You nights of anguish. Why didn’t I kneel more deeply to accept you,
Inconsolable sisters, and , surrendering, lose myself
in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain.
How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration
To see if they have an end. Though they are really
Seasons of us, our winter…
– Rainer Rilke
Tara Brach, PhD., therapist and meditation teacher, writes,
“If we are only waiting for our fear to end, we will not discover the pure and loving presence that unfolds as we surrender into the darkest of nights. Only by letting go into the stream of life and loss and death do we come into this freedom….Our willingness to face our fear frees us from the trance and bestows upon us the blessings of awareness.” [Brach, (2003). Radical Acceptance, pp. 193-194].
Though perhaps not obvious to some, I have stopped waiting for the paralyzing fears of first-motherhood to end. When difficult days – sometimes weeks – come, I no longer gaze beyond them with steely endurance. With patience and compassion and practice (lots and lots of practice) over two decades, I am able to let what could have been go into the stream of life and loss of which Brach speaks, that darkest of nights where there is no squandering of pain.
Here is this space, there are no expectations on how to “be” in reunion, there is only the awakened awareness of things as they are now. Here, in this space, there is enough love to hold the loss of us in my heart while not refusing to go on living.