I am, as you are, a child of God

I’m sick. I’ve got RA and at this moment I have extreme difficulty walking. This is a bummer, yes, but it also just “is what it is.” This illness has led me to deep practices that have enriched my life, and in the coming months I may include allopathic medicine in my response to it. I’m not sure yet. I’m apprehensive, but open. I want to be motivated by possibility with it, and the doctors I’ve visited so far are trying to motivate me out of fear. I have an appointment with a new Rheumatologist tomorrow. We’ll see.

My challenge today is that I don’t know how to respond when people ask me, “How are you doing?” Often, I say, “I’m very happy today.” or “I’m very inspired by this thing I read.” But, they often follow up with, “How is your body?”

I don’t know how to answer.

It is how it is. Many aspects of my physical experience are quite lovely. I can still type and write, I rarely feel nauseous or get headaches… My joints ache, lately all the time, and I’m at peace with it so I don’t particularly need to complain about it, but people are disappointed.

There’s also an underlying concern that if I were really “doing the work” (spiritual work, nutritional work, supplement work, hatha yoga or other restorative physical practices) I would be healthy. That’s the mark of wellness, after all. Health. Vitality. I’ve got to admit, it sounds great, and I would very much like to experience vibrant health. And everybody and her brother has several ideas on “the cure.” I know. I’ve tried a lot of them.

I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been. My relationships are harmonious, my mind is often absorbing material reminding me of the Oneness of Life and the majesty of being alive. I’m committed to presence practices that ground me in the present moment, open to the field of being, which influence every other moment of my day. I want these things to count towards my health and vitality, not just the condition of my body!

In all of my work and reading and exploration, I’ve only found one line (in a Paul Selig book) that says, (as usual, my paraphrase) “You do what you can to care for your body, but you can’t be attached to the result. You have no idea what blessing may arise from what you call a curse. ” It also reminds me of another Selig concept: Fear is part of love, too, it just doesn’t know it.

We are ableist in our society. We think everything needs to look like what we want it to look like to be OK. It doesn’t. Another thing about Selig’s work is the idea that when we see a poor person, or an infirm person, the idea is to honor “This is God.” And if they are hungry, yes, feed them, but you don’t need to “fix” them to make them holy. They are holy. Even this difficult-to-witness version of a human is every bit as holy as the most glamorous specimen.

This past week, I signed up for Selig’s 5 week seminar on PEACE. In this week’s recording, in response to someone talking about  (conceptually) blessing everyone they see, to contribute to their holiness, and The Guides responded with “You can never be holier than you are right this minute. This is true for all. Your experience of your holiness, or of another’s may be enhanced, but it is in recognizing what is already there.”

Sometimes I want evidence of spiritual progress in the way of increased physical health. Seems like a relatively valid desire. Sometimes I want physical health just to be able to be engaged with my family and friends in more dynamic ways. Also fair, I think. And I do what I can to enliven my cells and my heart and my head to create an environment where vibrant health would thrive. I seem to be missing something, but Good Lord, I cannot consider myself ‘less than’ because I am not able to walk normally. But, sometimes I can’t help but use it as evidence that I’m a failure. And that usually comes when someone is disappointed that I’m “not better yet.” Ah, I can’t blame other people. It comes from time to time on its own.

The Bhagavad Gita teaches practice and non attachment.

I practice quite a bit. And that non attachment allows me to be ok, even when i don’t get the results I might hope for and you might hope for, too. I would like to develop the ability to respond to people and their very kind and compassionate health inquiries in a way that honors both of us.

the truth is, we’ll probably never know

I remember, as a young person, thinking that we never really know what our contribution to this life might be. That somewhere, there might have been a conversation that encouraged Mozart’s mother not to terminate her pregnancy, or the disappointing Christmas gift that led a great inventor to make something new out of something unsatisfactory…

These last many years, I wonder what brought on my illness. There is a camp that says it is medical and beyond my control. There is a camp that says it is entirely within my control. Some say it’s my thoughts, some blame childhood anger. Some might say environmental toxins (and I’d like to be clear here that I believe so much of the chronic illness in the US is based on the chemicals in our general food supply, and the food habits marketing has driven us towards – I think the impact of so many chemicals and additives that were studied for maybe 5 years are now showing long-term effects on public health, but i digress).

I’ve cleaned up a lot of my sadness, anger and lack of safety as a kid. Or at least I thought I did. I definitely undertook it with newfound seriousness when I got ill and releasing long-harbored feelings might make me well. I released a lot of feelings. I am not well. I am a bit disappointed.

Today it occurred to me that as a kid I used to think i needed to perform to be worthy of love. I’d do my siblings’ chores, make dinner, get good grades. And then, I, like millions of other women, realized that my myriad activities came from an underlying belief in unworthiness. Obviously that paradigm needed to shift, but I may have taken things too far.

Today, I tried to stand up and walk and couldn’t. The walking sticks i have been using for stability and just that little extra power were 5 or 6 feet away. I couldn’t get them by myself. I tried for a full 5 minutes (and gained maybe 12 inches) before calling out for help.

I am extremely lucky that my husband makes me feel loved and valued *even when I cannot do anything.* Did I need to prove to myself that I was worthy of love not based on any kind of doing? Because that is exactly the situation now, and I’ve got to tell you, I think there might have been an easier way to get this lesson across.

In general, I am a pretty pleasant person to be around. I encourage my husband and kids, give them an ear or shoulder (and I’m getting better at just shutting up and being an ear or shoulder), advocate for choosing from possibility instead of fear. I think I’ve helped at a couple of critical moments for each of them. But, my physical contributions to their wellness have been declining and have come down to virtually nothing. And when I do try to make dinner, I often have to stop because my knees simply can’t hold me up anymore.

It sucks.

You know that I appreciate the many luxuries that being slow and being immobile have brought into my life (mostly that i get to read a lot, but also that i don’t have to do many of the obligatory junk so many people are saddled with), but that doesn’t mean this doesn’t suck, too.

And the worst part about it is thinking that it is very possible this illness is a result of my bad decisions, subconscious scheming and/or hidden emotional resentments (i’ve found most of the not-hidden ones). That i’ve done this to my husband and kids. We would have such a different life if I were mobile. I am so glad we took that trip when I was well.

This week I’ve had several people let me know their theory for my recovery. A doctor who advocates not just DMARDS but also low-dose chemo, a regular preventative antibiotic schedule and list of vaccines. A fan of an author that cured autoimmune through diet (i’ll bet her RA factor and CCP numbers were a fraction of what mine are), a trauma-oriented healer who is certain I have multiple hidden things, some going back generations… Are any of them correct? Are all of them correct?

Really, all I can do is my best. I’m very happy to have a much cleaner diet than I used to and excited to get back to an even cleaner version. I enjoy gong baths and hypnosis and emotional healing techniques. I aspire to get back to tai chi or yoga or something. But my heart turns inside out when i think i’ve just been being selfish and commanding attention and it’s my unevolved self running the show and putting those i love through a compromised life. That breaks my heart.

But, it’s just a thought. Just like the thought that this illness is a gift to re-orient our priorities and it’s done a bang-up job. That’s just another thought.

momentum

the thing about spending so much time by choice – being able to select the influences that shape my worldview, being able to spend my time learning and contemplating and integrating – I know I’m remarkably lucky, even as I know that the conditions that allow me this luxury are also a burden. But the real rub is how do i still spend a portion of my day in fear or isolation or overwhelm? As often as possible I try to notice and surrender, but sometimes I go hours, multiple hours, even though I absolutely know better. I know my mind is taking my experience on an unfortunate trip. I know that if I relax into it, whatever it is, I’ll be better. Calmer. More at peace with the world, with myself.

But, no. Sometimes I’m too entranced by the story. Self critical or self aggrandizing, usually. All of the reasons – verifiable reasons – i have pride or shame.

i want off of the seesaw of pride and shame. I want to trade them in for the skillful means of insight and compassion.

I’m not sure if I’ve written about the Shambala Warriors, a Tibetan prophecy brought to the west by Joanna Macy- that at the time of potential destruction the Shambala warriors arise, from everywhere, wielding the weapons of insight and compassion to dismantle the weapons of fear and save the world. I know so many Shambala Warriors. This legend brought into perspective for me a frustration I’d held for so long about light-workers being sort of diffuse, dispersed throughout the world, rare, in my experience, for too much community.

But even the Shambala Warriors will have their moments. We are human after all. This idea that anyone is ONE THING, ONE identity… we have proclivities, some stronger than others, but we are multidimensional beings. We are different things in different circumstances – and to pretend any individual is above this human condition is… well, i think it is one of the big tragedies of our time. We expect our politicians, actors, teachers to always be what we think of them as. And that’s not fair to anyone.

Yesterday I watched a Mooji video and then decided to google Mooji and found allegations of sexual misconduct in his ashram. In the video, Mooji kept telling the woman that she was the light, and she kept crying and begging for his blessing, darshan, touch. He obliged her, but with obvious and expressive, “this is not what I’m talking about, you putting me above you.” To think spiritual teachers are immune from bad days or questionable personal morality is naive. Spiritual teachers worth their salt are encouraging followers to access the wisdom within themselves. “If you see the Buddha on the road, shoot him.” Presence is what we need in the situation, not expectations. Receiving the message of another’s wisdom as the gift to your own growing Buddha nature, not holding a person up to an unachievable ideal for the message to be valid.

Maybe I am wrong and there is an unassailable teacher out there. But if that’s the case, it’s because that person’s Buddha nature has overcome the human tendencies. Feels to me like that would be pretty rare. It seems to me, their message would be the same, but their personal experience would be greatly enhanced.

I would very much like for the experience of wholeness and trust and connection to be my emotional setpoint. And it is, part of the time. The other set point very familiar to me is the ‘unworthy’ set point. and i am sick of moving between them. The Ram Das special “Becoming Nobody” talks about his quest for the transcendent state to be sustainable. I think its time to watch that documentary!

how much of this have i already said?

Having broader mobility for a few weeks has made me mourn every loss as the steroid loses grip. It’s ghastly to be so dependent. Tucker makes it easier, so much easier, because he is so enormously helpful and never complains. It’s astounding. But, Good Lord, the poor man deserves a break. I can’t begin to tell you how many times he just sat down when i need <insert any variety of important and/or ridiculous things>. He is the best person in the world. I would like for him to have more time developing his many worlds and stories instead of nursemaiding me.

You know what that’s done for me, though? And it’s incredibly humbling. He makes me feel loved even when i am nothing but a bother. This is a girl used to singing and dancing for attention, telling jokes, solving riddles and literally going door-to-door. Not anymore. I don’t have to achieve anything, or even be contributing anything but my presence.  And what’s more, he’s shown me the value of my presence (so I don’t even feel quite so much like a burden, though, make no mistake: i am one).

Last night, as new areas began to make themselves felt within my body, and the sounding call seems to be asking for some western intervention, I opened a MAP coning as I often do, and I began it, as I normally do, asking to please tune this instrument to most clearly embody and express the love of Divine Mother. To bring vitality and balance to the body and to address <current issues>. The guidance from the MAP sessions is to get the Enbrel, and so that’s why I’m even open to it (and yet, still resistant – for fear of side effects… you see, right now my joints hurt, but when i am still, i really feel quite good. i can read, i can (still) write, i can meditate, i can do a video call, my children can come in and chat. With these drugs, my joints may improve, but there are long lists of side effects – and it’s not just the big ones that scare me… a lot of it is headaches and nausea and generally feeling crummy. I can’t do my favorite things when i feel crummy). Anyhow, the insight I got during the session is that the course my body has taken me through has been difficult but also very beneficial. Feeling that I need to perform to deserve love used to be primary – i don’t feel that anymore. All of the spiritual concepts I’ve relished in started to distill into experience through stillness, and that is just the bomb. I may have to be still, but while I am still, very often I can experience my own wholeness and connectedness to the world and all the resulting contentment and delight, curiosity and patience. That is some high level blessing, brought to me by: pain.

And that is the question: shouldn’t this high-level blessing be available to me without pain? Of course. Would I have been able to receive it? Well – let’s remember that high level blessing is the reality in which we all live, move and have our being. Often, because it is so available, it goes unnoticed.

Which brings up the question of authorship (or at least that’s what I want to explore next)

I have envisioned scenarios I would like to live and then tried to bend the world to my will countless times on this adventure. And while some things have completely eluded me (health?) some just clicked merrily along and manifested brightly. But you know what? Those things were never quite as satisfying as I envisioned them. There was some satisfaction, yes, but it was temporary and, in fact, not entire. I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “I’ve got the car and the boat and the house that were supposed to make me happy and now I don’t know what to get, because that stuff is nice, but it didn’t work: it didn’t make me happy.”

So I’m not so sure we’re the best authors of our own destiny.

I want for me what Divine Mother wants for me, what Life Itself wants for me. I want to play my unique role in the dance of Life On Earth. I want to hear the communication of all of life in me, not just me imposing my vision. I want the I/Thou relationship not the I/It. I am sick to shit of my personal agenda (which is often misguided and always under informed). This is the dynamic of surrender (you can check my FB page, I’ve been working at surrender for about 5 years), and it brings me enormous comfort. It tells me that where I am, pain, pleasure (which happens, too 🙂 and all the other states in between, is unfolding in relationship with the flow of life that is happening through every iota of matter in this universe and especially on this planet. I know this sounds crazy, but honestly, if pain is what is required for me to access this state, then i can be at peace with pain. And i know pain isn’t required. But since I’m in it, it must be right now, by evidence of it being the state i’m experiencing. And i feel the persistence of the state must serve some purpose which is beyond me to ponder (although, the truth i wrote about recently – that had i not been slowed down, i would have been relentless trying to break Jacob’s natural pace which would’ve made our relationship riddled with strife – and I am so happy to be able to enjoy my son as he is) – but not beyond Life Itself to work through, and that’s really what I want. Yes, I want to feel better. Yes! I would love to have a normal body! And I believe it’s possible for me. Completely. i really do believe that. i’ve just determined after 10 years of trying and doing ok but never achieving remission and now actively getting worse, I am not going to figure out how to get better. My mind/scheming and plans are not what is going to get me well. Grace is the conduit of my wellness. She has gifted me generously in so many ways, and I know as I open to and participate in the divine flow of grace, I invite the loving vitality of life itself to move through me and my cells and all my relations.

Now, one thing I learned laying in bed for several weeks, is that what makes me happiest really is reading and discussing evolutionary, ecological, integrative, unity-based ideas. And I think my gift lies in weaving the many genius teachers active in the world today and sharing them with my particular spin and insight. Always body-based, earth-based, being-based – pointing us into ourselves and into nature. So, even reduced to not being able to pull up my own covers, I am still capable of doing my favorite things. So, it’s time to do them. Today I am going to try to put together the first dozen of quotes and insights and do the 40 days of Lent posting. Let’s see how that goes.

some days are better than others

…and for very different reasons. Some days are physically difficult but emotionally soothing (with, say, a visit from a dear friend). Some are physically draining but mentally stimulating (like, say, a mystery walk through a city). Some days just suck. Some are awesome. And i think its the expectation that they should all be good that does the most damage.

One of the things that I live by is “all is of God, or nothing is” and since i believe  all is of God (unless, fleetingly, i can grasp a vaguely Buddhist understanding of ‘nothing is’ – but which really just doubles down on the original) – I must accept the illness I experience as being of God. on good days and on bad days. It is not a mistake, it is not some failing on my part, it is not punishment, it’s simply another manifestation of the divine. Albeit one of the more challenging to accept as so.

One of my favorite ideas is that life is a never-ending game of God playing “can you see me now?” Sometimes she is such a good hiderSometimes it is very easy to see Her – and not just see her, to be awed by the beauty and wonder of her expression. Sometimes it’s a little trickier.

A friend came to see me today, so good-naturedly, so sincerely, bringing me yet another dietary protocol her heart definitely believes ‘offers the cure.’ She’s a relatively new friend, so she missed the years of “this just might be the answer” dietary protocols. It’s not a hard one, so I’ll probably do it (beats eating the standard fare available in this day and age) but I no longer expect ‘the cure.’ and the truth is, I am weak enough and in enough pain (just this week my right hand is letting me know typing may not be entirely available to me relatively soon) – even if this is ‘the cure’ I doubt it can work fast enough to give me the relief that will give me the strength to really do all the bits.

Another thing i sorta live by is “in part everywhere, in whole nowhere.” which i am more suited to than ‘answer-seeking’ – it’s more of a hunter-gatherer approach, where I am collecting truth and relief from many sources and compiling them into a unique song of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I was raised and educated to believe in One Right Answer. And i think there are many areas that there may be one right answer. I just don’t experience many of those areas lately. Lately, most things are a composite.

and so as i embark on this chapter of trying to bridge all of the forms of healing available to me, and to develop a recipe that allows me to truly participate with vitality and ease, i think it’s most important to welcome opinions (not my strong-suit) (as a matter of fact, i as I listened to my friend and tried to explain why I wasn’t quite as excited as she was, I was literally floored (as in, couldn’t stand – because i know what literally means) at how much resistance was in my voice and description)… welcome it, test it, use my discernment and even more importantly, my body awareness, and develop my personal path in this life. The same as all of us must.

discomfort

its funny how educated some people consider me about diet and supplements and things, and how naive and uneducated others consider me. and they’re both right. i have deep wells of experience and success in certain areas, and stand in utter confusion (and relative disinterest) in others. I am not particularly sciencey. But I also traveled with 2 kids for nearly 2 years with a 3 item medical kit that more than sufficed.

Being in the deep end of the pool with people who spend their entire day in the deep end of the pool definitely demonstrates my areas of ignorance. But, I also have experience and being that they completely don’t understand (and are similarly disinterested). My opportunity now is to bridge me and them, to open up to a new perspective even as i crave my current perspective being honored. Everything I know about what I want sings to me of unity, so if i am experiencing dissonance, there’s something deeper to discover.  I just wish i knew what and how and when. because this ‘me’ and ‘them’ mindset is exactly what i see polarizing the social order and I certainly don’t want to support that. But it’s so easy. Most of the doctors i’ve seen, even the nicest of them, is pretty condescending. and i get pretty defensive. and maybe i cry a little bit before i remember to breathe, to surrender, to let it come as it does and do my best to bless each step.

It doesn’t give me an ‘answer.’ I have no idea what to do next. And if i require an answer, i’m screwed. i just don’t have the information, nor do i have the physical draw to a specific step. the healing journey language has been overused, but that’s because it speaks to something primary to the experience of healing – – it’s an acknowledgement of process, of ever-changing circumstances we have the privilege to respond to. yeah, sorry my grammar isn’t better.

today i’ve been trying to sit with my discomfort and i’ve experienced a full range of it, from peace, depression, anger, equanimity, self-comforting, self-indulgence, escapism, fear, willingness, exhaustion, potential, curiosity, shame, patience, potential and renewal. This, since i got up about 10 hours ago. While part of me wishes i’d happened upon a smooth and obvious trajectory I could just throw myself behind (ha! i feel i’ve found the one emotion I did not experience today: certainty! At least not in relation to my health and my path forward. but that’s not even true. I know I am going to continue Perelandra and flower essences because i love it so. I know meditation, even when it sucks and I barely dropped out of mind, is essential every single day. i know that the change i want to effectuate in the world (social justice and all that it implies economically, systemically, etc) needs to begin with myself so how i treat myself through this process is really important. Even with all this certainty and all this uncertainty, developing the capacity to just willingly sit with it is far more life-positive than supervising unwieldily data sets and trying to determine a plan. That shit will kill me. And I’m not ready to die. Really, I’m just getting rolling with this living!

Do I contradict myself? There are universes inside me. Paraphrasing Whitman. But, boy, did i feel it today.

why is this more uncomfortable than that deep physical pain? because with physical pain, my choice was how to relate to it and i got pretty good at making the choice of with openness and receptivity. this discomfort of not knowing what to do – that my head has to make a decision that will impact the whole of me, and i very well could make a decision that will harm my body. that’s a lot of pressure. it also shows how deeply i still ‘other’ my pain and my body, even with all of this listening. But, i also remember to not ‘other’, to sit with, to be right here right now. sometimes, lol. but sometimes is better than never (which is what it used to be). so the key for me is not to rush into a head decision, but to remember to listen, and make my choices as they present themselves with openness and sensitivity. but then that head kicks in, and the medical literature, and the desire to get it over with as quickly as possible… and all of those things make me uncomfortable for different reasons and in different ways. but they’re all head-focused. and i want to be wholeness focused. but boy do i have a lot of head-focused experience. and if i am wrong, with my body-focused choices, boy does my head-focused self hold me in contempt or potential contempt..

the call to adventure

This is a very important time. I can tell by how uncomfortable I am. Remember last month when I could barely move? WAY more comfortable than this. (i’m not sure if i wrote much from christmas through the Super Bowl. i really have no idea. but i was the worst i’ve been since the onset of the disease (70+ mostly agonizing days), i couldn’t hold a water bottle that was more than half full, and my quite light comforter was too heavy for me to be able to tend to my own bedlinen. It was rough. So much so that it became untenable and i finally just went to the ER and got my first steroid shot. Wow. 85 percent better in a handful of hours. the miracles of modern medicine.

but what did that represent?

a shift, most certainly

I’ve spent the past decade avoiding western medicine. I don’t want the side effects. and so i carved a route exploring diet and lifestyle choices, energy healing and deep personal work, trauma and connectedness… and these 10 years have re-steered my life so gorgeously, I feel enormously grateful. This last decade, my choices worked for me… even when they didn’t. and they often didn’t. but i was relentless in exploring avenues of wellness. and giving them a fair try (60 days as written is my rule). this, i’ve explored ad nauseam. so back to the discomfort…

i wish my memory for greek mythology was sharper. but, I know this: there’s a point where what worked for the hero- somewhat reliably up until now- stops working. and when that happens, you really want what used to work to continue working and it SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS. All that time developing some mastery and that skillset just became obsolete – and not just a dead-end path, an obstacle to the new skillset because you are thrown in to overcoming any sense that you know anything at all.

I spent a decade with alternative therapies to the exclusion of pharmaceuticals.  i am currently out of my depths. None of my reliable flare-up relief remedies could touch the trajectory of worsening inflammation. That steroid shot shifted things I couldn’t do on my own, or even with the help of several gifted body modality health practitioners.

Coming to the Rheumatoligst’s office, humbly, but also skeptical. and curious. and hopeful. and afraid. a whole lot going on. And of course he wants me on the DMARD (disease modifying anti-rhemetic drugs) that will hopefully halt the disease’s progress, if not even perhaps reversing it. it comes, as all things, with risks, including prominently disclosed lymphatic cancer warnings (what my father passed from) and of course, because it supresses my immune system, I’ll be needing the shingles vaccine and a few others because risk for infection goes way up…

now, this feels like cascading capitulation.

I will admit, I am skeptical about pharmaceutical solutions being necessary as often as they are prescribed. and i don’t want to discount the remarkable shift in quality of life that the pharmaceutical industry has provided for countless people. But i’ve also noticed that once a person starts taking pills for one thing, they often begin to have to add to that arsenal to counter the side effects. The healthiest older women I know (both 83) don’t take a single prescription.  I would really like to try to address my health by diffusing the source of the inflammation, not covering it up or trading it for another source.

But what I’ve been doing doesn’t work anymore.

I am at that moment in the hero journey

and i’m pretty sure the hero (heroine… buddha…) doesn’t just pick up a new roadmap and start following it.

no, no, no.

the hero (heroine… buddha…) takes a breath. surrenders to the vulnerability and finds her place in it. Where is the center of gravity? where is the connection to earth and nature and life itself. in our balance and in our breath.. and from there we can begin to access our resources and the flow of life itself. from there we can reimagine our skillset to reveal whole other dimensions of our gifts. Chasing security doesn’t offer that kind of return. Chasing security is an endless chase after an elusive (if existent) target. Operating from the center of our being, in acknowledgement of our connection to all of life, and with willingness to open to the new, whatever that might look like (not a natural human tendency) – this is the hero journey.

and i’m in that moment that i don’t know what my next step is or should be, what the new looks like, or if i can find my place in it. Part of me wants to retreat into another diet protocol for at least a month before I jump into a very expensive and somewhat unnatural pharmaceutical dependency. Part of me wants to just start taking their cascade of prescriptions and vaccines. I have no idea what is going to happen (probably something in the middle, but even that prediction assumes the future like the past and I really want to take this opportunity to blow the doors off that assumption for once and for all – however else can the new truly present itself and be recognized?)

I feel proud of how well I’ve managed RA these many years (and the wonderful influences that supported and continue to support my wellness). I feel ashamed that I couldn’t beat the disease (or at least even get it into remission!) with the power of my attitude and outlook. I failed as a natural self-healer. Of course, the first rule of bodyfulness (or the second) is ‘healing happens in relationship’. and our primary relationship is with the present moment.

and i think that’s what the hero (heroine, buddha) remembers. all this prognosticating doesn’t serve. “what should i do? what should i do?” “should i go this way or that way? this way or that way?” All that is a distraction, and a most disconcerting one because it spends all kinds of energy without really garnering anything at all. Hardly a sound investment.

What is the orientation of the hero in that moment? To be in the present moment. put down your weapons and assumptions, pick up sensitivity and listening, and see what this moment brings and what it evokes deep in your belly, which calls on every insight you’ve ever gleaned and says, “sing to me now, this song of you, here, in relationship to the world bursting with potential and offering to take you home.”

the garden of our heart

My sister, who has been very active in turning my health around this last month, has connected me with a really wonderful, compassionate and insightful hypnotherapist who I am so delighted to be exploring new territory with (or just cleaning up old territory?).. anyhow, she gave me a book that had a recommendation/exercise about curating and tending the garden in the heart. This coincides with the Adyashanti 30 day wake-up challenge (that should be italicized, because it’s a book name, but my arthritic fingers are cutting all kinds of corners…) which this week is focused on the spiritual heart surrounding the physical heart… and I had this marvelous experience I’d like to document here…

Imagining “the garden in my heart” I felt the gorgeous magnolia tree anyone who visited would remember from “camp” with a blanket of bluebells at it’s feet… But there was a dark area of my garden, and in that darker area I also noticed that there was a fence surrounding the garden. And, crouched in a little corner was a particularly gloomy, almost golem-y (from LoTR, not Jewish folklore – although now that i say it that may apply, too). I asked that miserable being what she needed, and the response was – ‘to get out of here… freedom’

Then i had this great image of the scene in pirates of the caribbean (capitalized, italicized) when Will Turner visits Jack Sparrow in jail, and to help him Jack says, ‘if you want my help, you have to help me escape’ to which Turner replies (something like) ‘easy enough, since i built these cell bars’ and applies a little leverage, and voila, free pirate.

This dynamic hit me (my husband would be so proud of all of these nerdy references) and I felt wrought iron fencing all around my garden that I could easily dismantle and reform into a trellis leading from my garden to goodness knows where, with wisteria and morning glory climbing… just lovely, and a protective fence no more. As for the grey, morose being… she took off the second the first panel separated from the second panel. Godspeed.

It was such a pleasant visual/mental/conceptual meandering, and so I wanted to document it. I also really feel it’s representative of the dynamics finally getting the space for some fresh air, and the rush of fresh air responding to that opportunity. Exciting times.

if i’m fool enough to listen

quoting elizabeth gilbert quoting i think w.c. fields, ‘ it doesn’t matter what they call you, it’s what you answer to’

it’s awful what my own internal being ‘calls me’ sometimes. and how long it takes before i remember i don’t have to believe it. this is a whole dynamic i am committed to shift.

this time last year, i was committed to brushing my teeth gently and slowly. Man, I thought I’d never get there. so much so that i gave up trying, and recently noticed i am pretty slow and gentle brushing my teeth. this gives me optimism about the test at hand.

i’m in a pretty isolated little world. my physical capacity is pretty limited. i don’t get out much. i have no co-workers, clients or even vendors.  I have an unusually harmonious homelife and while we are sometimes a bit bored, we are rarely particularly stressed and we have the freedom to pursue our interests. My interests are health, evolution and the we-space. I have so much great information about these things from the dozens of books i am reading at any given time. Brilliant thinkers, compassionate practitioners, inspiring insights. I could talk about it all day. But, i don’t. I don’t do much of anything, actually. Being able to get around a little better, I don’t know what to do. So i’m basically doing the same things I was doing when i couldn’t walk: reading, listening, sitting, being. Part of me is disgusted with myself. Part of me feels incredibly lucky. Part of me is just sitting there, waiting patiently to be inspired to do what life is asking of me.

in 1996 I got a job and kept pestering my new boss for things to do. Finally, he told me ‘i exchange your time for my money. and right now, what i want you to do is sit there and be ready when the time comes that i need you, and don’t bother me until I come to you.’

i feel like i’m in a similar situation with the universe.

The Martha Postlewaite poem that started this blog led to me feeling “Bodyfulness” was the song that is my life falling into my own cupped hands. The energy of that has changed (although i still feel fully resonant with it) and I really have no idea what to do.

Lucky, then, i practice being so much. Because when my habitual deference to my mind starts up again, and tells me what a pathetic and awful loser I am, willfully ruining my own life and others’, at some point the recognition that I have a choice comes up – and my job is reducing my endurance of the awful stories and making the space for life and potential. I think that Jesus said to pray without ceasing because unless life is a prayer, it can get very ugly indeed. at least in my head. i truly hope to grow out of this phase of being and into fuller and fuller surrender, complete with curiosity and trust. more time like that.. yes, please.