In the midst of life’s ups and down, I am grateful for that which is steady, familiar, and comfortable.
I haven’t always seen things this way.
Too often, I’ve resisted the “ordinariness” of my life. I’ve fallen prey to the myth that I should be better and more. I’ve been exhausted by endlessly waiting for something, anything, everything to change. I’ve searched and searched outside myself for a fix, for respite, for “salvation,” so to speak.
I still do sometimes. Thankfully, less and less.
These days, “ordinary” feels like respite. Better and more feel like lies (because they are). I rarely wait or hope or pine for change. And bit by bit I am learning to look within and somewhat-miraculously discover everything I need.
Even this is comforting: these slow-but-sure shifts.
“Comfort is so much more than bubble baths and chocolate. Not that both aren’t fabulous, but the popular conception of comfort is often about numbing out or escaping, not about truly finding a way to face into things honestly and authentically.” ~ Jen Louden
True, deep comfort is found when we face things honestly and authentically, when we ARE our honest and authentic selves. The opposite is also true: when we are NOT our honest and authentic selves, (deep) comfort is impossible to find.
I came across a different expression of this truth in a book I read this past week (and highly recommend): Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May.
She says, “We ‘want’ in the archaic sense of the word, as if we are lacking something and need to absorb it in order to be whole again. These wants are often astonishingly inaccurate: drugs and alcohol, which poison instead of reintegrate; relationships with people who do not make us feel safe or loved; objects that we do not need, cannot afford, which hang around our necks like albatrosses of debt long after the yearning for them has passed. Underneath this chaos and clutter lies a longing for more elemental things—love, beauty, comfort . . . “
“Chaos and clutter” come when we look outside ourselves for wholeness; when we forget that WE are what we need. Said another way: WE are the font from which deep comfort flows.
Quite frankly, even knowing what I know now, it is still a struggle to trust all that dwells within me, to receive the deep comfort that is and always has been mine. I want nothing more. And I am certain that every bit of this—this learning to turn within—is a process, a journey, a heroine’s quest, an endless discovery, the gift of life itself.
“A woman discovers the way home to herself in a quiet descent into the richness of her own life. In the descent, she reverses the tendency to look outside of herself for salvation. In the “deep places,” she reunites with her essential self and reclaims her natural resources.” ~ Patricia Lynn Reilly
THIS is comfort, yes?
A woman who knows to live in ways that are not dependent on external circumstances, other people, better and more, success or not.
A woman who knows to dive deep below the surface to find respite and calm; to be and remain whole.
A woman who knows she can quiet the clamor and din, discern among pressures and demands, by listening to her heart.
A woman who knows that being her honest and authentic self is her birthright – whether or not that creates dis-comfort for others.
A woman who knows joy is to be found in the ordinary, in the rhythms and routines that provide both structure and support.
A woman who knows she has more to express, more to reveal, more to offer, more to give; who nurtures all that she carries within; who cannot help but birth ever more of her true-and-beautiful self into the world.
We’re invited to all of this and then some. We’re invited home . . . to ourselves . . . at last. Comfort, to be sure.
May it be so.