My chiropractor told me this morning that not all the pain I seem to be harboring in my body this week is my own. "Direct your breathing to this spot," she says as she presses her warm hands into the small of my back. "Feel what emotions are being triggered there, and release them. They may be old, they may not even be yours. Tell your body and your emotions that what matters is what's here, and what's now."
Like me, she's a bit of an empath, and so she understands when I explain how hard it was to read about that gang-rape in California, and how saddened I am that a dear friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I told her I had been doing some tonglen -- breathing in other people's pain, and breathing out my own joy to help -- and she says that may not be the best practice for me right now; that perhaps I need to more attentive to my own needs.
My husband had an appointment with her this morning, too, and afterwards, as we walked out together, I thought of this image; of the two of us floating away together on a soothing sea of love. Some days you just need to rest in that space and let the troubles of the world be somewhere else. Some days you need to fill your own cup and not worry so much about filling others. What I tell others needs to be what I tell myself.
But it's not all that easy.