In the past few weeks since saying goodbye to Pancho, I’ve discovered something MORE. A truly amazingly beautiful space, one I've affectionately come to call “the space in between.” The void created between stopping and starting, old and new, death and rebirth, then and now, up and down, you and me. Those gaps that are always present yet I barely notice, nor often give my precious attention. Do you know the ones? Between moments, between people? The seemingly blank space that exists like hallways between the close of one door and the opening of another.
I think I’ve ignored them because I often find them uncomfortable, usually awkward. These spaces can feel downright weird, sometimes even scary. And what I’ve come to learn is they feel this way because that’s EXACTLY what they were designed for… feeling.
My whole life I’ve had a downright aversion to these spaces – their vastness, their depth, their emptiness. I’ve rejected their invitations to frolic, refused their calls to hang out, regularly running in the opposite direction, and more often than not holding strong, bracing myself against their pushing, poking and prodding. To simply just FEEL.
Truthfully, I suppose I’ve become a master of these spaces, of the emptiness they hold. A master at refusing the emptiness, rejecting the space and opportunity to feel, anything – good, bad, ugly, amazing.
I suppose that’s what happens when the coroner comes to your door when you’re five. When you hear him tell your mommy about how your daddy was discovered that morning by hikers behind a rock in the mountains above your house. One single well placed gun shot. When you’re told by your larger than life grandfather, “You need to be a big girl now.” When you’re big enough to climb the mountain for the spreading of his ashes, yet… Not. Quite. Big. Enough. to witness the actual ceremony.
My masters training started when I watched everyone plaster smiles between their tear stained cheeks, desperately trying to shield me, and themselves, from the truth – no one saw the signs; and if they did, they ignored them, refusing to believe there was something really really wrong. Refusing to admit he wasn’t himself, that he wasn’t taking care of himself. His head was spinning. He was sick. So sick in fact he felt he had no choice but to take his own life.
Unbeknownst to me, that day would be the start of one gigantic and very empty space in-between.
As I grew up I would further my mastery with the art of filling that space and armoring up against it, and anyone who dared to lure me into it's waiting arms. I would do anything – pretend, lie, run – anything to not have to face the space, stand in the space, or allow myself to become enveloped by the feelings that lie their waiting. Because “big girls” don’t cry, they don’t giggle, and they certainly don’t share their fear and their anger, and they absolutely do not share their dreams and far fetched desires. To share anything that represented who you really were and how you really felt was akin to having your panties showing. Absolutely and completely unacceptable.
But the more these spaces were ignored and unattended, the more they began to take on a life of their own. Feelings I soon discovered, can’t lie dormant for too long.
That refusal to be empty, it hates rejection, so much so it eventually comes back to bite you, or at least haunt you.
Mine took the shape of big giant white marshmallow men, chasing me through dark corridors, carrying my father away behind closed doors never to be seen again. Not even Wonder Woman could save the day, her magic arm bands powerless against the monsters that lived in the dark, blank void.
It would take 30 years for that dream to finally announce it’s closing night. 30 years of coaches, psychologists, psychedelic drugs, self-help books, lost friendships, a crumbled marriage, and hours of classroom time and webinars to realize I actually didn’t need to be saved at all. That what I was taught about being a “big girl” was the biggest lie of all. Big girls stand in the middle of the space, graciously opening up to what it has to share, accepting what it has to give. Big girls simply stand there, and they FEEL.
They feel it all. They’re brave and courageous and big enough to feel the pain, the sorrow, the anger, the happiness, the contentment, the true bliss. The revel in it. It makes them who they are, it helps them unfold into becoming who they will be. And they’re big enough to appreciate it all. Because they know it changes them for the better, forever.
This last month I’ve finally realized my version of the "big girl", standing tall in one of these spaces, mostly in a puddle. Because I’ve been doing just that… feeling it ALL. Crying. Laughing. Having the courage this time to let my heart break wide open and accepting that falling is all part of the experience of life. All a necessary part of being a “big girl”. There is no new beginning until the old is complete. And we cannot grow, we cannot become, we cannot complete, until we feel.
Pancho taught me so much when he was alive, but I truly believe the lessons have only merely begun. He is guiding me, showing me, how to be brave and wholehearted, how to step into being the biggest, most amazing me I’ve ever been.
These few weeks have shown me this is where the gold of life truly exists. In these spaces. In these feelings. This is where we process, explore, integrate, evaluate, create. This is where we become whole, where we let our soul take the lead, where we own our humanness and begin to be, live, do and have the MORE we truly desire.
When we feel, we can actually live a life of MORE.