They Grow Up So Fast: Our First False Belief About Age

When I was a new parent, I heard over and over “Enjoy every minute – they grow up so fast!” At first, I bought into it. I recall looking through my child’s pictures on her first birthday and feeling panic over how much she had changed.

But then, I noticed her eyes in every picture. That soul, the essence I felt while carrying her and the essence I fell in love with the first time I looked in her eyes, was the same. It is eternal.

We change through out our lives. It is inevitable. That is what life is. But how do we relate to that change?

When people say “they grow up so fast”, what belief is operating? Here are some possibilities:

1. They grow up and I am not ready.

2. They grow up and I was too busy with other things.

3. They grow up and I must constantly adapt to how they change – and I don’t want to.

4. They grow up and I experience loss as they do.

In all cases, the painful belief is with the parent. Most children can’t wait to grow up. Certainly a child may be exposed to too much responsibility or pressure that results in lost innocence but that is not about age. Life begins to provide the circumstances essential for our growth immediately.

So how does that phrase impact how we view aging? I believe our attempts as a society to prioritize youth is our fear of dying. “Buddhism teaches that we should not shrink from the fact of death but squarely confront it. Our contemporary culture has been described as one that seeks to avoid and deny the fundamental question of our mortality.”- SGI

The wonderful thing about gaining years is it becomes harder to sustain identification with an egoic self. You will experience career change, physical change, intellectual change and emotional change your entire life. If your goal is to live forever, these changes will be viewed as loss.

There is a Buddhist tenet that life is about readiness for death. “From the Buddhist perspective, life and death are two phases of a continuum. Life does not begin at birth nor end at death. Everything in the universe—from invisible microbes in the air we breathe to great swirling galaxies—passes through these phases. Our individual lives are part of this great cosmic rhythm.”- SGI

Every change in life exist as part of a larger flow. Nature is living and dying in every moment. You can never walk the same street twice as the trees, the grass, the flowers all change every moment. Leaves bud and die. Grass browns. Flowers bloom and seed and die. We accept this even if we are not conscious of it.

Even music dies. The silence between notes is the end of one sound and readiness for a new one. In essence, it is all energy flow.

When we are in flow, we don’t resist what is. Children don’t grow up too fast. Lives are not about aging. There is gratitude for every moment.

Signifying Nothing

I am grateful when friends tell me their stories. As I listen, I notice two things: a feeling of compassion for the person as they work out their relationship to the story, and an awareness that it is all story, signifying nothing. This is true of my own stories. And I am so grateful for that.

“When you read a novel, and you read about various characters, you may like some and not like others. Or when you watch a movie, think about your relationship with the characters. You might like them; you might not like them—but you’re not finding your sense of self in them. You’re not referencing your self-worth by the characters in a novel or when you turn on the TV. You just have your thoughts about them.

But imagine if you turned on your TV or you read a novel and you actually completely derived your sense of being and your sense of self from one of the characters. Immediately your perspective is very different, isn’t it? Now your perspective has gone from something that’s very vast to something that’s very limited, seen only through the eyes of the character. Sadly, that’s how most human beings spend their lives. They have this little character in their mind called “me,” and they’re actually viewing that “me” as personal when it’s not.”-Adyashanti

One realization that has been significant for me is that nothing is personal. It all just is. The sunny day is not personal. The drive to work is not personal. My job is not personal. The bills aren’t personal.

Where I still struggle is in how I relate to people and those I have deeper relationship with like my daughter. My love for her seems very personal. Yet I understand in some way that I am experiencing a state of love in relation to her. Or drop the pronouns: there is just love.

Or, how do I relate to people when it is very personal for them? Their broken heart, their work, their stress and anxiety? So far, all I have is compassion. I get irritated sometimes, either because I wish more peace for them, or because they are speaking to a place that still upsets me too. It’s hard to remember sometimes that the story signifies nothing.

To some, the phrase “signifies nothing” is depressing. It might bear the bleakness of the full Shakespearean quotation. For me, when things are not personal, when we don’t project meaning over them, the whole world changes.

“You don’t lose the character; you just gain the whole novel of life. It’s not like you lose anything. You just gain the whole book. You gain the whole universe.”- Adyashanti

My Sister Pleiades

My spiritual partner has a powerful way of connecting with me when I am in my process of awakening. After listening intently, with her whole being, she says, “I see you.”

When I was in counseling, I found words to describe my childhood. It was a childhood cut short by assuming the adult and parental role at 13. I was responsible for the care of 4 people while holding some twisted privilege for this. It was a cycle of codependency I replicated in my significant romantic relationships. So for most of my life, I felt invisible.

I was drawn to men who were equally invisible, who needed me in some way. Generally, I saw and supported who they could be and they showed me gratitude. I confused this for love and connection.

The end of those relationships marks the most significant turning point in my path of consciousness. With fierce Grace, I embarked on deep retreat and committed to my path of awakening. Everything in my life dissolved and then realigned behind this intention.

Before that, a desperate part of myself once said I would stand before My Then Love once I was fully healed and ask him to see me, to love me. What I didn’t know is that as I deepened in healing and awakening, I would not want to stand in front of him or ask anything of him.

So why is it so powerful when my spiritual partner tells me she sees me? Possibly because I am not asking her to. Possibly because she sees my awakened self and my egoic self equally and with love for both. Possibly because seeing each other is the foundation of our partnership.

In my deepest core, I believe we could go for decades without talking, and with a single moment of connection we would see each other. It reflects what is true on our path. It reflects our lack of attachment.

There is no greater gift.

(I have a few Sisters who have grown in spiritual partnership with me. This piece is not a diminishing of my love for them. What I have in essence in partnership with them is such as this too. The title references the 7 sisters who were with Artemis, and honors all my Sisters).

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

Things You May Not Know About Me

​Things you may not know about me…
I am a woman who buys and installs her own printer, who troubleshoots why the BBQ won’t light. I patch plaster, repair scratches in my hardwood floor and I fix leaky toilets, even in other people’s homes. I run my life off apps on my phone. I can change a car battery. 

I paint and sing and play piano. I can drive a manual shift car. I push cars that get stuck. I can solder stained glass. I can handle a kayak on my own. I camp in a tent, build my own fire and cut wood with my Swiss army knife. 

I read tarot, teach Reiki, practice 4 styles of yoga. I have served as a psychic medium and healer. I interpret dreams.  I meditate nearly every day. I cook like a foodie, and can host a dinner party for raw diet, vegan, vegetarian and whole food eaters. 

I am an independent mother, a fearless and inspirational business executive. I am a mentor, a coach, and a counselor. I have a PhD. 

I do it all with perfect nails and fabulous hair. 

I am not bragging. I am celebrating the gifts of life!

Pleased to meet you. Tell me about what you celebrate. 

Missing the Mystery of Life: The Last Page of the Book

bookDo you ever read the last few pages of a new book, just to see?

For most of my past, I would read the first few chapters of a fiction novel, get really engaged in it, and then read the last few pages to see how it all ends.  Then I could just relax and enjoy the writing and how it unfolded.  Otherwise, I was too anxious and would wolf down every page to see how it goes.

I found that my approach to spirituality was a bit like this, too.  When would I become enlightened? How do I ascend? Am I falling behind? Who is the guru I need next? Or what teaching do I need now?  My mind was asking the questions from anxiety, and not letting truth surface.

“Be in touch with the part of you that is not afraid of the bigger questions of life, the ones that underlie everybody’s life.  What am I really? What is true in this world of illusion? What is real? What is authentic? What is reality? What is God?  Those deep existential questions that orient you into the mystery of being.  It is not necessarily satisfying if you get a quick and easy answer to these questions, from a book or a teacher; those deep questions that pull our attention into the mystery of being rather than trying to explain the mystery, and awaken our sense of wonder.  Sometimes we are taught to be oriented in a way of thinking that conceals our wonder and all we have is anxious questions.  What is going to happen? Is it all going to work out? All are a manifestation of anxiety.  Deep questions are questions of wonder.  They are looking for an experienced or a revelation, not simply an answer.”  – Adyashanti, satsang at Asilomar, December 2016

In meditation and spiritual practice, we reach into ourselves for an experience to the mystery.  For example, no answer or idea can fulfill you when you yearn for love.  You aren’t satisfied with a theory on love.  You want the experience of it.

I find now that I don’t run from the deep questions of life, the deep experience of being.  I am more aware that deep experiences lead to resolutions of these questions within us, often wordlessly.  We have a profound experience of being, a shift in our experience and perception of life.

Read the whole book, don’t skip the pages or devour them, and enjoy.