I snagged this image from The Grief Toolbox, who clearly got it from Compassionate Friends, and posted it on FaceBook. When I saw it I thought, UGH, OK I have to address what has been going through my mind for the past hour or so. It’s time for me to do some emotional clearing and find compassion for myself in this one. I have learned a hard lesson here.
By the way, bear with me…I will have to come full circle on this one.
Putting myself in someone else’s position has always been my philosophy. I am an empath, and I feel emotion very deeply. I feel yours too. I have a hard time sometimes because I immediately identify with the emotion in progress from a conversation, a book, the TV, whoever is conveying it really. That can be very draining. In fact, I can’t hardly watch anything with gratuitous violence in it anymore because I can’t emotionally take it.
That said, many years ago I went through an emotional clearing program taught by Jelaila Starr. The basics are, you have triggers (events, people, things that happened) and those triggers stir up a plethora of negative emotions. They affect your daily life because you still respond to those triggers. So you write them down, then go through them one by one and you find a place of balance, or no emotional charge. You do that through finding compassion. Compassion is not the same thing as love. It’s more like understanding and being at peace. It can also mean loving someone enough to let them “take their own medicine.” It is not compassionate to take away another’s pain by “saving them” for instance. (Also, for those of you who may not be into metaphysical subjects, don’t be alarmed. This is a valid tool regardless of what labels you insert into the instructions. You can also Google the words “emotional clearing” and find many resources to use. Pick what is right for you).
After processing all of my “stuff,” I learned that I no longer had to really sit down with things and I process it in almost an instant. That happened over many years. I still miss a thing or two, though, because I am not perfect by any means. Hence this “confession.” I’m coming clean to me, and shrugging off the shame and coming clean to all of you.
It was brought to my attention this morning, by my never-ending stream of thoughts, that in the past when anyone’s child died I approached it from a standpoint of taking responsibility versus understanding. For instance, if your child died due to being unattended in the pool, my first thoughts were 1) how horrible and 2) where were the parents/caregivers. Apply this to any situation – car accident where it was the driver’s (i.e., parent’s) fault, just “insert your example here” basically. Well it hit me this morning. And I was deeply ashamed. I almost emailed a friend with whom I had a short conversation about one family’s tragedy earlier this year and apologized to her for my insensitivity, but then I was so ashamed I thought “Never mind. I understand now, I get it, and I will not make this mistake again.”
Then I saw the darn picture posted on FaceBook. Yeah, the Universe wasn’t having any of my dodging and hiding.
I certainly do not think that Erin died so that I could learn this measly lesson. However, this is one item of value that I now understand. I also understand why I could not find compassion for those families. I could NOT GO THERE, I could not put myself in the place of losing a child. Especially not my child. So I had cut myself off from feeling their pain, because I did not want to feel the fear and pain that might come up within me.
I also blocked this fear and pain out during Erin’s illness. I have wondered over the last few weeks why I didn’t see this coming. Why didn’t I know, in the hospital, where this was headed? Fear of pain is the reason. That, and my positive thinking, but I did ignore the fears. Would I have acted differently if I had not? Maybe. I know if I had not ignored my fears before, I would have perhaps been kinder to families who lost their children, even if just in my heart.
If I were actually using the Formula, this would be the part where I make amends. I am so sorry that I have placed blame instead of feeling compassion for others’ pain. And I release myself from blame as well. I understand that I acted out of fear, and I will have compassion for myself and move forward in a positive way.
And I thank you, Erin, for this bittersweet lesson. I am sure there are many more to come, or at least I hope so. I want to honor your life with my actions and I love you.