to stay in the heart break, anger, and sorrow until i could finally move through it.
to stay crying when i couldn't stop.
to stay with my friends, as they worked through the intensity and hardship of being in marriage relationship.
to stay in one place, and not think about moving on to the next grand adventure.
to stay with the depression of not being able to run after being injured.
to stay in the physical pains.
to stay home, instead of wandering away for another weekend.
to stay with a tedious project i would rather not do.
to stay present to all of it.
to stay engaged.
it's clear to me that i experienced staying to be in the context of some discomfort. this makes complete sense to me since i don't like to be in uncomfortable situations. but what took me by surprise was that i actually have a harder time staying with the feeling of joy.
because when life was as good as it's been this year, i convinced my mind that it's easier to imagine that what is good, would come to an end. in the latter part of this year, i found myself imagining tragic scenarios unfolding while driving home, riding my bike, running, walking, sitting, lying like a vegetable -- anything really. i felt less vulnerable this way.
"joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. to love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn't come with guarantees - these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. when we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy." -brene brown, the gifts of imperfection
"until we can tolerate vulnerability and transform it into gratitude, intense feelings of love will often bring up the fear or loss." -brene brown, the gifts of imperfection
"joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." -marianne williamson
a year ago today, when i wrote about the then unknown theme of stay, i didn't know that when i stayed in all of it: the muck, the delight, the sorrow, the thrill, the happiness, the ordinary... that i would find a deeper capacity for sorrow, gratitude and joy, and therefore a deeper connection with people and with God.
it's been a profound year of growth. and i look forward to another year of expansion. another year of staying. i hope the same for you too.
*a dear friend also wrote about her 2011 reflections, and i would highly recommend giving it a read. her honesty and vulnerability are moving.