There are moments when I rise that the sun beams in through the crack of my window and I spring out of bed feeling full of gratitude and excitement for the day. And there are days where I see the sun, and it hitting me brings guilt and pain as I resent having to get up. Those are the days where I feel like sleeping in and checking out of “adulting” for the day. I am an emotional women. I feel things deeply, both the joys of life and the sorrows. It is part of what makes me able to be the healer/therapist that I am. However, it isn’t always easy to feel so much.
Recently, it was becoming increasingly harder to feel gratitude. I am usually able to find gratitude in anything but I was overwhelmed by the state of the world. My family’s roots are from Puerto Rico, and when hurricane Maria hit, I was cut off from hearing from my family and friends. The images flooded my newsfeed. Spotty connections and sad texts from my friends who were able to get a moment of service. Lines that went around blocks for water. People in-boxing me on Facebook non stop for help. My cousin’s baby who is very ill and paralyzed unable to get baby food and water. HOW COULD I FUCKING BE GRATEFUL? Tears flooded through my eyes in moments when I least expected it. In the middle of the supermarket isle I would break down, thinking of how my people didn’t have access to fresh water and food. I felt guilt with each sip of water and each bite I had. I didn’t want to feel this way, but I couldn’t help it.
I was heartbroken for Puerto Rico, for all the islands affected by the storm, for Mexico, for the world. My heart was aching and I couldn’t feel the gratitude. My tears for the pain of the world and the feelings of helplessness far outweighed all other feelings. I tried. I tried hard to find gratitude in small things and so I would say things like “despite the fact that I feel pain, I am grateful for the water I have” “I am grateful for my ability to raise money and help people that need it in Puerto Rico” , “I am grateful for social media that allowed me to help a mother get access to a nebulizer to her infant in Puerto Rico.” I started focusing on how, although I felt as though it was merely a drop in the ocean of the help I was doing, I felt grateful that I could help. We were able to raise over $27,000 in less than 2 weeks. I was grateful and yet I felt I needed to do more.
It’s not always easy to find gratitude when you are heartbroken. I won’t pretend it is. But I still sought for it. Sometimes that is all we can do, until eventually, the cloud lifts, and slowly things fall into balance again. I am still nursing a broken heart for the world and for my favorite place in the world, Puerto Rico, but I took time for self care. I went on a trip to Peru and received healing from a Shaman named Danilo. I took time to remember that me crashing into sadness won’t allow me to help anyone. I reminded myself that from an empty cup, I cannot give. Slowly things are finding their flow. I woke up yesterday next to my pup Bodhi, and felt gratitude sitting right next to pain. For today, I get to feel both and that is quite alright.
In the comments below, let me know if you have had a similar experience of experiencing both gratitude and pain. I would love to hear from you all.