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Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Willing to Dance...

Thursday I hit a wall. My body would not agree to do anymore. It was electrically buzzing, as if all circuits had been overloaded. They had. Something was off kilter and would not function. I was definitely out of sync with my Self – living at the surface of life instead of at the depths. Five and one half weeks of family crises, emotional and mental stress, as well as physical caretaking physically and emotionally drained me. I am not used to living at such a pace on any level, out of rhythm with my own rhythms. So the body just said – STOP! PLEASE! So of course there was no choice… I landed on the couch about noonish, and there I stayed, except for cooking lunch and dinner. My body was “out of service.”

I am aware that part of the fatigue (both physically and emotionally) is a constant sense of stress and anxiety that got triggered with this new round of life experiences. I am also aware that it is a lifelong habitual mind created fear and anxiety. There is a deep neuronal groove there. An underlying fear has always been my life’s companion since childhood. And here she was again – pounding at my door. I thought I had gotten rid of her on my “spiritual path” – at least had diminished her to a more “manageable” level over the years. I was disheartened by her incessant knocking again. I could feel her gripping my solar plexus, contracting and contorting me. Over the last few weeks I have tried to ignore her and just keep pushing forward – hoping that keeping busy would keep me from experiencing her dreaded presence. I realized at the same time how stupid that was, as she was making her presence known anyway, peeking in through the windows, trying to come down the chimney. She was no longer willing to be kept at bay. I tried breathing techniques, journaling about it, meditating, and was very *aware* of the mind blizzard that was giving her an opportunity to seep under the door. But none of these “worked.” She would not be satisfied until she was *acknowledged* - meeting her in the dungeon. But I resisted her relentless pain and torture – until Friday morning.

I awoke Friday morning in the grip of fear once again. I thought maybe sleep would magically make things better. :) I had a busy day ahead: helping my sister with a shower, being emotionally present, taking her to her afternoon appointment, picking up groceries, etc. I didn’t know how I would be able to do all this with a body that wasn’t working well. It created anxiety just thinking about how I was going to function! I breathed into the lower dan-tien, as I do every morning, repeating – “Awareness.” This time I was just trying to bypass the torture that was going on in the mind and gut. I thought if I could just get the energy flowing, feel a little more grounded, the gut-wrenching grip would clear itself and this innate sense of fear would subside. It was slightly assuaged, yet still hung on. So I shifted my awareness and breath to the solar plexus – breathing into the painful presence of fear. I allowed myself to really feel it without resisting, or flinching, or avoiding. With my inner vision I began to open the door - to *see* what was hiding there in the dark. There was no boogeyman. There were no writhing snakes, no chained monster with long tail and breathing fire. It was just – pain and contraction – just fear.

In the shower that morning I had a purging realization. Some of my best insights happen in the shower, where I am naked and vulnerable and alone. All the barriers come down – and surrender happens. In a purging moment of surrender I blurted out to the fear: I am willing to dance with you! I am willing to dance with you! I am willing to dance with you!

No, fear did not magically leave, but there was a release of her tight grip. She knew she had gotten my attention, that I was listening at a deeper level now - that I was willing. I was willing to hear her, to feel her, to dance with her – to let her open me. That hasn’t completely happened yet either, but the door is ajar with a less fearful sense of fear. We’ve entered a new dance that *allows* her presence here. I felt a renewed strength in the willingness to just be with her, and to let her be with me – companions dancing through this life experience. Amazlingly I was able to function at a higher level throughout the day.

And so, you may be asking – what does this have to do with the above picture of the post-it note message that says: Compassion Invites – “fierce presence” – Dancing with Life… Each note was written at separate times over the last year or so and just placed on the cabinet door. They happen to fall into this order. In the meeting of the fear that morning the statement they make together made sense. When we are compassionate with our “dark places” there is a “fierce presence” that allows us to meet them, to dance with them – Dancing with life.

That morning I re-wrote it to read: Compassion allows - fear’s presence – dancing with life… That made sense to me too. And so I dance… Willingly…


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beauty After The Blizzard

Wanted to share these photos
from our recent snow fall.
They remind me of the pristine beauty that emerges
after a blizzard,
whether from Mother Nature,
or life experiences…




And yet, though we strain against the grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it then?

Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting
inside them,
like an unplayed melody
in a flute?


Rainer Maria Rilke
from: ‘Book of Hours’

Photos - Christine


Friday, March 19, 2010

Choice

I have been away for a while because life has taken yet another unexpected turn, and I am suddenly caught up in the consequences of someone else’s choices. I did not ask for this. Yet there is no other choice as I see it. This event is changing how I see and experience life. I am questioning everything that I thought was true about “Truth.” In particular – that Life is living Itself, that Consciousness is all there is. Is this *really* true? If that is the case, then would Consciousness have made these choices that have such dire consequences and impact so many lives! Who actually is making the choices that we make – especially the ones that can be deadly. Certainly there must be a difference between conscious and unconscious choice. I have not given this much thought before. I blithely believed that it’s all just Consciousness – whatever that means… But now there seems to be a challenge to that thinking. It’s not so black and white anymore.

On March 3rd my sister was involved in a domestic violence incident. Her life was threatened and she evidently either jumped or was pushed off her second story balcony. She has forgotten most of what happened. She broke her back and injured her neck. She is now in a back brace and neck collar. We did not receive a call from her until the next day from the CCU where she was being prepared for back surgery. Life changed in an instant for her – and me. I became the responsible party – not only for making decisions, but as a caretaker for 3-6 months. This is a role I do not want. It has been thrust upon me by circumstances created by life choices that were not mine. And yet, here I am. This is my life experience now and I am feeling the weight of the responsibility. It is a heavy weight… I am not able to simply “rest in Awareness” – observing, detached, neutral. My life has been impacted in ways I never expected. I have had to engage in a situation that I would not have chosen – or is that true? Was the choice made by the mere fact of the event itself – requiring these particular choices be made? It seems you just do what needs to be done without thinking…

I have been numbed by this experience, functioning like an automaton – doing what is obviously needed. And since she’s been home for the last 9 days – caretaking – wondering how long I will be able to stand the weight of this experience. I know the answer is: As long as it takes. She is getting physically stronger every day, more independent and fluid in her movement. And now the reality of the whole traumatic incident and its consequences: disability and loss of income earning ability, is setting in. She may be out of work for 6 months, and not able to do waitress work again. So depression, frustration and boredom have come to visit her. I wish I could make it all go away – but this is her life experience and I can’t “rescue” her from that – but neither did I want to be pulled *in* to her life experience. Yet there *is* no one else. The choice was made on its own really – out of necessity.

So “I” am able to be present – meaning – body/mind shows up, does what is needed, functions, offers support and assistance with daily needs, does errands and chores, which sounds rather cold as I describe it – it’s not really. The mechanical functioning is interwoven with caring support, compassion and humor. I learned to be a people pleaser/caretaker early in life, to “entertain”, to keep everybody happy, to make people feel better. This is part of the role I have slipped into once again. It emerged on its own really. But the song and dance routine is wearing thin. And it doesn’t *feel* like Presence. “I” am present without a sense of Presence. I’m mechanically functioning. So where did Presence go!? I seem to have lost my ability to “access” this deeper, wiser, intelligent, storehouse of Beingness. I keep waiting for the Presence switch to go on. Instead I have reverted to an old personality role, and the old feelings of anxiety about “being responsible” for others are suffocating me. Co-dependency 101. I haven’t been able to write about any of this until now. And silent time has been almost non-existent. There-in may lie the key… In order to deeply *listen* - to *hear* the wise voice of Presence one has to be still. “Days off” (2 in the last 16) are filled with my own activities of “catching up” around here, resting and stressing. I can’t seem to help that – it’s what my mind does – automatically – unconsciously; except that I’m aware that that’s what I’m doing. I don’t have the strength to resist it, and am barely able to “just sit” with the feelings. Facing into the overwhelming responsibility feels like trying to walk through a raging, blinding blizzard.

So here we are… There are no answers really – just, here we are – living what is presented to “us.” Is this what “they” mean when “they” say - all there is, is this - just this!? Something deep inside says there has to be more! There has to be a felt sense of deep abiding Presence that sustains one through times like these. Doesn’t there? Or maybe that’s just my wish to be rescued from this particular life experience. Some would respond that this thinking is the delusion… Yet it feels as if “this” that I’m living at the moment is the delusion – like being lost in that raging blizzard… Everything feels topsy-turvy. Toto, is that you? How did we land here? Hello~o~o~o~~~~

I am open to wise input here, as I realize I have most likely lost perspective in the numbing reality that has visited my door… I could use a few reminders of what life is really all about here… New ways of seeing are always welcome!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blue Elephant Innocence...

The other day, after I entered the grocery store, I spotted a BIG Blue Elephant out of the corner of my eye headed my way. Well actually, a man dressed in a big blue elephant suit, but my Heart saw – BIG BLUE ELEPHANT! Oh Boy! In that moment Innocence returned like a forgotten joy. Oh – there you are! I must have misplaced you! Welcome back! I remember this feeling. It’s familiar. It seems like it’s been gone a while, on some long trip somewhere to a far away land as I “grew up” and became an “adult.” I rather liked the remembrance. My heart lightened. I gave the “Blue Elephant” a little wave with a big grin on my face– forgetting I am now 60. My Heart evidently thinks it’s still 3 or 4 - maybe 5… The Blue Elephant waved back. At least that’s how my Heart perceived it: Big Blue Elephant waving – and I lost my sense of self for a moment. I have no idea what the man underneath the suit must have been thinking as I waved. But as he passed by me and left the super market he waved at the other “adults” entering too. They grinned, and some waved back. I hope their Hearts were lightened like mine. Amazing what a little playful innocence can do…

I’ve noticed lately that my “spiritual journey” seems a little heavy, a little too serious maybe… Maybe you’ve noticed it on your own journey. I’ve been guru surfing on the Internet, reading everyone’s view of the “Truth.” The words, concepts and ideas *about* Truth, Freedom, Consciousness, Awareness and Being sometimes feel like a distraction to actually *seeing* what’s really here – the simple Innocence that permeates everything. Isn’t that really what the “spiritual journey” is about - *experiencing* the simple Heart of Innocence. Isn’t that what Pure Aware Consciousness is? There’s that mind again, trying to name what can’t be named – trying to get a handle on what “It” is - when really my Heart doesn’t care what “It” is, it just wants to play with “It” – to *experience “It!” My Heart remembered its Innocence and now wants more.

Ever since my True Heart cracked open – unexpectedly – with my brother’s skiing accident 2 ½ weeks ag0, I seem to be more aware of *feelings* – the innocence of feelings - and feeling more open and vulnerable as a result. Everything seems to touch me more these days. And since my “Blue Elephant” moment I’m ever so *slowly* letting go of the need to see life through the mind. I’m noticing the True Heart stir with just little touches of Innocence here and there. It’s the simple things really. It might be the splash of sunlight coming through the window hitting the room in a certain way, a rainbow from a glass prism hanging in the window splayed across the floor, or a shadow formed on a wall through a “crystal ball” with a snail looking on, or the sight of geese out the window flying low, honking their call. The other night it was the surprise of a huge raccoon in our backyard. I marveled as I watched him dig little divots in the lawn as he dug for who knows what… Bad raccoon – Bad… Yet, Innocence was pleased beyond measure.

It’s amazing seeing through the prism of Innocence once again…

I hope that you are touched by Innocence too, and your Heart will remember its song… Who knows, maybe you’ll have a Blue Elephant moment. :)