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I have had an affinity for the Simon and Garfunkel song "Sound of Silence" for as long as I can remember. This weekend I had a very interesting set of experiences visiting some streets I had walked several times in my youth.

After seeing all that was to be seen and leaving the space, I am left haunted and feeling a bit low. The first half of this song rings in my ears when I try to filter through the emotional tide I am experiencing.

"Hello darkness, my old friend I've come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone Narrow streets of cobblestone 'Neath the halo of a street lamp I turned my collar to the cold and damp When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light That split the night And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw Ten thousand people, maybe more People talking without speaking People hearing without listening People writing songs that voices never share No one dared Disturb the sound of silence"

I am still struggling for the accurate words to describe everything I felt and saw this weekend. It was threaded with great time with family and friends and I feel the need to point this out as the rest of the experiences seem to cloud those important ones.

I walked the streets, knowing they would be different, and yet still surprised at the differences. It appeared safe but felt less safe that it did years ago when it was this punk rock, gritty place.

I saw people walking on the streets, I saw people begging on the streets, and I saw all of their pain, attachments, and ... well - I saw some of their demons. It has left me with this feeling that I usually reserve for a mind blowing documentary that shows me the seedy underbelly of humanity I already know is there, but avoid acknowledging - constantly trying to fill my life, my small bubble of the world with light and love.

My empathy knows better though and as I acknowledge this, there is this all consuming compulsion to eat it for everyone. I feel the dis-eases seeping through our society, through our brothers and sisters - and either through my own discomfort or acknowledgement of theirs - I want to eat it, to take it away from them, to expel it somehow.

What my journey has taught me so far has my entire form begging me to do otherwise now. "Don't eat that, it's not yours to eat" is the continued message. So now I find myself lost in a storm of discomfort - seeking to make it comfortable and knowing that I can't eat it - in order to keep myself going - I cannot eat it. So what do I do with it? The tools I once used no longer work or apply. How do I help?

The answer is always to go within. If the world mirrors things to us - what was the message I got from this experience? Typing this out - I see it's two fold. Yet another lesson in boundary - "don't eat it; you can't save them; it's their journey to follow and find". Also a message on my own messiness. Things I have been either consciously or unconsciously pushing to the side in the name of the hustle - cleaning my office, attention to my physical and mental health. "What am I consuming? What am I feeding myself" - as we know - nourishment comes in all forms - media, food, people, environments. I've been changing so rapidly, I haven't been mindful of these things - I have overlooked the details.

The "problem" is now that I'm aware of it, I have to start doing something about it. The question is "What?" - and though I don't know what exactly that "what" looks like - I know that it looks like something new and different. This weekend, I bought healthier options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and did some meal planning to make it an easier choice for me to make. I signed up for a pole class to get in touch with my physical form. I am going to address my office between work hours and purge and organize. If I can start with the small steps and be loving and compassionate with myself through the process - surely, I can make changes that not only light me up, but light up the people around me.

Though this "darkness" is a friend I haven't visited with in quite some time - admittedly, I thought she was gone forever - I am not resisting. I am listening. There are teachings in the shadows too - and so, I sit and listen. I seek to understand so that I may grow again. May I integrate all parts and aspects of myself, love them more deeply, and shine brighter than ever.

If you have read this far, thank you for your attention and time. I hope it speaks to you in some way and inspires you to attend to your own details, to sit with your shadow aspects, to love and integrate all aspects of you, and to grow - shining brightly for all to see.

In love and gratitude - Suze

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