Monthly Archives: June 2018

Milestones

I am one day into my fifty-first year, having turned 50 yesterday, and i’ve got to say, so far i like it. I did, of course, have a particularly delicious lead in. Now that I am here at the keyboard, i can’t even chronicle the last few days. it is too tender and sweet.

And there are so many good things to talk about.

I’ve had dozens of blogposts running in my mind these last four days when I’ve remained largely pixel-free. Sweet moments of understanding, of recognition. Acknowledgements of patterns in nature and of nature itself. Harmony. Effulgence. Right now? Nothing. And they were good, too. I miss them and hope they come back. Ideas I wanted to explore and consider and share…

I feel like I’ve been praying for a very long time with periods of the feeling of progress, but this past weekend was like a firehouse of the love and gorgeousness of life itself showered upon me again and again. I have had the full spectrum of emotions and relational struggles this past year, doubts and discomfort and enduring, but in these days, no question, the universe said, “everything’s ok. in fact, everything is flipping beautiful. and loves you. and everyone else. a lot.”

Nice message!

There were a few moments of personal triumph, too! Like not voicing my frank opinion to a person who was struggling. I am pretty free with that and I think I am going to stick to the Japanese, you’ll need to ask three times. i was always a one-time gal, and as I reflect back, i often spoke preemptively to any asking at all. But my opinion was meaningless, and she needed to just be pointed back into herself, and it was gratifying to really feel into that. So this is a good step.

This is also funny: I was describing my experience to my friend in these glowing terms, how amazing it was, how wonderful it was, and then i said, i was so cold the first night that the second night I slept with the hair dryer so when i woke up to the cold sheets i could warm them quickly. She was aghast. visually repulsed. she was like, i am never staying there, good god that sounds awful. And I had to laugh. Because yes, it was a drag, but just a little drag compared to all the big awesomeness, and the hair dryer solved the drag, and i was just so happy, but yeah, now that i hear it through your ears that does sound kinda bad.

But when you’re in love, nothing else matters. Where there is love, nothing else matters – from my 8 nights with Ganesha. But that’s a story for another session…

not what I thought. again.

It’s funny that we even trust our thinking, it is wrong so often. the thought stream is this largely generic constant progression of swirling miscellany, and yet we assemble it in such a way as to give it great personality and meaning. There is great wisdom in the human mind, but that drops precipitously when we talk about the human thought stream. In general, that’s just swirl.

Nevertheless, i get caught up in them as much as anyone else, and I start believing them. and that is almost never useful. Understanding the difference between being caught in the thought stream and accessing your bonafide individual learning for application to a situation is like night and day. In Sweden, in my case. I can go for long periods not accessing the thought stream (because I am too busy being in my body, in the moment). that’s like summer in Sweden.

Then i’ve got those spells wherein I just swirl around the thought stream and everything stays dark. that’s the winter in Sweden. The thought stream is not light, it’s not progressive, it’s got all kinds of stuff in it, but none of them lead to freedom. Even the thought of freedom is a bondage unless the experience of freedom can be accessed through the thought (which it can, but the thought stream doesn’t let that happen much. because experiencing the freedom means taking a break from the thought stream long enough to touch that freedom. that’s a longer break than the thought stream allows.)

I’m shooting video for the udemy course. it’s fun, but i’ve got too much information and i’m not much for scripting. my test days were easy and went well. yesterday i tried to dive in now that the setup is right, and yeah, it didn’t go as i expected. what it did do: it went as it went. for better or worse, some experience has been experienced and chances are it will contribute to the better execution of the overall project as it continues. But, silly me, i thought i’d be done by now.

And I’m not. And I might miss my deadline. And I’m ok with that.

Part of my practice is finding things curious instead of good or bad. Trusting that if this didn’t happen, it’s for the best. Trusting whatever happens. It’s freeing. And it keeps me out of the thought stream. Because the thought stream is just going to tell me all of the things that “it not going as well as I’d hoped” means. It means I am all sorts of undesireable things, and it may even mean that i suck. But if I’m not in the thought stream looking for meaning, i can be experiencing the meaning that is happening, which is never good or bad, it always just is.

The knowledge of good and evil.  The judgement of good or bad. That is definitely when things started to get complicated…

finding a safe space

I didn’t realize, until i was developing this program, how important a safe space is, or rather, i thought the emotional safe space was necessary, i knew having a container for your experience – but it’s also a physical safe space we need.

I didn’t recognize until a few months ago that I didn’t have a comfortable place in the house other than bed. things are fine, the couch is a stupid depth, and the chairs are pretty comfortable but not ‘release the body’ comfortable.

So I made one.

Built out of foam shapes. It’s super comfortable. my feet rest up on my bed, which relieves a lot in my back and neck. it’s great. i wish i understood this sooner. spending even just a minute a day (it’ll never be shorter than that because it’ll feel so good to relax, you couldn’t take just one and then have to go through the effort of getting up)

But, let me tell you, I look for moments to spend a minute or 15 in this safe, comfortable space, just breathing and relaxing sometimes thinking, but always coming back to the breath and body release.

i have been doing this (breath and body release) for a long time, and it continually gets more interesting. but having a daily place to achieve that i think is a big part of continued wellness. it’s a wellness enhancer FOR SURE.

I feel about sitting/laying in this space the way I used to feel about cigarettes.

I don’t feel that way about cigarettes any more. Not one bit. Which is shocking to me because i have ALWAYS in the back of my mind known that if the conditions were right I would certainly smoke. and who knows, i may still, but it’s sortof repugnant to me more than nostalgic, which is a category it has always held. positive nostalgia. but i’ve worked through enough coffee enemas that I will probably never subject myself to it again (it often gives me terrible pain, but the coffee enema usually solves it. TMI, i know. but my time isn’t up and it’s what came out.

so, yes, a safe place. a seat you feel good and can relax, and a safe emotional confidant – this is loam for getting into the stillness of the body from which all action flows and all tension relaxes.

ohmygoodness, i do love me some stillness. But it’s too much to write about it without doing it, so i’m a little short on my time because stillness in my safe place awaits and i can’t resist it!

Wait! I’ve built my current safe space in my bedroom, with my knees up. i think i could do this with a yoga mat and a pillow in the midst of traveling. finding a comfortable position. Wow, this is such a big deal. and this is where i so admire my college friend Lauren Hall for the work she does with supportive housing in SF. And I leave it at that cuz i want to talk about it more, but another day: stillness calls (but i did end up making the time)

Infinity

Driving along the canyon road,  I was thinking about a dog that’d gotten bit by a rattlesnake. I wondered how many rattlesnakes lived in that canyon. I figured the number is finite, but to have a finite number you have to have a border or a boundary, saying, “within this designated space, there are exactly this many rattlesnakes. today.”  because along with a spacial boundary we need a time boundary as well. To get to a finite number you need to point to something very specific.

The I thought about how much life is in the canyon. and i believe the answer is an infinite amount. Even if you identify some geography and say “how much life is in that space” you can’t really itemize it because everything about it is in an unchanging state of changing. So at one nanosecond, the ratio between dirt and grasses, trees and insects, fungi and molds, reptiles and animals has one answer, but a nanosecond later, this lizard has lost its life, these insects have had a boon to their economy and water  conditions changed as algae bloomed. It is not finite. yet life is in the finite. in it. infinite. right there, and everywhere else, too. infinitely.

The permutations of life on earth are at least relatively finite. Massive changes plop down (fire. books. electric light. plastic) and switch up the dynamics endlessly, but there are so many endless variations, all playing themselves out. The infinite. In the finite. And back again.

___________

I want to end this post here, because there’s a completeness of the feeling I had and I fear going on much more will come from struggle and I want to come from curiosity and openness. but i’m not out of time, and so I want to continue to write. I’ve spent so much time on the Udemy writing I have somewhat neglected these postings. but only kindof. isn’t that the story of my life. i am ready to transcend the stories, perhaps exactly through including them, but that’s another story. The next story I want to talk about is grief. and i still have 5 minutes. so here we go.

In my experience of grieving my health and the missed expectations, I imagined my grief sitting next to me on a porch, looking at a stunning view. Most of the time we just sat there, me and grief. sometimes we talked, but not too much. it didn’t necessarily change my pain, but it changed my relationship to the pain. Whether or not you are in pain we can all learn from this lesson of presence, befriending the ostracized and just being.

Spending time in this way, I began to accept my body as a teacher, as an instrument of life itself, expressing. I turned my attention to fulfilling my role: tending my time, feeding and caring for my body, choosing my worldview. And my worldview mostly looked like: I am certain i can make a best of this. Little did I know. It began to make the best of me. But that’s another story…

Allowing the grief, feeling where it sits in the body, relaxing into it and breathing. Asking it questions. Feeling the changes, listening to them. spending time just being in a state of listening – not a state of thinking, but a state of feeling. I read the other day that you can’t do both at the same time, and in my experience over these several days, as i am present in the body my mind pauses, but then i pop back into it to report on whatever that feeling was so i can judge it as good or bad or anything else. That dynamic usually gets a fraction of a second in a feeling state and the next 30 seconds- to several hours- thinking about it. That’s the pattern we’re changing the ratio on. More feeling, breathing, smiling – it naturally pushes aside the worrying, fretting and trying to control. just for a second. but, oh, what a second.

I love them so much I want to be a collector. but the only way you can collect present moments is in the present moment, but you get all of it instead of the piddly little bit we allow ourselves as we are rushing to “do”

 

i’m doing it again

May was a difficult month. Sometimes that happens. It is a little easier when it is happening in May because there is so much beauty in the spring’s dance to summer, but uncomfortable feelings, difficult emotions, worries and fears have a way of making that only mild solace. And then of course when the moment’s awareness says, “just another thought!” and the flowers gain a little color until the next time my mind takes the bait.

Often, when I am having a difficult time I will put myself into puzzles or little things that help  me feel like even though I might be the most deluded and ineffectual people in the world (<– that person took the bait!) at least I can bring order to this string of colors or numbers or game. Sometimes it helps. It is fleeting, like everything else. But my body is trained to enjoy “accomplishing something” or “finishing a task” or “being smart enough.” It’s an interesting technique. It’s helped me (see Candy Crush, CMFT entry last year). And I’m happy to have little wins when my mind seems tuned to “dreary FM”.

Reading Jack Kornfield’s “After the Ecstacy, the Laundry” and it is so refreshing because it basically talks about the fact that awakening is a process that has highs and lows. We hear a lot about the highs, and less about the lows – the bouts of depression before and/or after a period of enlightenment or integration. It’s part of the truth of life: ebbs and flows. In theory, the Realized Master is whole in both ebb and flow. Getting there – getting to wholeness much less the ability to maintain it in good times or bad – is a process. Spiritual lottery may hand out the occassional all-access pass to permanent divine awareness (really? permanence? we know better than that), but for the most part, that human is in there, too, gumming up the works. Making bad decisions. Responding poorly (because it’s not responding, it’s reacting). And compassion is hard to come by when there’s so much evidence we’re wrong. And that’s why compassion is so freaking important.

also in the book, the fact that the Dalai Lama had never heard of self-hatred and when he learned how many experienced it just in the room with him, he wept. What a horrible concept! And, like everything else, self-hatred is a spectrum, and there are plenty of acceptable forms of it culturally. There are acceptable forms of lots of very destructive things. And so we have to listen to a different call. The call of the heart. Of knowing how you lean, and in what you root. And rooting in compassion, for self and others, is obviously the right choice. but it’s more than a choice, it is a series of choices. one after the other, day after day. I have a lot of evidence that I didn’t act with compassion and I could have. But we all must forgive ourselves. It us our mind and these trains of thought that hold us hostage. Totally self-imposed.

Tai Chi was also, as usual, excellent today. I was a mess. but it was excellent.