Connecting with Others

(At Kripalu with Jack Kornfield, December 2008)
Long talk with Patty who sits next to me and was my walking and breathing partner. She was the youngest of 6 in a severely disfunctional family.  She can remember what happened, but doesn’t have any feelings.  I’m glad to have a sister in this work.

The heart opens and closes — it needs to rest sometimes.

Feeling a lot of pain and grief.  Feeling so tired of the struggle.  I don’t have the energy to do the work of mourning.  I’m back to just wanting to die.  Spaciousness feels very cold and lonely right now.

We did the exercise of looking into another person’s eyes in pairs.  I did it with Vickie, the older woman who made friends with Patty and has been sitting with us.  The instructions were to look in this person’s eyes, see the divine being behind the eyes, see their courage, and unsuspected reserves of strength.  Then a breath, let that go, and then see the measure of sorrows that that person carries.  I was able to feel that, and shed tears.  Then see their joys.  And finally see them as all the different beings, old & young, they have been, and relationships, teacher & student, parent & child, you have had.  I was only able to feel /see something of the sorrows, a very little of the joys, I felt locked up tight.  But Vickie said she had seen many changes on my face, that I had been really present, and she felt connected, that I had given her a gift.  She says when she comes to these workshops, even though she’s a social person, she finds it hard to be with a group of strangers.  Her feedback helped a lot — I was feeling so stony, so disconnected, and yet I had managed to be present for her.

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