What could I write, after Monday?
Last night in the pub, people who had woken up to the news of the attack in Manchester – our city – shared stories, feelings, philosophies, and perhaps a little too much wine. We needed it.
This morning, feeling slightly worse for wear, I opened my emails – and found this beautiful post by Carrie Mallon:
The timing was so perfect.
“meditating with the Ace of Cups can allow you to hold space for ALL of your feelings. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad, and depressed. Denying difficult emotions is quick way to allow them to become toxic. This card offers you an alternative, which is to let all of your feelings flow. Let them move through you, let yourself experience each feeling fully and completely. It is often this simple act of feeling your feelings that cleanses your soul and allows you to move forward refreshed.”
The Druidcraft Ace of Cups is a poweful card, for me – just looking at it, I can feel the flow of the water, the pull of the moon and the leap of the salmon. The overhanging hazelnuts represent wisdom, nourished by the flow of these emotions, but not carried away by them. It brings to mind a lesson I struggled to learn – which I wrote about here – about allowing my feelings to flow without judgement.
Four years ago, my partner was working in South Sudan, when armed men broke into the compound where he was supposed to have been staying, and massacred the men inside. I knew he was alive; British people have a habit of making the headlines when murdered, unlike the hundreds of South Sudanese people who died that day. But I couldn’t reach him.
For months afterwards I fought against my feelings. I renounced my volunteer role as the Peace Pages coordinator for The Druid Network. I spent six weeks walking, thinking, reading, railing at the universe – because I wanted those men dead, and I couldn’t reconcile that feeling with my ideas about who I was. I was blocking the waters, holding them back, afraid of that raging torrent of emotion, afraid of what it told me about myself.
Peace only came when I finally allowed those emotions to flow freely, feeling each of them, letting them move through me and pass into the well of experience.
Peace – to borrow a working definition – is the space we give ourselves between provocation and reaction, where we find the freedom to choose. Understanding peace as a choice allows us to acknowledge the rage, pain, fear, frustration and the desire to lash out or fight back that is provoked in us when something happens to break our world apart, because what ultimately matters is not what we feel but how we choose to act upon those feelings.
Choose love, my beloved readers, always choose love. It is harder, and it takes more bravery, but it is more powerful in the end.