Why is it, a friend and I were discussing recently, that as we get older, we seem to revisit certain stories? What we eventually came to, my friend and I, was that we are seeking some sort of resolution. Or understanding. Or healing.
This reminds me of lines from the poem “Becoming Seventy” by current US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, All the losses come tumbling down, down, down at three in the morning as do all the shouldn’t -haves or should-haves. It doesn’t matter, girl—I’ll be here to pick you up, says Memory.
These unresolved memories, these wounded part from our past, these shadow selves are asking to come out of the dark. How do we coax them out of the dark?
With kindness. And compassion. With a recognition that what is unresolved in us is asking for love and healing, not judgment and ridicule. So what if you are angry or feeling jealous or scared or really really petty? So what? Feel it. What feels uncomfortable is not asking not to be felt; it’s asking to be felt and loved and held.
Another Joy Harjo quote, this one from her memoir Poet Warrior speaks to the importance of letting go of our painful stories: At some point we have to understand that we do not need to carry a story that is unbearable. We can observe the story, which is mental; feel the story, which is physical; let the story go, which is emotional; then forgive the story, which is spiritual, after which we use the materials of it to build a house of knowledge.
So maybe that is what this life journey is all about—building a house of knowledge, so that we can love and care for ourselves and others. Tell me, what would your house look like?