During the coldest days we had this month, I was out on a walk and noticed many houses had lots of spider webs which I thought were left from Halloween decoration, but what happened was that the air outside was so cool and crips that every spider web that often goes unnoticed was accentuated. This made me think of how, I, for so many years have been escaping the 'cold' or so I thought, but what I recently realised is that I have not been escaping the cold as much as what the cold makes me feel; a longing for the warmth of my hometown in Chile, a longing for the light, a sense of discomfort of being wrapped up in so many layers, but above all, and above it all (or rather below it all) sadness, uncertainty, confusion.
Summer brings warmth, colours, happy people and uplifting things to do that is easy not to notice our deep feelings amidst the business and excitement of our days, but the winter, to me, does what this cold day did to the spiderwebs, metaphorically, it just highlights what has gone unnoticed and so I look at it, get close to it and pay attention. The feeling of not wanting to get tangled in it is quite a human trait, nobody likes sticky spiderwebs as it can host. a big scary spider but I know that unless I face the root of this aversion, I might end up getting entangled by it.
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Pema Chödrun
It is so easy to run away from 'it', to go on holiday, to numb it away, to eat it away, to drink it away, to busy myself enough to momentarily forget it, to shop for stuff that bring some sense of happiness, or to take anything that will help me feel better, and there's no judgments if these are done, we all to some degree do them, but it is okay to feel sadness, doubt, fear or any other feeling, feelings are messengers, and I know that they are temporary unless I get lost in the stories I tell myself about them.
Is this moment or this season helping you see anything with more clarity?
Are you aware of the sources of discomfort in your life and your coping mechanisms?
I know I can either face the cold that causes the feeling or I can directly face the feeling that is triggered by the cold… When I sit with the feelings and check in:
What is happening inside me right now?
Can I be with this?
There's a word I recently came across with, apricity which describes the warmth of the sun during winter but it can also be used to describe any source of solace or warmth that is comforting during challenging times. I love this as what can be a coping mechanism, can also be this apricity that gives us some hope and comfort during tough times, it can be friends, a warm smile from a stranger,a hug, or an essential to me is meditation.
In meditation, I sit and pay attention, sometimes there are strong emotions, and yes at times it hurts, but eventually, as I keep noticing my breath and whatever else is present, aware of the moment, it subsides...
I see the the spider that created the web and I can look at it without wanting to push it away and there’s a sense of peace, beneath it all... there is space, I don’t need to try and control anything, I can see the spider webs as a natural phenomenom and the spider as harmless, unles it is a poisonous one of course!
I can use whatever is present in my experience as a means to learn from, and allow it to lead me back to the divine source of awareness that allows me to experience peace in spite of any turbulences on the surface. If any action is needed, it will come out of that source of consciousness rather than a forced thought from the mind, after all, the most important endeavor we can carry out as humans beings with a limited time on earth is that of training our minds, that of awakening to our true nature (that is far from our thoughts)
"Wherever the mind wanders, restless and diffuse in its search for satisfaction without, lead it within; train it to rest in the Self. " The Bhagavad Gita
May we learn to be with our emotions like an old faithful friend that is willing to be there for us amidst the storms of life and reminds us of the glimmers and apricity of life