Gratitude & Fear

Fear and gratitude; grief and joy…how can we hold them simultaneously?

I am struggling with that right now, after my brother suffered a serious and life threatening event last week. Through a series of “nothing short of miraculous” occurrences, he survived and should be fine. I am filled with gratitude and joy for his survival, and yet still in that place of fear that comes in situations like this.

This really is what I call the big loop of life, learning to hold opposite realities as simultaneously true. It is hard, but in my view, the only way to navigate the experience.

I find myself holding the space for each reality, and trying to give voice to all that is true, to be present to and with it all; the grief and the joy, the gratitude and the fear.

For me, it’s a question of trying to remain present….to this present moment, and then to each one as they come. And with each moment may come a new experience; and when it does, to be present with it. Sometimes it brings fear, sometimes joy. They are each real, and one does not negate the other.

I awoke in the middle of the night with the moonlight pouring in the window, across my face and for a minute I had forgotten.

But then it all came rushing back, the fear, the worry…trauma does that…. and then the gratitude followed, and the moonlight felt like a gentle blanket of love.

The truth is, that in life, it’s often like that: the good and bad, happy and sad; they occur together, not as separate events. And then the challenge for us is to be present with each part and to just allow; allow the situation to unfold as it will, not fighting it or trying to control it; just to be.

Why is this so challenging? At least for me it can feel challenging. We want things to be a certain way and when they aren’t we can get upset; we resist and we push harder.

For me, the fear made me want it not to be so; and yet there was actually nothing I could do about the situation, at all. What happened, happened….

And my worrying about the outcome didn’t change any of it. I had to hold my fear of loosing him and just wait it out.

The actual fear I think is less about death than the loss. Maybe they’re the same. But I don’t think so. We all know, from the moment we are born, that we will die. It is the only certain thing in out lives. People have different amount of anxiety and fear around death, and we all seem a bit surprised or caught off guard when death does occur. We shouldn’t…..we have always known it would happen. The pain comes from the loss of the person, and the pain of the loss is because of the love we feel or felt for that person. The fear of the loss can be palpable and so painful. But the pain is because of the intensity of the love; we don’t get to have one without the other.

So we really do hold opposite realities as true simultaneously, and need to.

And for me, the experience of that love trumps the fear of the loss.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Finding Balance in the New Year

Are you in balance in each of the Five Stones: Healthful Eating, Balance Movement, Integrative and Functional Healthcare, Mindful Stress Management, and Interconnected Living?