On Sunday (11th November) at 11am, I sat at our kitchen table with a candle in silence for a few minutes.
I attempted to ‘remember them’.
And many images of life in the trenches, going over the top, young men gunned down, constant shell explosions, rushed through my head… a mash-up of the imagined horrors dropped there by numerous films, documentaries, books, and my own imaginings.
I felt some grief. I cried. And then I remembered the person I knew best from that time: my great-grandfather. He was injured in body and mind by that war. And his years in hospital after the war were more for shell shock than the shrapnel.
I remember him so clearly: his hand shaking violently as he poured hot water from a kettle off the black stove to make tea – those long-ago-created injuries shaking through the whole of his life, and his descendants too, in one way or another.
Whenever I consider those who fought in those two wars, including our relatives, the thought I have is one that many of you might well have…
How lucky I am not to have experienced that. How brave they were back then. How much they struggled, and how resilient they were.
And… “Well, what have I got to worry about?”, compared to that.
The relativity of pain.
Do you know that?
“Well, I shouldn’t complain, there are many people who are suffering so much more than me.”
And we put aside whatever pain it is we’re feeling, almost guilty to feel it, when others struggle so much more.
Well, here’s a new thought:
We shouldn’t so quickly dismiss our own pain and struggle because of some idea of the greater pain and struggling of others.
Quite the opposite.
It is when we feel our own pain or sadness when it arises (and it arises for most of us at one time or another), that our hearts open.
And it is only when our hearts open that we can truly connect with the pain of others.
We can only reach out to the other hearts in this world through our own hearts. We don’t do it via our heads.
It is thus the openness to our own tender hearts that connects us with the millions of other tender hearts on this planet.
That’s where compassion arises.
That’s when we see and feel the similarities not the differences.
And it’s a critical part of being human.
So, perversely, in order to truly remember others, past and present (We Will Remember Them), we have to remember ourselves, that tender part of ourselves.
Our invitation now, post-armistice anniversary is –
We Will Remember Us (our own tender selves)
and through that We Will Remember Them, every day.
That remembering ourselves is at the core of Gaia’s powerful ‘F**k It Be You’ teaching.
And we’re going to be sharing her nearly-finished mini-workshop videos soon (next week).
Please don’t forget…
John & Gaia x