Pondering Your Existential Weight?
It was one of my teachers and healers, Antonio Barros who first spoke to me about “existential weight.” I was not familiar with this term before, but when he named it such, it was instantly resonant for me. I’m sharing it with you now and asking you to ponder it with me.
Many years ago, my father’s cancer got to a point where my Mom could no longer care for him on her own. In a conversation with her, we talked about my coming out to help her set up hospice for him. I was eager to do so, given my professional background in healthcare and a fairly grounded understanding of how hospice works. As the time grew closer to leaving on the flight to my parents’ home, I felt anxious and uncertain about how I would hold up and step into this task as a professional, not as a heartbroken daughter. At the airport, I was accompanied by my beloved Steve and our close friends, Sissy and Kathleen. They all sensed my fear that day and my reluctance to let them leave the airport. Sissy held me firmly by the shoulders, looked me right in the eyes and said, “Go now, Lindsay, this is yours to do!”
I got it! This was mine to do. There could be no real “help” with this task, it was something I had to carry on my own and simply do what was required.
Humans will attempt to unravel and translate the more profound experiences of our lives to discover their significance. At the very least, we reflect on these deep experiences in search of a level of understanding and placement of them in the larger scheme of things. We do it to enable ourselves to recognize the potency of the moment and its influence on our lives. The effort itself shows us something new about who we are as possibility and offers us the opportunity to alter how we show up. Each of these events shapes us, whether we are conscious of it or not. Though arguably, even our consciousness contributes to the very weight of what we choose. When Sissy reminded me that the trip was mine to do, I felt stronger and more determined in that moment. I said an internal “yes” that emboldened me towards greater capacity.
When Antonio planted the seed of existential weight, I received it as a tender lesson in acceptance. At any given moment, we can be faced with circumstances far beyond our control in an irrational world of great complexity. Chaos or the burden of the unexpected may loom around any corner. With openness and robust acceptance, we can meet these challenges with less resistance and at least a modicum of grace. Rarely is it easy to be in acceptance, but our world is demanding that we stretch ourselves more so that we can perhaps carry another’s weight, along with our own, over the threshold of abominable dreadfulness and deliver them into acceptance where they can eventually restore enough vigor to carry the weight themselves.
If you are so inclined, please share your ponderings with me at Lindsay@Authenticore.com.
It is with admiration that I work with capable women who come face to face with injury, surgery or a difficult diagnosis. I guide them holistically to navigate the medical trauma and maneuver through the emotional mayhem so they can return to a vibrant, independent life. If you or someone you know has such a challenge, I would deeply appreciate you sending them to AuthentiCore.com to contact me to see if we are a good fit to work together.