Embracing the valleys of life

The ups and downs of life are not only normal, but that *is* the stuff of life. The ebb and flow, the gains and the losses, all of it weaves together. The peaks are easy for us to be present to ... It's those damn valleys that we seem to have the most trouble with. Labelling them as bad or wrong or as fuckups just amplifies the pain, adding an unnecessary layer of suffering to the experience.

And if we can remember to breathe, be present, allow our hearts to remain open and actually allow life to impact us instead of shutting down our feelings, then we are learning to open to the gifts that come with the lows. The lows can act as a heart tenderizer to our souls, allowing us to feel more, to experience more of life in all its facets. This unconditional opening/surrender also helps us be that much more available to the peak experiences. It's been my experience that the more I can be open to the lows, the more rich my life becomes across the board. Because when I hold my arms open to all of it as magical, I remain in the flow of life's gifts.

It reminds me of a section of one of my favorite poems by Kahlil Gibran:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

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