I sat with my dear friend today after her radiation treatment. She was diagnosed with breast cancer this spring. I admire how she has moved through her journey with such grace and optimism. Truly sitting with the discomfort and inviting healing.
As we sat in the sunshine on this warm July morning we chatted, catching up on life and reflecting. We have been friends for many years, raised our babies in parallel and we now find ourselves (at this moment anyway) in what feels like a very calming place. Taking in life and practicing gratitude...feeling moments of joy. We reflect on how we have come to realize that joy is not from the "big" things in life, as we once anticipated, but from many little gifts in our lives.
We have had kid struggles, health struggles, aging parents, career shifts, relationships to navigate, yet in this moment, in the sunshine of this July day, we find ourselves at peace with what is. Not because all of our struggles are gone (not by any means) but because we no longer truly see our challenges as "problems" as much as opportunities. We have been able to find the softness around the struggle, that tender spot of vulnerability that Pema Chrodron talks about. To be with what is, to find comfort in the discomfort and the willingness to not move away from it but to be with it-holding space with open curiosity, for ourselves and others. What we have learned over the years is that eventually the light does come. We have found hope within the impermanence.
Accepting what is, offering guidance when we can and understanding that showing up as the best version of ourselves ... that is enough. For our partners, our kids, our coworker..for ourselves. It's not always "perfect" but it is the best we can give in that moment.
I am not sure that we both intentionally decided to let the vulnerability in, but we did decide to pay attention. To try and find the truth. To see what was real in the moments of life, not just in the stories in our heads. Life presents us all with the opportunities to open to this. I am grateful for the resilience to continue to "step back into the arena" (Brene Brown) and to have relationships and connections in life to support this. Relationships that allow us not to be knocked down by lives uncertainties, but to face them with courage and vulnerability.
To sit with my dear friend, in the sunshine on a beautiful Vermont summer day, and share this peaceful sense of wisdom in our lives may seem like a little thing, but for me this translated into the BIGNESS of life and a true moment of Joy.