Life Can Be Funny




"My body is screaming at me," I told a friend a few months ago.


"What's it saying?" she asked.


"I knew you were going to ask me!" I replied. "And I hate the question, mainly because I have no idea."


More often than not, when something seems to be going wrong, my first impulse is to want to figure out the root of the problem and fix it. That strategy might work in some situations, but (more often than I'd like to admit) life's complexities require me to stay in the murkiness of the unknown. Over the years, I've been practicing sitting with uncertainty and actually become more and more open to the seemingly mysterious realm of possibilities that comes with living in the flow of the unknown. But in the case of physical pain and discomfort in my body without a clear cause, my fix-it mindset comes rushing back in. I want to feel better, fast.


Last week, I was inspired to take myself on a short, spontaneous trip. A part of me hoped that the change of routine and rhythm would help. And it did in some ways. I basked in the sun in my friend's backyard while helping her kids make Valentine's for their classmates. I strolled the beach with one of my mentors and felt immense appreciation for the vastness of the sea and the synchronicities of life that had brought me to connect with someone I admire so deeply. I dined outdoors with colleagues and friends who fill my heart and soul with hope and inspiration. I laughed until I cried with my parents and my aunt as we relived stories from years past. Yet through the joy and laughter, the appreciation and inspiration, pain and discomfort lingered. I was experiencing the expression "wherever you go, there you are" on a sublimely physical level.


Back home, I remembered a conversation from several years ago. A friend was working through a challenging situation and I asked, "What if this is not a problem to be solved, but a process to be supported?" The question dropped in as unexpected presence that seems to come from a source of wisdom beyond me. My friend and I sat in silent reverence as we considered the possibilities that this shift in perspective could bring. I can still feel the space of this pause now as I contemplate this question for myself today. I notice that when I let go of the urgency to figure things out, I make more space to allow myself to be supported in what is and to be open to the myriad possibilities of what might become.


In considering which poem to share this week, I pulled a card from the Artwise Poetry Roulette deck: "Life Can Be Funny." It feels right on point.


 

Life Can Be Funny

from Brainstorms


life can be funny this way:

the way the best and the worst are synchronized

so that the euphoric memory of new life

can rouse a surge of tears

as it is so intertwined with a moment

when the rug was pulled out

from underneath the façade.


life can be funny this way:

the way a person can arrive

during a time of deep despair

and bring in a joy so unexpected

that the wound suddenly doesn’t sting

with such intensity and the unknown

doesn’t feel so frightening.


life can be funny this way:

the way love and rage and fear

and gratitude can circulate through me

as I laugh and cry at the same time.

and the way that comfort comes

not only in the warm embrace of an other

but in the still, cold silence of my self.


life can be funny.


 

Whatever it is that you're with right now, I wish you openness and ease in navigating through it.


With love,

Jennifer


ps - You can hear me reading "Life Can Be Funny" in this video I made a couple years ago.