My new favorite band is Phox. I was introduced to them a few months ago, and I’ll admit it, I can’t get enough. Some days, I have days where my eccentricities come out, and the playlist jumps around, other days, I listen to one song over and over until I get sick of it. This is the case today with Phox’s “Slow Motion.” Stop reading and watch the video, then play it again as you come back to the blog and finish reading. Go ahead… I’ll wait.
First, Phox should be your new favorite band too. Second, there’s an amazing clarinet solo and dance party- Who does that?!? Unreal. Third, there isn’t anything about this song that doesn’t fit my mood today and my life right now. There is no doubt that I’m moving in slow motion, and given my personality, it’s my first instinct to see that as a bad thing. But it’s not. I’m slowing down I’m feeling the feels, I’m moving out of survival and into a new normal. I’m not there yet, but it’s a slow movement toward those things. The hard part is that the world seems to be moving around me going at hyper-speed.
The majority of the video is spent with her at a party, and while others seem to be carefree, she carries a weight. That weight is sustained throughout the video. Sometimes she is alone in her melancholy, other times, she seems to be joined by the rest of the band. But even when joined their weight is individual (all facing one direction or away from each other), it is not shared as the joy and laughter seem to be.
This really struck home to me. It is easy to share in joy, and joy is contagious. I even smiled at the dance party because it looks fun, people are having fun. It even makes me want to hate hipsters less (okay… maybe not). But what about melancholy? It’s lonely. Others can “be there” with you, others can accompany you, but really you are alone with the weight, the hurt, the anxiety. It’s important not to rush the process out, but it’s not like joy.
Last night I spent a few hours in prayer. I allowed myself to feel all the feels, feel the weight that was on me, feel my heart break for those whom I love in similar situations, let my heart break for where I am in life, that I have to integrate the dark and the light of life and understand that this is a continuous challenge, but a necessary and healthy one. I asked myself, as I often do in these kind of prayers where it hurts. I mean physically, where does it hurt?
I’ve been asking myself this question for years. It started with a clergy coach who was teaching me to be a “non-anxious presence” during meetings. She told me to locate in my physical body where the tension was manifesting itself, when I could release that tension physically, then I could also mentally release the tension. It helped.
A few years later I read a poem by Rabia of Basra (c. 717-801) a Sufi poet. She said this:
“Show me where it hurts, God said, and every cell in my body burst into tears before His tender eyes.”
So when I hurt, I now ask myself this from God, “Show me where it hurts.” I just observe, try not to judge. Last night the pain struck directly to my heart and I mean in my heart. Yes, my chest but on the left side of my body, there is actually an ache in my heart, it’s not on the right side. Locating where the pain is physically manifesting itself allows me to feel and experience the sorrow that is beyond tears. For the cells of my body are crying out. The pain doesn’t immediately disappear, but it’s a way to live in the midst of the fog. In the midst of the slow motion that my life is moving in, while everything around me seems to be moving forward.
If you too are moving in slow motion or know someone who is this practice is worth a try. After some time experiencing the pain physically it will be time to release it, but not internalize it. Today, as I went through the rite of the Sacrament of Communion at the local hospital and I read these words from Jesus:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:28-30
My experience of God is this, when God asks me where it hurts and I can allow the pain to be exchanged between us in prayer, the burden lessens. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but it does. This is my hope and my peace.