Life is a Banquet

Last week was a low spot in my life. Within four days, I had to say good-bye to my beloved pet, and my ninety-year old mother fell and broke her hip. The combination of these two events happening within days, dropped me into a place of sorrow and grief.

I vacillated between quiet, gentle crying to giant sobs that racked my body and made me feel I was being ripped apart in my core.  During one of those moments, when I was holding my cat and crying into her fur, I suddenly saw the naked reality that life is a banquet and, as such, the menu changes. Some days the table is laden with delicious desserts and bowls of hot, buttered popcorn, and others it has liver and onions, rhubarb pie, turnips, and oily fishy, fish. 

Last week, the table seemed to have more liver and onions than chocolate cheesecake. I understand that whether I like what’s on the table or not, it is for my benefit to partake fully of whatever is present.

Single Teared Emotion

Single Teared Emotion (Photo credit: Megyarsh)

I sense the wisdom of complete participation in the experience of the death of my loved one, and the pain of my mother’s state of being. I feel both pulled and pushed to give myself over, unconditionally, to that which is before me. I see the redemptive value of crying until I have no more tears, and of not trying to get rid of my sorrow, but instead, to walk through it with dignity and peace. 

I understand that the menu of life can switch in an instant, from joy and exuberance, to doubt and anxiety, to clarity and excitement, and sometimes to sadness and pain.  Often,  I like everything on the table, and I eat with gusto and joy. Then there are those times, when what’s placed before me is something I don’t really like. Though I may want to leave the table, I see how important it is to pull up a chair, and with a heart filled with gratitude for life, to eat and drink what is being served.

 To refuse to partake in what is set before us, is to deny life. In the grand scheme of things, it’s all good because it’s all part of the whole. To attempt to differentiate between what’s good and what isn’t, is a waste of energy. When we can experience all of life with gratitude, whatever is set before us turns into a blessing.

There is no cure for sadness or grief. Working longer hours, entertainment, travel, an affair, or any kind of busyness, only prolongs our pain. I read somewhere that if we do not go fully into our sorrow, it will be waiting somewhere down the road for us.  Going head first into the process moves us closer from the dark night of the soul to the morning light.  

By making a conscious choice to walk all the way through this valley, I have been blessed beyond belief. Mixed in with my grief is such a depth of gratitude, because I feel I have been wrapped in a sacred presence. The more I show up for the meal set before me, the stronger the presence of that which is larger than me.

In this valley, I’ve learned what it feels like to have another reach across the aisle to take my hand and share my pain. A few of my friends who knew my cat and the love that she and I shared, called me so they could cry with me. These beautiful women had a need to share my sorrow, and as we sat crying together, the geographical distance between us was bridged by the gift of loving support. 

Women supporting women

 Many, some whom I’ve never even met, have reached out to me with messages of love and concern.  All of these people, in their own devotion to life and consciousness, sensed my grief and wanted to share their love and compassion.

Fully participating in the highs and lows of life has given me a new definition of the power of being present to each moment. I know that it’s okay to lay on the floor and cry, to feel the rawness of the pain, and to break open with laughter as I jump to the heavens with joy.

These experiences are all part of what’s being served at the banquet table of life, and I intend to be present to whatever is put before me. I trust in that which is greater than me to know what I need at any given moment.

I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? Please share your comments with me.

An Excerpt from Miriam Greenspan’s book: 
 Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair   

Fear, grief and despair are uncomfortable and are seen as signs of personal failure. In our culture we call them “negative” and think of them as “bad.” I prefer to call these emotions “dark,” because I like the image of a rich, fertile soil from which something unexpected can bloom. Also we keep them “in the dark” and tend not to speak about them. We privatize them and don’t see the ways in which they are connected to the world. But the dark emotions are inevitable. They are part of the universal human experience and are certainly worthy of our attention. They bring us important information about ourselves and the world and can be vehicles of profound transformation.

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About brendamarroy

blogger, and author
This entry was posted in Consciousness, healing stories, inspirational, peace, spiritual and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Life is a Banquet

  1. Jonesingafter40 says:

    We’ve had our share of liver and onions lately too and I am ready for the cheesecake! I said to someone this morning that I am definitely in a valley but moving toward the mountain again. Hope you are too. So sorry to hear about the loss of your pet…:(

    • brendamarroy says:

      Thanks Stacy. Without valleys, we’d not know what a mountain was. So, valleys are important and serve a great purpose. I’m feeling the sap rising within, so I think some chocolate cheesecake is on the way. :))

  2. WillSpirit says:

    Brenda–

    This is a beautiful metaphor: life as a meal with many courses. You so capture the essence of true spirituality, which requires us to eat the every course with full mindfulness, even those we don’t like or wish we could skip. Such a powerful way of seeing hardship, and so useful in difficult times. I am sorry to hear of your recent sorrows and very much appreciate your sharing them and your beautiful way of making sense of it all.

    • brendamarroy says:

      Thank you Will. Since I read your blog, I know that you’ve been going through some difficult times also.
      Being fully present to life seems to be what’s required to heal ourselves fully. I know of no other way through the valley, except by practicing mindfulness. I’m just so grateful to be here at this time and to have an opportunity to experience life as it is.

  3. Roseann T. Kriebel says:

    You hit it, Brenda! Excellent example… A good message for us all.

  4. intuitiveone says:

    Grief is crazy. One day you’re up and the next….It’s rough losing a pet. They are so present in our lives. A big cyber hug for you. Sending you love and positive enegy.

  5. I certainly know that your blog is more than losing your cat, but oh how I feel your sorrow. I lost my two cats in 2011 within a few months of each other, and the emptiness was so great. Losing them is one thing and the greatest grief of course, but missing them daily as you expect them to wander up and say hello was hard to take.. I cried out loud but the crying within my very soul made made my stomach muscles tighten.

    For some who have not had pets or they have not been ‘part of their family’ it may seem like an overkill of emotion, but it is very real

    And the grief that you feel with your mother breaking her hip, also brings back for me some memories which are sorrowful. My mother broke her hip shortly after going into a nursing home..now this was many years ago. She passed away 24 years ago but for the last 7 years of her life she deteriorated. She had a brain aneurysm and had brain surgery a few years prior to entering the nursing home. Because of this her mental status changed and when she broke her hip she was no longer able to ‘learn’ to walk again.

    I used to go home each time I visited her and just cry out loud in my car….why why why…and while I don’t know the answer, I am sure that I will one day.

    To deny the anguish I felt, would have been to deny how much I loved her…and so I agree that we must express these feelings or be without love.

    • brendamarroy says:

      Diane,
      Thank you for your heartfelt words. It’s never easy to let go of someone or something we love. However, I’ve learned how futile holding on can be.
      I find myself looking around for my cat, and I still step around where her water fountain used to be, so I don’t kick it. I know it will take time to adjust, and I’m okay with that.
      My mother is actually doing better and at this point, it looks like she will be okay.
      I don’t have the answers to why life happens the way it does either. All I do have is the willingness to not know why, and the desire to keep on walking the path with dignity and grace.

  6. brendamarroy says:

    Thanks Betsy. I feel better today than I did last week. I already notice the grief beginning to lighten up a bit. Life is good and I’m living it to the fullest. Hugs and kisses back to you my dear friend.

  7. Betsy says:

    Brenda, you will come through the pain and sorrow into the light when you are ready to do so. Until then, i applaud your giving way to grief and crying when you feel like it. Bottled-up emotions do us no good. Shared emotions allow us to join with you in joy and grief. And when you feel like dancing naked in the sunlight again, we’ll be there with you. Hugs and kisses.

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