Dropping into Stillness

It has been a week

Of weakness,

Full of reminders

That despite my best efforts

I am merely a mortal

Looking, longing

To be loved.

Oh, but aren’t we all?

It’s isolating, that search

For companionship.

We want space to be whole

But to reach out

Our outstretched arms

And touch another who knows

The depths of our soul.

When waves of grief

Overrun our simplest of synapses,

When emotional pain

Overwhelms the physical existence,

That is when I know,

With assurance,

We are all part of this greater whole.

Bigger than our bodies,

Deeper than our minds,

We hold consciousness

Together.

Sometimes, we must break

So that the pieces

End up

In the right places.

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Success or Failure?

This is a tough one for me to admit.

I’m not sure which scares me more:

The thought of rejection, or of acceptance.

Perhaps, it’s because acceptance

Means vulnerability,

And, perhaps, because what that means

Is susceptibility to just more pain.

I fell in love, once.

It took me three committed years,

Where I felt truly loved,

Day in, day out,

For me to exhale.

For me to stop waiting

For the other shoe to drop.

Ironically, in the exact moment

I did let my guard down

He uttered the words,

“This isn’t working for me.”

Had something changed?

Had I cracked something so fragile?

And yet, risk is the only way.

Perhaps there’s another way,

But not for me.

The only way

To get your dream job

To have your dream life

To fall in love.

But,

What if you get it?

What happens then?

Things fall together and apart

All the time.

We have no control and yet

We want to hold on,

So tightly,

To what we want

Only to realize that everything changes.

How do we hold this paradox,

This fragile, nearly broken box,

The space between

Pain and freedom

Desire and rejection

Birth and death?

How can we

Just be,

Just breathe?

Things we said today

Tonight I went on a date with someone in whom I should be interested. He’s nice, intelligent, moderately good looking, and kind to me. But I don’t feel a thing. In fact, if I’m honest with myself, I haven’t been feeling anything for anyone since September of last year.

Why does that stick in my mind? Well, that was the last time I touched someone whom I love. In my bones I love him. In my toes, my heart, my soul I love him. He is AMAZING in his own right, but he makes me better. And even thinking of him prompts a course correction. Sometimes, I think about being sneaky or desperate or manipulative. And then, just the thought of him aligns me back to neutral good.

I recently met a man who felt like he was regularly stuck between settling with a woman and having a family or chasing the compulsion to join a monastery. Many years ago, he said, he met his twin soul. They split, though their hearts are still aligned, and he worked to move on. She had an existential crisis that conflicted with his. He dated others for shorter periods of time and he’s convinced himself that he’s ok they aren’t together.

“For the last 6 years, I’ve found myself thinking of her quite a lot. At times I even think I should ask her if I should move to Arizona to try again… And we haven’t even spoken.”

Oh, how I know that feeling. The feeling of perhaps not having a family or deep, meaningful connection after the parting of twin flames. There’s nothing else left.

I find it interesting that others go through this loop: feeling continually pushed by a force who left to journey into themself. The deep love and deep awareness. The connection of two third eyes. It’s both exhilarating and debilitating.

The thing I have learned most from my celibacy, I told my new monk friend, is that the most important relationship one can have is with one’s inner child. There are many quiet moments where I find myself holding that inner child, stroking her golden curls, wiping her tears, and giving all the love I can muster to her. She has become my biggest priority in life. And, somehow, turning inward toward that small child inside has allowed me to be more comfortable alone. When she cries out, I find that I can calm her. When she feels desperate and anxious, I can love her.

If that twin soul, that great mirror, had not left my side, my home, my bed, I never would have connected with my inner child. Why would I? He was the perfect parent to her; he taught me what she needed, how to listen, and how to respond. He taught me patience while she acted out, while she stomped around to get her way. He waited outside her cave when she needed time and smiled at her just right when she was terrified. He taught her to breathe deeply and rhythmically. Now, I find myself staring at her in the mirror, putting on smiles until she smiles back. Now, I find myself meditating daily to breathe with her. My twin took my shadow self, pulled it out, and loved the hell out of it. And then taught me to as well.

Being alone is awful. Being alone with someone else is worse. Every day, I’m more grateful to have the time to hold that little girl and adore her, unabashedly and unconditionally. Every day, I’m glad he taught me to love her no matter the obstacles. Every day, I’m glad he left me so I could learn to do it alone.

“Someday, when we’re dreamin’, deep in love and not a lot to say, then we will remember, the things we said today…”

Listen

I attend services at an Episcopalian church that has also acted as a non-denominational sanctuary for the people in my city. Its history is rich, and it is deeply rooted in teaching is congregants about social justice issues. Our dean, for the second time since I’ve been attending, asked during a sermon, “Listen. Do you hear what God is saying to you?” Today, he added, “What does God want you to feel today?”

Immediately after this question, I felt a surge of spirit. I knew I was in the right place, at the right time. As I was walking home, it made me reflect on how little we listen to our inner voice. To our spirit guides. Our ancestors. Those we’ve lost.

All too often we get in the way of truly listening to the world around us. This year, I want to dedicate more time to listening. To listening and even following the guidance I hear. I want to feel the spirit well inside of me outside of the walls of that church. I want to trust that voice more often and let it trust me. I want to resonate with love. With spirit. With a vibrancy that resonates.

Listen. Do you hear what The Universe is saying to you? Listen. What does The Universe want you to feel?

Epiphany & the Universe

I still meditate every day. My blog has transformed a bit to become what I need it to be in the moment as a result, but, believe me, I still meditate. I also have found prayer, which I guess has always been inside of me, but now, like a growing fetus, it’s become much more pronounced in my life. Perhaps, even, written on my body. Prayer is the new normal for me now, and I can understand the simple pleasure of ritual. 

As a child, I used to walk around with my friend V, and we’d talk about how we could hear the Universe “breathing”. Perhaps it was the wind, the rain, the elements descending, but I could hear the Universe breathing all over again. This personification has never left me, and it’s only grown with my practice of prayer. Now, I talk to the Universe… And through meditation (dedicated listening), it talks back. We have a relationship of which I’ve grown rather fond. 

Perhaps the new year, perhaps my time off work, perhaps the fact that I felt genuine, unconditional love from my family recently, perhaps the rain, but I have begun to awaken. I go to therapy twice a week, and I’m proud of that. Today, my therapist and I were talking about perception, with regard to my new eye glasses following eye surgery. Now, I can see edges and depth and sharper images. Now, I can discern between substance and noise. 

Substance and noise. Discernment. Those things come from meditation. From stillness. From presence. In that moment, with my therapist, I said something, she misheard my statement, and an epiphany occurred, out of the blue. Perhaps, a message from the Universe that two individuals heard simultaneously. 

I had an epiphany. I’m holding on to the places where I had the best boundaries because…i have never received the help I need to create them. To think my feelings, my lived experience, is valid. So I use others to get that validation instead of getting the specific help I need. 

In return, I’m able to send that request into the Universe, on its own, to be answered. To have my long underserved needs fulfilled. Do you know what my prayer to the Universe said this morning?

“Please, help me love myself and help make me whole so that I can love and belong to me.”

The answers are there, the guidance is waiting. You only have to quiet down and listen. 

Over-staying Our Welcome

On the first day of 2017, I completed re-reading Joan Didion’s amazing work The Year of Magical Thinking. It got me wondering, might we mix up fate at times, causing us to extend our time on earth, past that which might be planned? Do we make choices that can alter our ending?

Joan Didion is a master of vulnerability. Joan Didion is not the semblance of joy, but her deep feeling encourages the path to joy. Some of my favorite moments:

John Dunne, on Joan’s Birthday (a bittersweet memory):

“Goddamn,” John said to me when he closed the book. “Don’t ever tell me again you can’t write. That’s my birthday present to you.”

I remember tears coming to my eyes.

I feel them now.

In retrospect this had been my omen, my message, the early snowfall, the birthday present no one else could give me. 

He had twenty-five nights left to live.

On self-awareness:

I think about people I know who have lost a husband or wife or child. I think particularly about how these people looked when I saw them unexpectedly–on the street, say, or entering a room–during the year or so after the death. What struck me in each instance was how exposed them seemed, how raw.

How fragile, I understand now.

How unstable.

On changing the timeline:

I realized that since the last morning of 2003, the morning after he died, I had been trying to reverse time, run the film backward.

It was now eight months later, August 30, 2004, and I still was.

The difference was that all through those eight months I had been trying to substitute an alternate reel. Now I was trying only to reconstruct the collision, the collapse of the dead star.

I firmly believe that we don’t need the physical death of a loved one to experience the grief about which Didion writes. It could be the death of an emotional connection, the death of hope, the death of our physical bodies as we know it. We all want to control the timeline, we all want to change things. We all seem unstable and fragile, for however long or short a time.

In 2014, I suffered the disconnection, the emotional death, of my relationship with someone with whom I held dear–closer to me than anyone I have ever experienced. The first quote, the memory Didion shares of her husband, is one I know well. This partner gave to me something no one else could ever give: encouragement. He was my tireless supporter. And he taught me every day, “You’re stronger than you think.” For over two years I have been trying to substitute an alternate reel, only yesterday to realize that, perhaps, the reel had already been altered.

Do I think that we change the course of our lives through our actions? Yes.

Do I think we overstay our welcome, that we wander onto paths that weren’t made for us? No.

No. For we will learn much on our journey, but we’ve got an ending coming that is set as our destiny. Whether this life or the next one, we will be at Journey’s End all the same.

“It’s great to have an ending to journey toward, but it’s the journey that matters in the end.” –Ursula K. LeGuin