Friday, April 9, 2021

H is for Hurting on High Line #AtoZChallenge

Dear Readers,
Welcome to the second week of the #Blogging from A to Z  April Challenge 2021. My theme this year is based on the Japanese concept of Ichigo Ichie which means--"What we are experiencing right now will never happen again. And therefore, we must value each moment like a beautiful treasure."

Thank you.


The post today is a departure from the 'feel good' moments I've covered thus far in the challenge. Sometimes, painful moments hurtle towards us like meteors and can potentially throw us off balance, carve out massive craters in our hearts and leave us feeling empty, if we let them. 

They are necessary though. 

They are as valuable as the happy ones for they show us our other side, the unpleasant part of us; those undesirable  character traits which we only see in others.

I once read somewhere that the 'thing' that irritates you the most about a friend, partner, colleague, offspring, sibling is something you're in desperate need to address within you. 

It's a bitter pill to swallow. Over the last four/five years of paying attention to what ticks me off in others, I'm beginning to see the wisdom of this odd logic.

Let's take you straight into that moment with a poem called:
Hurting on High Line

Torn and shredded
lay my insides
the womb that had birthed them
travelled up to where my heart used to be
and displaced it.

My children, all grown up
didn't look like their baby photos any more.

At the brink of adulthood they stood
scraping out chasms between us
and filling them with words so hurtful,
I couldn't believe they were mine.

How could this be?
Where had I gone wrong?
What could I have done differently?
No answers came that day.

We went ahead with our plans anyway:
To explore a garden 
greening an abandoned spur.

Hurt, the artful Grandmaster
played us like pawns
using indifference and silence to open
her chequered game of blame.
We were putty
in the master's hands
slaying each other on her command.

Hope grew in between the rail tracks that day.
whispering patience on petals
softening the rigid lines of metal 
and malleable clay
so seeds may sprout gentle compassion
we find easy to profess for those that don't see us as honestly
as our children do.
Not all moments that stick are memorable for the right reasons. My daughter and I had gotten into a nasty argument that morning. We had a couple of days together in NYC and my sister had planned a wonderful day for all of us. So, we went ahead with the plans but every time I look at these photos, it reminds me of the journey my daughter and I took that day in 2019--beginning with pain and hurt, muddling through with start/ stop/start  again talks and tears and ultimately reaching love, where we are today--somehow finding our way to each other's point of view

In fact, over the past couple of years, I've come across many of my friends who've shared similar episodes with their almost grown up children. 

This is new to most of us as we never had the 'freedom' to be so honest with our parents. By default, we expect our children to follow in our footsteps. 

Every generation feels short-changed by their predecessors. Our children are no different. 

I'm learning to figure out that the hurt we exchange with our children/loved ones/friends/colleagues when we lash out at each other is the residue of what's churning inside. 

A happy person will never inflict pain on another. I'm beginning to see a pattern. The ones who have an opinion on everything or complaint about most things are hurting inside. I'm not here to preach or pretend that such people aren't annoying, but, maybe, they're the ones who need our 'listening' ears and an open heart more than the ones who we always love to hang out with. 

Whenever I'm hit by a tsunami of self-doubt, I turn to books and their wisdom.

This time, it was 'The Parent's Tao Te Ching' by  William Martin. And here are the lines that helped me: 
"Compassion, patience and simplicity 
cannot be taught 
until they are experienced
And when we experience them,
we lose the need to teach them.
We live them instead.
And then our children learn."  

From another page of the same book:

"Children become confused 
when parents become rigid, 
holding rules above love.
Be consistently flexible.
Hold tight only to compassion."

Question: Should we value all of our moments as treasures and hold onto them?  Even the painful ones? 

Answer: Wise people illustrate the futility of holding on to pain with a simple experiment. Take a jar. Fill it with whatever you fancy (water, doubt, pain, pebbles, hurt). Hold this jar in your hand and extend your arm. You'll notice that the longer you hold on to it, the heavier and more painful it gets. Something like those moments/memories. Instead, if I use these moments as reminders or guides to look inward, to figure out my truth, to find out why it hurt at all and then let go, I'm able to put the jar down and move on.

Life's too short. I choose to revisit that which makes me happy and learn from that which made me sad once.

After all this sombre soul searching, let's wrap up the 'H' post with some photos of the 'hopeful and happy' garden we walked through that day in September of 2019.

The High Line is a "rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York City." according to Wikipedia

Have you held on to a jar of water/ pain/ hurt for too long and then let go? If you'd like to share your findings with me, you know I'd love to hear.

Last year, I explored a Welsh word and the longing it invokes with H is for Hiraeth post.

This year, I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z  powered by 


  1. A beautiful post; something that makes us think. The same rule would apply to all relationships, imo. Love the pictures too. So vibrant and colorful.

  2. The "hopeful and happy" garden looks good, wild and remote. You are very true, holding the jar away is not the solution, but require a lot of work on oneself.
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

    1. Yes, indeed. Work- in -progress is what I am:)

  3. Hmm.. I need time to absorb this...yes we all have gone through this phase-just as our parents did. As for the jar- we know it hurts yet it`s not easy to let go isn`t it?

    1. Arti, I'll use a gardening analogy to share what works for me. Deadheading old and spent blooms encourages new ones as the plant can then focus on the new growth rather than going to seed. Letting go (one old and faded bloom/hurt at a time to) can make the jar lighter to carry.
      Thank you for reading and engaging with my thoughts here. xx

  4. Hari OM
    such important 'hurt' moments are also teaching moments - and you seem to have grabbed that and explored the lesson very well! We all have at least one, and almost certainly more, of those times. I am grateful that I am not a 'jar holder' - but it has to be noted that one sister most definitely is and it astounds me how often grudges from childhood emerge in our interactions as 'adults' - it gets fraught when I am not prepared to be dragged into (or down by) History!!! YAM xx

    1. I like that you're able to resist the drag of history:)
      Your comment resonates with me so profoundly. Cheers.

  5. Being a mother to my daughter and a daughter to my mother....I have tasted this sweet and sour fruit called HURT multiple times. Still learning though. No matter how prepared you think you are, you are never! As you said, these are necessary lessons to evolve as a person. Hope & Hurt travel together overtaking each other, turning along with the road or going offroad sometimes.
    This poem is a poem for life and applies to any relation which involves more than one person. Iam floored by your vocabulary to express such emotions, such delicate feelings with so much clarity and utmost sensibility. I felt the Hurt and the Hope in perfect balance. Mashallah!
    These photographs are SIMPLY MIND BLOWING GOOD, as if they are displayed in an Art Gallery. Mashallah again!

    1. the 'thing' that irritates you the most about a friend, partner, colleague, offspring, sibling is something you're in desperate need to address within you- Read this post again & this is something I have learnt from you. Thank you.

    2. Hugs and more hugs to you dear Vidya.

      And I'm reminded of the 'thing; everyday. But, now that I know where it lives (truly)--inside me rather than in others--I'm able to make my peace with it and learn. But, it's an ongoing sadhana:)

  6. Holding on to hurt and grudges take us nowhere...We need to be compassionate and we ourselves need to be first in line on the receiving end....Somehow hurt has the capacity to go much deeper into our soul and reach a level of awakening than happiness

    1. So true Jayashree. We are worthy of our own compassion--well said.

  7. Arti, this post was so heart touching. Hurtful moments are equally important because they teach us so much. With every successive generation, things change and I think it's very important. Thank you for this much needed post.

  8. Such a tender and thought-provoking post Arti. I've found that those times of deep injury to my heart can indeed end up being the greatest teachers. To learn something about yourself, even if it is painful, can be an opportunity for liberation. But it can be so helpful to hold it in a container of compassion and forgiveness for self and other. Not such an easy thing when the wound is right there bleeding all over the place, and yet I've never found it serves anyone to keep stabbing at it (my version of holding the jar). To breathe into the unfolding, to understand that this was a course correction, and to know love is strong and resilient, just as we ultimately can be, are very useful things to keep reminding myself.

    Your observation about different experiences/expectations between your generation and your daughter's is profound both personally, but also in the bigger context of how we're all navigating this world I think. We keep working towards evolving, but we're never all operating at the same speed or on the same track, and there are always wobbles, if not downright falling of the tracks. I think the only solution that makes sense for me is to love more - love more fiercely, more wildly, more boldly - my self, the other, and especially love the rift that may either bring us closer or ultimately part us. We don't, we can't I believe, see these things as gifts in the moment. But what if they are - what if every moment is an exploration of frequency, and I can use my experiences as a way to perceive how I may be expressing or suppressing my divine light? That moves it all into a greater state of grace, and my ego-self can release some of the hurt. Sorry I seemed to have rambled on endlessly, but I'll end on a happy note as you did, and say those photos of the doors are fabulous.

    1. I'm so glad you let the 'rambling' be. Like your posts, I've savoured your comment with relish and a smile on my face. I'll be reading it again and again. Thank you for your generosity. To spend time and love to write so deeply in the middle of an A to Z says a lot about the writer. Love and gratitude to you dear Deborah.

  9. The artwork on the Rail Trail suggests that hopefulness and happiness are just beyond the door waiting to be opened. And I heartily agree with your comments: "Life's too short. I choose to revisit that which makes me happy and learn from that which made me sad once."
    H is for Hawaiian hibiscus

    1. I love the way you saw that photo Gail.
      I hadn't seen the symbolism till I read your comment.
      Thank you for visiting and for this comment.

  10. I think it is import to learn and grow from all our experiences but holding onto the painful ones is not necessarily helpful. Acknowledging and moving on yes - but, dwelling no. I love that last line of the second passage, "Hold tight only to compassion." I think as parents it is our biggest gift - for our children to know love and compassion from us. Weekends In Maine

    1. So true Karen. We have to live that which we hope for our children.

  11. Wow loved the snaps Arti. What a thought provoking post. I still haven't understood that concept of 'what usually irritates us or annoys us in others is what we have inside us unresolved '...I guess I need few more years and lessons to get to understand this concept fully. I agree with holding the jar concept... In such a simple way you have explained... But yes, it is so so difficult to let go of that jar isn't it.. We just keep filling and filling it. At least if we could build a hole in it then also it could work but we don't even do that!

    1. Thanks Ira.
      Let me share an example with you.
      I'm very fond of my afternoon naps. Anyone who knows me knows this about me. The one thing I missed the most when I was working full time was nap-time:)
      But, for the longest time, I'd get prickly if any one pointed it out. In my mind, I had connected napping to laziness (perhaps based on a friend's comment). A few years ago, I started owing up my need for napping.
      It wasn't odd or lazy. It was me.
      Now, my friends and family know that those 2 hours between 2 and 4 are 'mine'.
      That which was bugging me in others (their meddling ways into my daily routine) was actually rooted in my own guilt. Once I realised I'm ok with it -- teasing/jibes/comments lost their sting.
      Maybe, I've made it clearer/murkier--I don't know but it is true for me:)

      I reckon a hole in that jar would be akin to ignoring the hurt (which doesn't work either as it builds up insidiously)... picking out a piece from the jar, and discarding it knowingly is a better solution. Once it becomes a habit, the jar will empty out easily.

  12. I am sure a lot of us will be able to relate to what you have written. A very thought-provoking post. The "hurt" also teaches us that there are other ways of looking at the same thing, is it not?

  13. Be consistently flexible, is my takeaway from here. Here from AtoZ


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