudges, the ancient hurts and embarrassments, the terrifying vulnerabilities that you’ve lived with for years because you just couldn’t face them, because they are heartbreaking, demoralizing – or in some strange way, giving your life purpose.