Last night I watched the series finale of Gilmore Girls. As the last poignant scene of Rory and her mother eating one last breakfast at Luke’s Diner faded away, I started crying. Not the kind of crying where tears gently stream down your face, but the kind of ugly crying where your chest tightens like a vise-grip and squeezes strange noises out of your face that you hope no one ever hears.
I was surprised at how deeply affected I was by the finale of this show. I have had a habit lately of watching an episode (or 2) while eating my lunch, after I finish my blog post in the mornings. Gilmore Girls is a lighthearted, witty, strong-female-lead dramedy which I had not seen when it aired live during my college years. I had started watching it last year with Autumn when we were living in the bus, and decided to finish the last couple of seasons by myself once I discovered they had added it streaming to Netflix. Every day at lunchtime I found myself in a safe haven in this imaginary little town called Stars Hollow – it was a place I could go everyday to feel relief from the intensity of the writing I’ve been doing about my journey of moving beyond Christianity.
Yesterday, when it ended, and I found myself crying so hard, I didn’t know what to think. Where was all this emotion coming from? So this morning during my journaling time, I let myself feel the reality of my emotional state: exhausted, in a certain amount of emotional pain, and a basic feeling of weakness and brokenness. I let myself cry again, as I wrote about how I was feeling.
And this is the big difference in my life now, compared to my life ‘pre-transformation’. My journey to wholeness has taught me that whatever I’m feeling, I need to fully FEEL it.
It’s only when we resist or ignore what we’re feeling that it becomes a problem.
The journey of excavating the real ME from the egoic, false part of me, includes some intense moments of pain. But the key is, not to RUN from the pain, but to EMBRACE it. There is an instant emotional relief and release that comes, the moment you can bring awareness to whatever you’re feeling. It’s almost as if the very act of embracing the pain makes the pain feel different. It’s still there, but instead of festering, it becomes like medicine. It’s lighter. It becomes a good pain. You become deeply aware that it has a purpose, the minute you embrace it.
My current exhaustion and pain have come from the intensity of my writing and vulnerable sharing on my blog lately. I’ve come out of my cocoon. I’m no longer hiding anything. Anyone in the world who wants to know my life story, including the fact that I have left Christianity, can now read about it. And with the huge transition out of a safe cocoon into the great wide-open online world, comes a lot of intensity. My life has been suddenly flooded with judgment, support, criticism, encouragement, un-friending, new friendships, un-likes, Likes, real community, and more energy running though my veins than I ever thought possible. It’s all intense and new and somewhat draining, regardless of whether the reactions are ‘negative’ or ‘positive’.
I can no longer go back into hiding. I’m out. And while this has brought me some of the greatest joy of my life and some of the most thrilling moments and connections with people I’ve ever had, it still takes a toll emotionally. And so my job is to embrace every level of this journey, and to comfort the little girl in me who wants to go back into the cocoon where it’s safe and quiet. My job is to take her hand and lead her to the next step. To let her know that it’s ok to be nervous, or tired, or hurt. And that we’re gonna keep walking anyway.
This is success. This is wholeness. To embrace every step of the journey, whether it’s a day when I’m feeling like I can take on the world, or a day like today when I feel exhausted and weak. It’s all a part of growing into my best and highest self. And as I embrace what I’m truly feeling today, I feel lighter, I feel peace, I feel a deep joy in the midst of my brokenness.
And I remember, that every great step forward in my life – every huge transition – has come from brokenness. It’s when we are broken open that we can connect with the strength that is deep within us. It’s when we are broken open, that we can fully connect with God. When we let pain break us open, and embrace it’s beautiful purpose, what emerges from the ashes is the guts and glory of who we really are. The treasure can then shine brighter and more fully.
What pain are you feeling today that needs to be expressed? What brokenness can you embrace, that will lead you to discover your magnificence?
Don’t run from the pain, let it be FELT — express it. You will be surprised to find that underneath the pain is the beauty of a stronger and more radiant YOU.
Photo Credit: Samat Jain