Missing you hurts like hell, Kissie. It’s a fact of my life now. How could it be otherwise? I’m socially conditioned to judge my pain, so I struggle not to. I don’t think it’s productive, it doesn’t change anything, and it feels harmful. I’m convinced that judging my emotional pain also perpetuates the grief phobia I observe and experience regularly. It’s really difficult to stay out of that judgement, needless to say.
Culturally, we’re definitely not of the mind Rumi was when he wrote The Guest House, encouraging hospitality for our darkest emotions: “Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.” How to entertain my darkest emotions? For starters, I’m offering regular, open acknowledgement of my grief, even when it’s uncomfortable for others, as it often is. Grief, disappointment, longing, anger, sorrow, and pain are communally viewed as “unwelcome guests,” and trying to entertain them, as Rumi suggests, is like swimming against a powerful, though often subtle, current. Persisting takes energy, and I’m not high on energy right now. But, I am committed.
When I spend time with others actively embracing their unwelcome guests, or attempting to integrate their “shadow aspects,” as Carl Jung called them, it’s such a relief to my body, mind, and spirit. Maybe more importantly, I feel a sense of burgeoning community. This unorganized, under-the-radar companionship, and the humanity I feel privileged to encounter there, are giving me the strength to resist self-judgement, and to keep “treat[ing] each guest honorably.”