For over a year, I’ve pondered the concept of playing with pain, how to honor and feel the sorrows that flow through my life in a way that’s light while not diminishing what I’m feeling.
As one who encourages clients to create community with whom to share, my ponderings haven’t taken me past the pages of my journal where my inner community has been stumped regarding the possibility of playing with pain until recently.
During an impromptu road trip, I heard myself confiding the idea with a friend. Although this was a trusted friend, my sudden sharing wasn’t planned. I’m uncertain now what even caused me to blurt out my closely held thoughts other than we both have been navigating layers of loss, past and present. My friend affirmed the topic merited further thought as we pulled into Hohenwald, TN to partake of the Sonnenschein Festival, a yearly event promoting environmental consciousness and other local causes like the nearby Elephant Sanctuary.
The first thing that caught my attention wasn’t an elephant or the environment, but a local tv station’s mascot. Snowbird, looking a bit alien in the near 100 degree weather, roamed the crowd. We quickly took advantage of this photo op.
This was one of many laughs that day, yet the one I remember most occurred at a table where three men sat, promoting learning opportunities with Gaia University. One of the men began to explain the process he uses to help people unload emotions. My friend and I jokingly said we thought there was a potential business in what he described. We created an imaginal business card that read: “Got Baggage? We’ll Carry It. Emotional Sherpas for hire.”
Sometime later I realized the profundity of what we spontaneously created. Pain is lessened as we’re emotional sherpas for one another, not co-dependently thinking we must fix the other, but through showing up and listening, practicing presence as we trek through life together.
Why had it taken me a year to share my private ponderings? Why is it so hard to call someone and say, “You want to come over and play or hang out? I’m in pain.” I'm an adventurer in travel but this involved traversing the space between me and another human being. I was afraid.
Thanks to my friend who sincerely held my idea and feelings as I took a risk, a bridge was created between the two of us as well as my internal counterparts as we trekked between pain and play all afternoon.
Imagine the shift if we became aware of the opportunities that surround us to be sherpas for one another.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 28 June 2009