Aug 31 • 18M

Folding In 33

Start Close In. Beware the halfhearted life.

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Sarah Blondin is a free newsletter. If you love it, consider supporting it financially. For $7/mo, you’ll gain access to “Folding In” journal entries, poetry and the occasional live group meditation gathering. My work here is reader-supported, hence the lack of ads and sponsors. Thank you!

I figured out why writing has been my chosen expression. I heard someone say that we are born with a whole language and only know one-half of it. The half we know is what we can see. The tangible, the facts of the material world. The laws. The methods on how to behave and succeed, the morals and the lines. The cultural anecdotes. The 'good' the 'bad,' the harsh black and white lines dividing everything from each other. This one-sided language, however, refuses to see the soul of things. The inner life of the person, struggling to feel its place and belonging, to know its actual value and worth, to feel deeply seen by anyone. It seems we are born aching to know we have an anchor, a hold. Aching to be shown how to find this anchor and how to lower it deep into the well of our hearts before setting off in any direction. But because we have mostly only learned to speak of what is outside, these bright beings born new on the shore of life, this you and me, all brilliant and open like pearls newly glistening in the light, mostly absorb 'what is' and start to sync themselves to the wrong sounds. 

We know how the outer reverberates, after all, we were born directly into it, and like a sponge, we became engrossed in our surroundings. But somewhere inside, a song plays from a room we can't seem to find. A one-sided conversation goes on inside the human heart that longs for our companionship. And while very few spoke to us in the language of heart and spirit, we still feel it is there. We can sense it, like some distant cry in the body. We know it's here. Asking to be born through us.

When I was just a little girl, I knew two worlds were going on inside a person and one we rarely exposed. To have so much hidden frightened me. My heart began to hurt. No one could help me with this hurt because there were no words. No language to help describe the tension caused by witnessing life. Life was not something safe to leap into as I so very much wanted to. It was somehow very unsafe, unsound for all the leaping I had planned. Nothing seemed to be considered sacred, and yet my heart felt it was so. To ease my fright, I have tried to find words and names for the unspoken. It comforts me to tease out the real meaning within things, the story inside the story of the body—the story behind the reason for the reacting, the retracting, the hurt. Without words, we cannot trace the lines of the whole picture. Without language, there will always be one part half alive, half-realized, half loved. Half painted; half seen. Half as beautiful as it could and should be.

To excavate this other half to our language requires we take that step we don’t want to take, and it’s not always easy to live so ‘close in’ to a thing. To sit close to a feeling, be it unsettling or life-giving, to sit close to the reality of our coming death and loss, to admit the mistreatment of things, and let that truth cut to the bone is a skill foreign and frightening to each of us. There is a reason we do not know this deeper side to our language— it can hurt and sometimes be scary and dangerous to carry what is inside us out in the bright light. To say what we see and feel has long been reserved for the ‘heretics’ and ‘hysterical.’ Forging this new language, using the heart as the tuning fork, and boldly calling out the pain and injustice has gotten us stoned and burned on stakes. The reason for our half-spoken language is that there is a hefty price tied to learning and sharing it. 

I took a more extended-than-expected break from my writing because I didn't want to come back 'close in.' I let myself drift above, halfhearted through my days and moments because I wanted to take back a promise I made. A promise I've made many times in my most intimate and close conversations with the unseen, God. Creation. 

For whatever reason, I feel I have been tasked with deep seeing. I say tasked because when we find our gift, we are to respond to that gift— to use it, to contribute to the conversation being had through us—tasked with the sometimes-arduous duty of helping to point to and heal the weak parts in ourselves, and in our world. I understand this now, as life has made it very clear, opening doors and bringing people to aid in this sacred unearthing and discovery of language. A community of others, knowing somewhere deep this is the work we are to do now:

  • Expose and heal.

  • Iron out and name.

  • Soften and disarm decades of futile and exhausting armament.

We are to build a bridge to a new land, which begins with a new language for all the feelings and things we do not know how to name—but can sense, deeply knotted in our core. This close seeing, this close-up feeling, will birth a compassionate ring that can hold all parts of our humanity. I am part of this repairing and learning, as are you, and together we must sit as close to the fire as we can. Halfhearted living is no way to live. I saw if I stayed where I was these last few weeks, I would dry and crack like the bottom of an old riverbed. I would have nothing to give. Imagine we were to each stay paralyzed in our drifting and distractions? There would be nothing left on earth. Just desert blowing sand in circles.

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