What nightmare are you trying to avoid?

Some days feel easy, and some days feel hard, some feel joyful and unexpected, and some feel insurmountable, maybe even impossible. I’ve had a few of those recently. And I’m learning about how easy avoidance is and how scary and raw acceptance can feel.

But why should we accept the ugly stuff, the heartache, the insurmountable pain that lives somewhere so deep we’re scared to touch it or even look at it?

Once I was advising a group of paediatric palliative care nurses. I asked if it was ok with them if the children they were caring for died. Most said no. They thought it went against the natural order. Yet in America, almost sixty thousand young people under the age of nineteen, half of them infants, die each year.

I brought that up with these caregivers, asking how they would help the children under their watch to relax and die in peace when they were pushing against the experience every time they walked into the room?

The Five Invitations ~ Frank Ostaseski

War, illness, betrayal, the death of a loved one… there are so many things that feel impossible to accept and be at peace with. Yet the truth is, we don’t actually have a choice, these things will come.

The only choice we have lies in whether we allow them to soften our hearts or make them hard, to reveal the beauty of life to us or to slowly mask and bury it under our fear and anger.

So what are you afraid to allow in?

What are you pushing against?

What nightmare are you trying to avoid?

To be human is much more than being born, getting an education, finding the right partner and getting a pretty house on a nice street.

It is an invitation to feel everything, to come into direct contact with the strange, beautiful, horrible, and often pretty ordinary thing we call life.

It is an opportunity to be conscious of the fact that some of us will make love while others make war. To embrace the night screams in refugee camps and the giggling of children in living rooms under tents made of couch pillows and bedsheets. There is devastation and hopelessness, and there is passion and holy commitment to creating a better future for everyone. There is me writing and you reading and the separation between us, and there is the unity we feel almost immediately when we are reminded that there is love.

The Five Invitations ~ Frank Ostaseski

There is love.

May you find a way to accept and welcome whatever you are facing.

And may love guide you into and through those scary places.

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