Repaired With Gold

gold potOne of the fun parts of my incarnation is that I fall a lot.  When I was a teen, I would fall going UP the stairs.  In university, I would run for the bus and slip on grass. I have fallen down stairs and broken my wrist.  I fell when climbing a fence a year ago, and hurt a few spots.  This month, I fell on my own knee while planting my vegetable garden, and bruised my ribs.  Bruised ribs and broken ribs feel the same, but have less risk when bruised.

I have a high pain tolerance, yet these ribs tested that.  I would say my pain history in life would go: broken wrist, child birth, bruised ribs.

And yet, I am deeply grateful for this injury.  I learned how many people love me in my life – a reflection of how Life loves me.  I had friends show up out of no where to help.  Some picked my child up from school because driving was too hard and probably unsafe for me.  Some friends fed me.  Some friends watched my pets.  Some friends checked in on me and sent me love. As much as my rib could not support me, my circle DID support me.

More than that, it was a deeply spiritual experience.  No one but you can explore your relationship with pain.  For the first time, I understood what my teacher, Christopher Wallis, meant when he said that you get to a point in life of being grateful for everything, even dog poop.  My gratitude for what this has opened in me is profound. When I shared that with him, he wrote this to me:

“You’re more beautiful for having been broken.

People tend to think that something has gone wrong when they’re wounded, or hurt, or broken, and that healing is fixing that wrongness and getting ‘back’ to a good or ‘normal’ condition. But consider this: just as, in the context of weight training, the muscles need to actually tear (get damaged) in order to rebuild stronger, why not consider the parallel possibility that we actually *need* to get hurt/wounded/broken in order to grow stronger and more compassionate?

In that light, nothing ever goes ‘wrong’. And being wounded can be a gift.

The Japanese have a word for this, from the context of artfully repaired pottery: kintsukuroi, “more beautiful for having been broken.” – Christopher Wallis

When I told a friend I could not visit her because I needed to rest, she offered to do healing work with me.  I turned her down, because I was loving the work I was doing on my own.  I shared that with her, and she commented I was handling it with ease and grace and a smile on my face.  I absently agreed, but inside I knew that was not the truth of it.

To handle it with ease and grace and a smile would be to deny what is.  The pain is.  Sometimes I am at ease.  Sometimes I am not.  Sometimes I am smiling, and sometimes I am irritable or crying.  Why should I be at ease and grace and smiling? That is some form of spiritual overlay on how we think spiritual people are – these detached spirits walking on air and sunshine.  What is true is that I am not suffering from the beliefs I lay over the pain.  I remember the quotation: In life, pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional. – Haruki Murakami

I like the words of Matt Licatta on what happens as we grow spiritually and heal:

“There was an idea that as you healed, you would feel less. That as you awakened, the emotional spectrum would narrow, into some safe, consistent, happy, resolved calm. But you are seeing that love continues to ask you to feel more, to hold and metabolize the full-spectrum of a broken open world.

There was an old hope that as your heart opened, the vulnerability would diminish, the shakiness would fall away, the tenderness would yield… but you are more raw now than ever before.

There was an old belief that as you deepened on the path that you’d be more detached, untouchable, not care so much about others and the world, resting as the great “witness” beyond it all, in some safe, constructed place of observation. But somehow, everything and everyone matter now more than ever, in spontaneous, unexpected ways.

Something new is being born inside you, but something else is dying. Rather than prematurely forcing rebirth to emerge, turn into the uncertainty, the contradictions, and the purity of the death of an old dream. For it is here that the womb of new life is to be found, where the raw materials of resurrection are woven into being by the Great Weaver herself.

While this level of trust may be disorienting to a mind longing for resolution, the body knows… the heart knows. Trust in the fires of disintegration. And the birth that can arise only from the ashes of that level of grace.” – Matt Licatta

An Open Letter To My Friends

Dear Friend,

I want to say both thank you and I am sorry. 

Many of you have not seen me for a while. This year, it may be 6 months. For others, it may be years now. I may stay in touch by text or Facebook. But we don’t visit like we used to do. 

I don’t host dinners or (as many) parties. I cancel our plans alot…alot. i know this and I am sorry. 

Once, I used to try to do everything and be everything. I hid my issues under layers of making things look effortless. I did everything I was asked to and attended everything I was invited to do. 

But it was slowly killing me. It was feeding my Fear of Missing Out. It was leaving no room for me. I indulged in that because I did not want room for me. If I took a look, I would see how incredibly unhappy I was. 

As my friend, you probably saw that. You probably knew things had to change. 

They have changed. I spend as much time alone as I can. It’s not because I don’t want to be with you. It’s because I have not been with me for about 30 years and I have some catching up to do. 

True, circumstances have also come into it. Changing jobs takes some adapting. My child being incredibly ill since October has been a huge part of my need to retreat. 

I also know that throughout our friendship, I have disappointed you. At times, I did not treat you as if you mattered. I am sorry. You do matter to me. 

I have had to find new boundaries because I have had a history of putting others before me. I have needed this space to find what I am committed to, and what I should say no to. 

So, my friend, I thank you for being my friend and showing up the way you do. I see that, I feel that, and I am grateful. 

The Waves of Healing

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

I am an Air Sign, and an earth goddess at heart. I walk barefoot as much as possible. I need the earth to balance my Air element as I tend to live in thought. 

I spent this past week with the Pacific Ocean. I have been to the ocean a few times before, but this time I was in constant contact with Her. I played in Her, listened to Her, and healed with Her. The ocean stirred my heart. It layed  waste to what I brought to it and carried it all away. I brought myself, I lost myself. 

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
– e.e. cummings

My beautiful eyes, my innocent eyes

“You are quite naive,” said the Face reader. “You are easily taken advantage of.”  Face reading is a pseudoscience that predicts personality from physical characteristics. It can be insightful; it is at least interesting.  In this case, the reader believes my eyes are shaped and sized in a way that reflects being naive. 

I walked away, incensed. I am a talented negotiator and always leave the table with my goals met. I assess people for a living. How could I be naive?

Mental flash: despite my confidence in life, I have had a history of intimate relationships where I was easily deceived of the nature of my partner. In fact, in all cases of major relationships, my family warned me off each of them. I dismissed my siblings, believing I could see something they could not. In fact, the opposite equally was true. And how many times have I hired staff that were good performers but challenging personalities?  I even have at least two roles where I was not a fit with an organization but I accepted the job anyway. 

So I looked up the word. Naive means innocent, natural and unaffected. As an empathic and a highly sensitive person, I feel pain when I lie or act untruthfully. A line from Tolkien always stuck with me: “the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived.” 

When it comes to people, I believe I tend to see the most beautiful perfect parts of them – I see the Divine in people. Even when a person is mean or selfish, I see the parts of them that are kind and generous. The difficulty with that in a long term relationship comes when the balance between selfishness and generosity is not there. Or when the balance is tipped away from what is best for me. 

I am naive. I have big, beautiful and innocent eyes. I have a big, beautiful and innocent heart. My spiritual path is not about finding ways to protect myself from others. That would mean my goal is to control circumstances and people – folly. My path is to experience without attachment. My path is to be open to all that is, without Self protection or fear. 

My eyes, my beautiful innocent eyes truly are a window to my soul. 

The Present Creates The Past

The smartphone went to the next Satsang in the queue: a free Adyashanti talk titled The Present Creates The Past. I have heard it before but today the idea turned into reality.

Adyashanti challenges us  to see that while there is a relationship between what we experience in the past and our now, the past does not cause our Now. The imagery he references is a boat bow cutting through water and leaving a wake. Take for example if you broke your arm. The act occurs in the Now, and your healing is in the Now.  Anything that is part of the healing is part of now and is not caused by or in the past. 

How we relate to the past is often a reflection of the story we tell about the past. We add meaning to the stories and to the past. A psychologist sometimes helps you to reinterpret the past with a more helpful story. 

The message flashing in my awareness as the audio file played was “I am done with my past.” The main astrological influences for the last month are all about letting go of the past. Almost daily triggers have arisen since September 16 and each have shriveled away.  Such clarity of release happens in almost an instant. 

There is such freedom in understanding that the present creates the past and not the other way. The clarity of Now becomes a pinpoint focus. 

Wounds of the Past

For many years, I would develop bronchitis and the cough would last for weeks. I noticed the relationship between that and the romantic relationships I had. When the relationships ended, so did the coughs. 

It surprised me to get a bad flu with a cough this week. But, it makes sense: the September full moon pulls out whatever needs excavation and release. Shortly after the moon, I worked with a kula mate on a new technique and she surfaced old relationship issues embedded in places I had not explored. 

The full moon opens us to letting go and embracing the new. Something very different was occurring for me: several people were showing up from my life in new ways to support me. 

The most beautiful is my daughter. As I coughed last night, she would put her hand on me. The coughing would stop. She slept with me and even in her sleep, if I coughed she put her had on me and it stopped. I recalled all the nights I slept sitting up with her in my arms too. The circle of love and caring  is there.  

I am so grateful for this process. This change is amazing. Seeing my self in contrast to old patterns, and without some of the old patterns, is profound. 

Loving this cycle of life. 

When I Was Crazy

new reality

“I am finally at a point where I am grateful and honored to have been part of his growth and healing,” I shared with my spiritual partner one day. We were discussing relationship endings, ego, and how we view relationship changes.

“What gave you that clarity?”, she asked.

“No thing. Just realized I finally have it,” I answered.  Like what happens with most incomplete truths, I felt in my whole self that I was not being fully aware or honest about this part of my process.

You see, I used to be insane…

“In no way can I deny the insanity of the human condition. And yet, because there’s so much insanity, so much unconsciousness, it’s possible that there’s also the other side of it. Life is always balancing itself out. So, while all of this is happening, there’s also this undercurrent of people all over the place who have a deep and profound interest in the ultimate nature of reality in themselves—and they are realizing it! …I do think that in our deepest heart we don’t actually want to contribute to the insanity around us. Our nature is, if anything, to be a contributor to sanity and wholeness, to bringing that into manifestation.

Now from that place, we can have a very active response to the world rather than a reaction against it. A response is inherently positive; a reaction is inherently negative and divisive. A great thing about coming to our own wholeness is that it’s not as though we just sit on our couch and see that everything is perfect. We do see that everything is perfect—but from that sense of perfection arise great love, great compassion, and a great response to the life around us. It’s a response that is undivided. As a whole, as a world culture, if there is going to be a salvation, it’s going to have to come from the human heart being undivided. And to get there, we all have to wake up.”~ Adyashanti

“Actually, this is what changed: I realized that nothing has meaning unless I give it meaning.  I thought about all the relationships that had ended in my life, and how little I think about that. I have had people I care about return to my life. Others are no where to be found.  And I just accept that as what is. I can look at it and be happy for what was, but not dwell there.  What I had been doing is looking backwards at how the story did not play out as the story I would have told. When I look at what was, with no story, no meaning, I saw something totally different.  I saw what is true of every relationship: two people on their paths, who served each other as sources of growth and healing.  That is all,” I earnestly replied, feeling the wholeness in that insight.

When I was crazy, I tried to make things fit a story.  Some of the stories are things like “Marriage or commitment is forever”, “Love is enough (to keep a relationship strong)”, or “I need to be in a relationship with someone who is my equal”.  These are stories, that may reflect values at a point in time.  While values are one of the most enduring beliefs that the ego tells us to pay attention to, they are still stories and will ultimately crumble in the face of reality.  Because nothing is as real as what IS.