I believe one of the hardest things to do for someone who is in pain is to know what we can do to make it better. We watch those we are about struggle with grief, confusion, pain, and loss feeling so helpless to make anything better. We find ourselves at a loss for words, a loss for knowing what action to take, and sometimes even at a loss for being present to them. We want so desperately to ease their pain but just simply don’t know how.
What if all we needed to do to show support to people with aching hearts was to open our space up to them? The space of our hearts; the space of our joy; the space of possibility; the space of ourselves. What if we just said yes to sitting with them, listening and offering quiet support as they journey through on their dark path? What if we didn’t need to do anything more than BE THERE without expectations that they tell us how to fix them? What if we allowed them to enter into our own daily routine so that they could forget the dark swirling of their own, even if only for a few short hours? What if we shared our happy place with them and allowed them to find some much needed peace from the tumultuous waves in their hearts?
I had the profound gift of an opportunity yesterday to spend the day with a friend’s sister who tragically had her husband die in a vehicular accident 14 months ago. Eerily her and I share the same date for the deaths of our husbands. There are many more connections we share – some surrounding our new lives as widows and some just about who we are and what we have done with our entire lives. I won’t share more than that because it would mean sharing more of her story and I have a strong belief that I should only share my own story, allowing others to share theirs if and when they want to.
What struck me throughout our day of riding, talking, swimming with Karoly in the pond (Joy of joys), sharing our stories and just breathing was that I really didn’t DO anything yesterday besides share the gifts of my own life with someone who very much needed a place to breathe and be with the horses and the quietness that is Avalon. It was a gift to me because I got to ride which I don’t do often enough; I got to sit and connect with a wonderful person; and I got to remember that my calling at this time in my life is to share my story and share the healing space of Avalon with those who need it. Oh teaching lessons, hosting clinics and shows, having camps and managing the farm is all well and good but that is NOT my calling nor my current mission.
I don’t know exactly how I can allow or encourage this mission to unfold in a deeper and broader way, but I was reminded yesterday that one of my greatest joys is seeing people’s heart pains ease just by being here in this magical space. Allowing myself to sit and be present to them in whatever way unfolds is of more value than me cleaning the stalls or fixing fence. How to open myself up to making this a very active part of my regular work is the question. I do believe if I remain open to the answers they will come.
I hope and pray that all who come to Avalon find some respite for the cares of the world – whether they be big or small. Yesterday was just a more radical, conscientious day of offering that opportunity to someone seeking peace. The gifts to me were so much more than I feel like I gave but that is the magic of being on the right path. When we say yes to opening up the space of our hearts, our pain, our joy, ourselves so many amazing things are allowed to unfold.
If you know someone who is in a dark place of struggle, of grieving or of feeling stuck think about opening the space of your happy place to them. Allow them to simply be with you as you garden, as you ride, as sit at your favorite park, as you go to the library where the quiet is so lovely, as you hike or whatever it is that makes you happy. Pick them up from their house (driving places when you’re in deep pain is REALLY hard) and take them with you, assuring them there are no expectations that they do or even say anything. They can simply come along for the ride.
What if instead of trying to fix everyone’s pain we simply shared a little bit more of our joy with them? We might be surprised what a gift that could be for us all.