Making My Peace … with the feeling of emptiness
Last week I felt a hole somewhere within my body. Not a physical hole, but a feeling of emptiness. Almost a feeling of loss.
I was not the only one with this feeling. It was a collective emptiness. The cohort of about 60 learners in the September 2022 six-month Energy Medicine course were feeling the same way during the closing ceremony on 2 March 2023.
For six months, we learned from each other, practiced with each other, made ourselves vulnerable with each other, healed each other, supported each other, reassured each other, shared our thoughts and ambitions with each other, and formed strong bonds with each other.
We felt similar and we celebrated our diversity: different ages, genders, backgrounds, nationalities, languages, experiences, abilities, and from different locations and time zones around the world.
All of the participants, teachers, trainers, and mentors were caring, supportive, and loving. All of them were working cohesively to form a safety net for inputs and outputs – practical sessions, demonstrations, weekly homework, assignments, and case studies. In this atmosphere, although initially apprehensive about the difficulties and uncertainties of the course ahead, we did not fear put-downs, ridicule, negativity, or rejection.
And then, it ended.
In reality, the course ended, but not the camaraderie. We have formed a community of like-minded friends and healers.
What has happened is a transformation, from one phase to another: from inexperienced to masterful, from learner to practitioner, from interested in specific topics to questioners and seekers of knowledge, from experiencing linear time to cyclical time, from encountering problems to working on solutions, from one phase of work to a commitment of lifelong service to humanity.
At the end of the course, I now think differently than I did before the course, I eat differently, I react differently, I interact differently, I commune with nature differently, I integrate differently, I re-live events differently, I respect my family and ancestors differently, I speak differently, I sleep differently, and I breathe differently.
The experience is wholly transformative, individually and collectively. And what we have learned is that the connections we have made with each other have transformed from ‘another learner’ to ‘my aiyu – my community.’
My community of like-minded friends lifted me up and sent me on my journey.
The small hand movements at the closing ceremony that were intended to be a timid wave goodbye were actually a collective sigh, a collective emptiness, but also a collective sign of readiness to re-connect in an altered, expanded, and more learned way.
Comparing my feeling of emptiness – the anticipation of losing my community – with the end, the separation of people, after school, university, and work, I know there are similarities. I know that there will be lifelong friendships and kinships as a result of this course. I am still friends with school buddies from 40 years ago, and with people I worked with from the 1980s onwards. I have learned from past experiences that this is not the end, but another new beginning.
Making my peace with the feeling of emptiness, I learned the following:
- Find your community, your tribe, your clan, your group, your team – there will be people somewhere that connect with who you are and lift you up
- Everyone is a learner and everyone is a mentor
- There is power in words – literal, emotive, hidden, and pure
- There is power in stillness
- If apprehensive, unsure, or in doubt, just breathe!
Update: 7 March 2023
To mark the end of the Energy Medicine course, I thought a little celebration was due. As I was in a tea-house near me, I sat at one of their tables and ordered a green tea – jasmine with violets. And a petite Madeleine cake – it’s a plain mini sponge cake originating from the Lorraine region of France. I would call this a ‘muted celebration’ but a celebration nonetheless.
I took out my journal and began to update my plan to implement my learnings. But first, I accepted an invite to attend an online review session organized by course participants – a review of the 10 modules in one session. What a good idea! And what a wonderful way for the community to catch-up again.
On the same day, for a couple of hours, I will meet my mentor again for a similar one-to-one review. It’s always useful to have this supportive atmosphere to discuss my strengths and the areas for me to improve. As with any course, there are aspects that fit with my current work and lifestyle and there are other aspects that don’t fit – or don’t yet fit. The decisions to accept, modify, expand or leave aside will take moments, months, or many years. The journey is mine and personal, yet supported by a community – the community of practitioners.
So, my week will be ‘review and plan the next steps’ to keep the momentum going. It’s also a way to listen and learn from others, to be excited about their future plans, and to consider ways to connect and collaborate.
- Celebrate an achievement, alone or with company, in a big way or a small way, as an acknowledgement of your time and effort
- Summarize your learnings – journal thoughts about the content that excites you, ideas to take forward, and those you still want to improve
- Connect ideas with past learnings that build upon existing skills
- Consider ways to improve yourself and be of service to humanity – big or small ways that are actionable on a regular basis
- Plan to implement (and not just plan to plan) in a way that is personal to you and enjoyable for you
- Acknowledge that the journey started is a journey continued
PS: In the school photo, I’m in the bottom row, seated second from the right, in the dark turtle-neck and dress.