Gratitude for Aliveness
"Tell the darkness I did not die."
"Tell the darkness I did not die" is what I read on her sweatshirt as we passed each other in the mall. Behind my mask, I gasped. Oh, no, I thought—I'm going to cry in a mall full of people. When she looked up at me, holding her boyfriend's hand, I looked away. Too emotional to make eye contact.
Tell the darkness I did not die.
My eyes started to water, and my heart began to beat fast. Wow, I thought—what a message. Emotions have been high lately. I feel like I can't control them most days. Weepy and moved at the smallest things, ready to cry at every turn. This heightened emotion didn't start until I began walking 70 days ago. I mean, I'm emotional but not this emotional. Deep waves of feelings move through me like the ocean and hit me out of nowhere. My empathy and compassion radar constantly pick up on the energy around me to know more about people and their stories.
Photo from Day 68
I want to know that young woman's story. I wanted to know about the darkness she faced and the healing she's experienced. Tell the darkness I did not die has been on my mind since last week. While I walked through the mall, I caught myself needing to stop and take some deep breaths. I wasn't sure what was happening, but I'd become overcome with emotions.
Immediately, I texted Libby DeLana, the author of Do/Walk—the book that got me walking in the first place. I hadn't signed up to be emotionally impacted by daily walks in this way, but I was absolutely getting what I didn't ask for.
Photo from Day 68
AE: I feel so teary all the damn time. Just by looking at people and the world around me, I want to cry.
LD: I think it's because we are consciously moving at the speed of the natural world. We are genuinely in the same beautiful, energetic place as all other living beings. We are IN the world with the rest of the world.
Goddammit, I thought. I already feel deeply as it is—I don't think my heart can take any more feelings. Walking has impacted me on what feels like a cellular level. How on earth is it reprograming me like this?
Libby has must have known I was feeling like this because of the morning walks. She followed up.
LD: We were born to walk. We are lucky to be able-bodied. Adding motion to emotion is a powerful healing tool. Walking for me gently massages my buried emotions reminding me that I'm seen and safe.
I smiled, reading her texts, and was reminded that walking isn't just to get from point A to point B. It's not just this thing we do every day. We are invited to slow down and truly see if we pay attention while we walk and move through the world. We are asked to look at people and not past them. We are invited to hold space for ourselves and others. We are triggered to wonder what pain and joy people carry—how the darkness didn't kill them and how the light welcomes us to try again.
Never have I gotten moved by walking around the mall shopping. But every step I have taken since starting this journey 70 days ago reminds me that I am being invited to look up, ground down, and tune in.
Photo from today, Day 70.
Community: Leave your gratitude moments in the comments or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Calls to Action
Watch my Scenes from Sabbatical, PT.1 here.
Do our Gratitude Meditation on Ritual. Today we are focused on "Home." Listen here.
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