time flies

I’ve been doing the Perelandra Microbial Balancing Program for the last few months, and very intensively for the last few weeks (it’s a flower essences program, mostly, to support the microbes that support our biome) and I can only begin to describe how much I am enjoying it – even though it is taking up quite a bit of time. It’s hard for me to imagine why it took me so long to start this program, since I’ve enjoyed Perelandra’s MAP program for almost a decade, but I think it has everything to do with needing to slow down first. I notice the more relaxed I am as I do the processes, the more I get out of it – and even on my best day 5 years ago I had nowhere near the body awareness and groundedness I have on my worst day now.  Another example of how slowing down is delivering things to me that I have wanted but simply weren’t available while I was running around chasing them down.

I’m writing my next Udemy course: “Bodyfulness: Like Mindfulness without all that Pesky Thinking.” I think i’ll probably change the subheading, but I am enjoying it today.

Probably most people haven’t been coopted by their minds the way I have been, and so this is no revelation for your average bear. But for me, and people like me, stopping the runaway mental train and taking a dip in the cool refreshing body pool is the height of luxury. Peace of mind, in my experience, comes only when I am not in it. Kindof like the music room in a preschool: the only time it is quiet and peaceful is when it is uninhabited.

Between my sister and the teacher, I had a real lesson in self acceptance over the last few weeks. Not everyone is going to like me. Sometimes I may even agree with them. But I am here, and I am contributing something and I need to square with that. I am tired of trying to control my every word and move. I’m pretty freaking self-reflective and I’m now, finally, at 50 years old, going to throttle back on that. I’ve kept myself under a microscope for so dang long, I think a reprieve is not only in order, it is a necessity. I’m just going to be me. And when the goddess Kali inhabits me, I’m not going to apologize for her.  Everybody loves Kali except when she’s pointed at them…

I feel I’ve crossed a threshold of sorts. Between all of these things and the talks I did this weekend, I am sensing a shedding of one of the layers within which I’ve kept myself shrouded. I love the Paul Selig work so much with the depth of resource to help shed old pictures. Like the Tao Te Ching says, Education is accumulating knowledge. Wisdom is shedding it…

life as master teacher

Life delivers us opportunities. endlessly. we can kindof curate some of the lessons, but i think that’s just a story i tell myself. But, I do trust the universe. i can answer the ‘is the universe friendly?’ question with a resounding “yes” but sometimes little bits of me didn’t get the memo. and they come up to catch some air. and if i can be aware enough, i can welcome them into the fresh air and you know, hopefully, integrate them. But there are hundreds of things i thought i’d integrated that keep coming up for air. and maybe my reaction time is getting better, but maybe not. but i am committed. i will look and hold space even for the parts of me for which i am ashamed. They are there, too. If I’m open to the full spectrum of my humanness I need to be open to them. the parts of me I want to be different (notice i did not say i want to change – a subtle but important distinction, and one i’m not proud of. it colors me a slacker, which is painfully true). Anyway, it’s uncomfortable. but what makes it bearable is my intent. Having an intent of serving Divine Mother, and cocreatively evolving towards greater love, freedom and relationship, as all of nature is evolving, always has, always will. I will make mistakes. some will be stupid. some will be spectacular. wins and losses in turn… but that can only be based in duality. without duality, they aren’t wins or losses. life just is. all decisions life-positive results, even when that life-positivity is in the decline and renewal stage. naming it was just so silly.

that tree of good and evil… i’m so curious what life would look like had that fruit never been eaten. but even more than some mythical protohuman making that choice, we’re still making it and we don’t just eat the apple, we eat apples 10x per day. Even with the deep and true intent to receive all of life as the expression of god in her fullness, i act like johnny appleseed, making sure everyone has apple -everything so judgement of good and evil is part of every meal, every drink, every inhalation/exhalation. Here’s my stick. Doesn’t it make sense? good ideas, bad habits… i’ve got a line on all of them and they’re all on my scale. This is a habit, and a habit begins to unravel as awareness offers knowledge of choice in the present moment.

‘there’s nothing wrong here’ was a kind of mantra for me a couple of years back. i trained myself to sit back 5-10 times per day and be in a few moments of acknowledging that it just may be possible that what is happening is the most glorious unfolding of life itself experiencing love in every facet.  it’s a nice habit. it never let me get to far down the rabbit hole of things wrong with me, or the house, or the country. a moment of acknowledgement of trust in the universe over my mental dialogue. then, with the body practices, i gave up the sortof negatively phrased words and moved into a body experience of being for those interludes. and now i play games of cueing to get it in as often in the day as i can. because it feels so good. and being in a tense physical/mental space is exhausting. and the healing begins with the decision to remember that it just might be possible that we are life expressing itself with infinitely more variations and interconnections we could possibly understand, and it’s all ok. glorious, in fact. one breath, one smile, one release at a time.

life is complicated

It’s funny. When things are in flow and my mind is at peace, I have a hard time understanding how I can ever be sad/fearful/frustrated. When things have me kerfluffled, I have similar confusion about how I can be at peace. Thank God for mantra, which at least settles me into a more neutral space, where my kerfluffledness is something i can wait out without necessarily believing.

The teacher I mentioned yesterday sent me an extremely passive aggressive response, cloaked in all sorts of nice language and exclamation points. It really clarified that she’s not the teacher for me (as if I had any doubt, which, by the time I wrote my disenrollment letter, i did not). It did make me realize I could have been nicer. Of course I could have been nicer. Couldn’t we all be nicer? But, this lady who sent this email with all the exclamation points was very, very nice in her reply. Very nice saying ‘eff off’ with flowery words and feigned deference. And she’s the peace teacher. sometimes being nice is a lie. as a matter of fact, being nice when the truth is otherwise feels even worse to me than being authentically shitty. So, I’m struggling with how I feel about all of this, especially as it relates to my relationship with my sister.

Add to it that sometimes, when I am pissed off and I let the person or company know, it makes systemic change. Numerous times when something happened and I called it out (while everyone else was being ‘nice’ about it), I’ve been thanked profusely for telling the uncomfortable truth they needed to hear, for breaking something that had been hobbling along and could now be replaced by something better. When we’re witnessing something that is clearly out of resonance with truth, isn’t it our responsibility to at least mention it? Even Jesus said, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” Sometimes, especially when things are horribly wrong and everyone is being nice about it, being authentic, even when authentic is not quite kind, is the more helpful and productive thing to do.

On MLK day I read the letter from a Birmingham jail. MLK was a master. I am not. But I was touched by his frustration with white moderates…

“…the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…”

and then a friend sent a MLK quote..

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

It’s not up to me to determine what matters. but I am responsible for understanding what matters to me. My heart springs right out of my chest and is not very silent at all. While people are telling me to be nicer, I think I need to be a whole lot louder about the enormous injustices perpetrated on the innocent in every city of every state every day. I want my apparent proclivity to speak uncomfortable truths to matter, not to simply serve my annoyance with a perfectly fine teacher’s style. I struggle with balancing reactivity and responsibility, and as I learn to accept myself (warts and all), I need to learn to understand and manage this. People (my sister, and my brother, now that i mention it) want me to change. I think what I really need to do is focus and appropriately direct the things that are naturally a part of me.

Also, today, I saw a yelp review about my beloved monastery that was really messed up and called itself a public service announcement. I know this woman. She’s had an extremely tough life. She’s pulled herself up from incredibly difficult circumstances. I’ve personally found her somewhat delusional and not entirely stable, but with her history I could certainly understand it. But her review was such a weird blend of fact and fiction, so convoluted in painting a picture of her as both victim and hero… i think what she said was true to her, even though the facts are obviously wrong. Does she even know her facts were wrong (for example, calling a volunteer a Swami. things that are objectively wrong)…Is perception reality? How do we balance these multitudinous perceptions into this single reality we share? What’s funny? She was extremely “nice” in her wording…

(not so) hot for teacher….

Today I quit an online course I was taking because I didn’t like the teacher. I really want this to be a lesson to me: she is a perfectly lovely person. she’s quite smart and has lots of good things to say. I just really bristle at the cadence of her speech, i find her attempts to be inclusive wildly condescending, and i found she liked to bolster herself and her accomplishments to the detriment of the content.

None of these things are important. She is not “wrong” and I am not “right.” We just don’t click. And I am too experienced and have too many things to do to hang around with something that makes me bristle.  I might make someone bristle someday, and they may not particularly like me or my style. AND THAT IS SO OK!! It’s entirely OK! It’s like trying to mandate everyone like chocolate ice cream. That is completely unnecessary and seems to neglect the whole idea that diversity is the bounty of this lifetime.

The funny part is, it was a course for building peace.

But part of building peace is knowing where you belong and where you don’t, or don’t want to. Part of building peace is respecting your personal boundaries and moving away from that which disturbs them. Part of building peace is not expecting or needing everyone to sing kumbaya.

I do want to remember this when someone doesn’t like my style and if I sit there with my feelings hurt or wanting to change to make that person feel better. This lovely, intelligent, heart-centered woman does not need to change – she has a whole cadre of supporters who adore her and whom she helps, inspires and serves. She should go right on doing exactly what she is doing, exactly how she is doing it. I simply isn’t for me.

The good news is, I have dozens of teachers whose style I really enjoy. In order for me to make more time for those teachers I had to cut out the teacher I didn’t enjoy (even though I really cared for the topic and content!). This is like trimming rose bushes (ok, maybe not, because I have never trimmed a rose bush – but what I imagine pruning a rose bush to be) —- there are some very healthy things you have to cut back for the overall health of the plant. We must be discerning.  It behooves us to focus on what we love and what we can do to nurture that love.

I’ve struggled with this lady for a few months, and this week it came to a head twice. And i might even be being a little shitty about it. But that rose bush probably felt the clippers were a little bit shitty. sometimes that’s what it takes. I had a brilliant friend tell me to enjoy the shittiness – beyond the judgment, there is an energy that is particularly alive. How great advice is that? Not: try to see the higher way you might express it next time blah blah blah. Embrace it! Enjoy it!

OK!

My friend is a GREAT teacher. I’d probably stay in her class…

the body as the teacher

I’ve had some wonderful teachers in my life. some stood at the front of a classroom, some opened up a world to me through their own interest or habit, and some were just cautionary tales. Each of them impacted me and impact me still. Yet, the one I’ve had the most exposure to, I’ve listened to the least (my parenting hat is nodding along) and as I listen more and more, I recognize just how much wisdom was available to me all along that I so stubbornly ignored whilst I ran all over hell and back looking for answers. Finally learning to slow down is changing all that, and as i relax into it, I soak up more and more. And the best part is: it’s funny.

I’ve been learning a flower essence process over the last few months and things have begun to get somewhat intense. Of course, the more I relax the more I receive and the easier things become. Let me be clear: I am psyched about this process. I am enjoying it, and while it seemed awfully complicated at the beginning, i quite like it and I don’t really care how time consuming it can be. I don’t care one bit. As in, I just did a test it will probably take me months to complete and I am just grateful. Happy to do it. Glad to be in the process. The enormity of the task doesn’t intimidate me, or make me rue the start of it. I’m just grateful. In fact, the more I do it, the more gratitude I feel so the fact it may take months makes me curious about how much gratitude might be available to me at the end – not necessarily because of any specific result, but simply because i’ve opened up to gratitude more. anyway…

Much like the evolution of breathing while at red lights has become a whole driving deep breathing session with full body relaxation at the lights, i keep getting senses of “this could help” leading me to deeper levels of relaxation and better uses of my time. Usually with a joke. Which is usually “on me.” Lovingly, but pointedly. There is no question I have taken myself far too seriously. My body hasn’t been making the same mistake. Which is funny, because it seems it had to basically get very unfunny in order for me to lighten up.

I’m excited to learn what my body has to teach me, in general as well as through this flower essence process and any other processes or protocols I am drawn to through genuine interest, curiosity and excitement. My body as my teacher does not have me learning a set curriculum (and perhaps this is the paradigm shift that most eluded me) but a fluid and ever-changing dynamic that invites me to participate in life, in the moment, in new and refreshing ways. This is so much better than my “determined seeking” for solutions and “the right answer.” So much better. I hope I never go back, and that if I do, I shorten the time it takes me to remember this very gentle, loving, interesting and funny option that is always awaiting my attention to blossom.

not you again…

Fear gripped me today. It reminded me of everything I don’t have, everything I haven’t done. The things I’m screwing up. The likely demise of everything I hold dear, and at the very least, all of the many things I’ve done wrong and that show I’m a pretty bad person. The ominous energy of a life on the brink of collapse.

It may have been right. It may still be. Maybe some of it, maybe all of it. Only time will tell.

Luckily, I’ve been at this game long enough to recognize that believing my thoughts is the beginning of the end. So, while the shame and fear laid out more shame and fear, I started to breathe. Not the normal breath of my 19,000 regular breaths per day, but the deep, intentional breath of someone who is going to feel into her body, even when it feels terrible. Even when that feeling is the very last feeling I want to feel. Even when I might have to accept that feeling as the truth.

It wasn’t.

My life is not perfect. I have major holes in my capabilities. While I have a harmonious family life, we have no guarantees we’re doing right by our kids. And usually, when I get on a high horse about how glad I am for the choices we make, it doesn’t take me long to fall of said horse and have an episode like what came today.

But, the breath brought me home. To stability and groundedness because whatever truth I need to face, I can face and indeed embrace. If i’m not willing to embrace it, it will own me – and i’m not willing to be owned.

I think I wrote about the QHHT past life regression session I did in December. It was good. It was all about choices. Experience. Good experience and bad experience, it’s ok. Life experiencing life in its multitudinous varieties. No value judgments. Choices.

Last night I was telling a friend about some really delicious pipe dreams that have plopped into my consciousness. Really fun fantasies about living and working in a new way. It was met with a whole lot of eye rolling and I got pretty cocky about my happy attitude, how I don’t need my pipedreams to come true (perhaps why I call them pipedreams instead of plans) and how open i am. I am pretty sure that cockiness is what led to today’s episode. I keep riding the rollercoaster instead of gliding gently along. Maybe that’s not why I let the, well, opposite of a pipedream in, but maybe it is. In any case, it was the opposite of the pipedream.

Pipedreams I use as an emotional set-point. A “wouldn’t it be fun” story that can keep me entertained and imaginative. Negative pipedreams I try to use as learning tools. How long does the fear keep me? What pompous atrocity have i accused someone (or myself) of that I now have the opportunity to better understand and better yet forgive. How can I breathe my way through it, feeling what my body feels about it and, through inquiry, letting it move through me.

So, that was today. Truth be told, it was a relatively small part of today, but it came and went probably half a dozen times. I did my best. I never succumbed to a full-on anxiety about my imaginings (because isn’t everything but this exact present moment an imagining), but even if I did, I think the same lifeline applies. Life is going to deal me what it is going to deal me. I can be present to it, even when it is uncomfortable, and that is … well, I think that might be freedom.

flashes of freedom

My slowing down practice has been evolving for several years now, and it is mostly taking on a life of its own. i try to direct it sometimes, but usually fail. And then, it leads me somewhere better.

Breathing deeply at red lights became full body relaxation at lights and is now a whole new state of being while driving. It’s practically a meditation chamber. But, the most exciting discovery to date is this idea of truly only doing what my body wants to do. Really feeling into it. I haven’t been this cautious since I used to ask my mom or dad if I was allowed to do something. but checking in with my body, getting my body’s permission, is exhilarating. It’s like my body is so darned happy to be consulted it rewards me with energetic sparklers (or points to a very heavy brick). It offers me the opportunity to get entirely out of the drama (no matter how many times I may pull myself back into those mental conversations) but even more importantly, what I am noticing through this week or so of using my cueing for body decisions, I’m so much more GRATEFUL. It is as if I’ve been trying to work myself to be grateful for things, to be more mindful of things I am grateful for, I’ve been trying to be active in generating more gratitude, but making this space for and in my body has the gratitude pouring out of me. Indeed, I think i’d been going about it all wrong. I like this way so much better!

My body is so damned happy that I am paying attention to it in this deeper way it is rewarding me with enhanced senses. and more space. even though my general pain level is still there (much better than the end of last year, happy to report) there is more space, more freedom… the pain is actually more diffuse (except when it isn’t. but even my attitude towards it is gentler, more compassionate, less bothered or impatient). But the lightness of mind is the biggest shift.  It seems somehow easier to focus on the present moment. like i belong there. here.

My daughter had a volleyball tournament today. Gyms are tough on me. I try to tough it out occasionally, you know, to support my kids, and even though i’ve made the decision not to go to these things, I still typically have a certain amount of guilt about it. But this one was close. like, down the street. and i could leave after even just a set. Checking in with my body, there was no way on God’s green earth I was going and suddenly, I got excited instead of guilty. Excited to be ok with my decision, but also excited by the freedom. that it didn’t mean I wasn’t interested in her or her performance, that it simply isn’t what my body wants to do. And even if it did make me a bad parent, well, yes, we all have some lesser qualities – and I don’t need to be the illusive and illusory ‘perfect mom’. I’m going to be the mom who honors herself. When she got home, she seemed excited to relay the high-points, to relive it in the telling. I didn’t have to apologize. –I’ve danced quite a bit with the conundrum of me not attending my kids’ sports, and i’ve hammered out mental treaties about why it does not make me a bad person and I’ve felt defiantly entitled to not go, but never before have I felt freedom and freedom from guilt and even a certain revelling. And as my daughter told me about her plays, I realize positive aspects that I didn’t ever see before – how as much as she’d like me to see her kick some ass out there, people watching isn’t what makes it great. Doing it because you love doing it and every part of you wants to do it is what makes it great. Whether it’s volleyball or slowing down…

healing is a team sport

have i mentioned here about the illness/wellness i/we thing i heard from Tara Brach’s winter solstice satsang? It’s been on my mind so much lately. I remember Dr. Kupperberg telling me “healing happens in relationship” and how that absolutely blew my mind. I thought it was up to me to heal, and then go into relationships – that that is how they would be healthy. but indeed, we heal each other as we relate. we need each other. we really do. and even the yogi alone on the mountaintop needs the air and the sun and the ground on which he sits, and the insects that maintain that ground and the water and the icecaps who melt to provide it. Then you have people like me who are so reliant on Tucker and my kids and our friends and family, teachers, authors, that one person who said something in passing that one time that opened up a whole new way of thinking… we are the result of so many influences, so many people touch us, impact us, change us, restore us, inspire us.

Sometimes healing feels lonely. sometimes all of it feels lonely. Is it in the bible “if you knew who walked beside you, you would never feel alone”? Every poem, every song, every smile – these things shape us. they keep us connected to ourselves, each other, this planet and species and far beyond what we can see. Even when we are alone, we carry the imprint of every influence and we can access that connection if only we open our hearts to it.

I’m pretty blown away by how many wonderful influences I’ve had, things i would have overlooked before I started slowing down. When i was on the chase I was looking for that big influence that would change me not recognizing I had dozens of them working their magic every day. Ramana Maharshi didn’t open my heart chakra through transmission (to my knowledge), but Walt Whitman has directly indirectly. We all impact each other, even if we don’t write poems.

We also can’t know all of our impact – which is why the Bhagavad Gita talks about practice and nonattachment. When we’re attached to our results, strange things take over. When we act from our hearts and engage wholeheartedly with the world, we are becoming that which we can’t help but become, but each and every flower (that has bloomed or not bloomed) has helped/is helping us get there.

really really slow

As my mind unwound yesterday, I could feel how much tension was in my body. I knew this, of course. it was part of the reason I was so upset! Not wanting to induce that kind of tension on myself was a huge reason I stopped engaging in any testy or tricky relationships during the months after my surgery. Now that we’d come into the new year and various things made me review the relationships (is it ok to withdraw from close relationships?), the tension was frustrating. But once the frustration broke, the tension was revealed in its fullness and so today has been very focused on releasing that tension. And, of course, tension weakens the body, and so in addition to trying to stretch and relax the muscles I also need to work to strengthen them.

This is such a great way to take responsibility for my own experience. The way my body feels and my ability to apply my resources toward improvement is within my purview. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me, it matters how I feel. And when I start to revisit my dramas, I use that as a cue to relax my shoulders and WOW, it’s amazing how tight they get and how quickly. Needless to say, I had lots of cues today.

It made me a little sad because I hadn’t noticed how many of my ad hoc practices (the 100 breaths I try to take throughout the day, for example) minimized during my mental drama. I thought I’d advanced past things falling off the map. It’s humbling. Humbling is good.

This is why I have so many practices, because I need A LOT of practice. Body-based practice, breath-based practice, relaxation-based practice, feeling-based practice. I guess, as I think of it, I did do a lot of extra practices (the byron katie and radical forgiveness worksheets) for my mental health, but without those physical practices, my body suffers.

I am so fortunate to be in a relationship where my husband fully supports and encourages me to be still, to engage in self-care, and even feeds the kids to take it off my plate. And kids that take on responsibility so as to free up my time and still get their needs met. It is this living laboratory of empowering relationships, how people can treat each other. It shines the light on why discernment is so important and relational practices that honor the individuals and the whole. Tucker’s good emotional hygiene and genuinely caring nature is an enormous part of how I’ve been able to encounter this whole broad illness over all of these years with a certain amount of equanimity. His kindness and the container he creates is the foundation of my healing. It is humbling. Humbling is good.

imperfect. and ok. in fact, quite lovely

egads, this thing with my sister has had me in a tussle these last few days. Really edgy. uncomfortable. defensive. offensive. confused, weary and frustrated. That is a very good sign. Pair that with having the good fortune of being behind on the Business Plan for Peace episodes and needing to play catch-up. The chances of those two things coinciding is… well… divine, right?

At the end of the day, i can be perfectly open but only when I feel safe. And, really, I can only feel safe when I am grounded in my body. When I’m up in my head telling stories, I am not safe one bit. There are always more sides to the story! Some clarify the story, but most muddle it. Some make me look like a hero, most make me look like a villain. Actually, very few make me look like a hero –

When I am in my body, weirdly enough, i am free. this moment is my reality, my breath is my privilege and my body is open to sense and respond to the world. It is a beautiful place to be. Every breath I spend here diffuses my problems. As I relax into it, the truth reveals itself to me, both in moments of stillness and in moments of activity – but activity that is purposeful and open – activity inspired by stillness and in service of love in some way. such were the activities of my afternoon. Not grandly in the service of love, just mundanely so. taking josie to get her hair done. then popping into run an errand nearby and next to a used bookstore I just love the energy of. so of course i’ll stop in. even in the downpour (which did dissuade me from buying a book to carry back). but i got to browse and i saw a book entitled: spirituality of imperfection. and i saw it. i saw how much i was trying to be perfect. how much i was trying to defend a perfection that doesn’t exist (certainly not in the context of the mind’s stories, but clearly in the stopping in to a particular bookstore). I’m glad I didn’t buy it, though, because the answer isn’t there. i don’t need another book. i just need to live in the present moment.

don’t get me wrong. i may get and read the book because I love and need the reminders. I go off on stressful tangents when I am not anchored in my body. I need to read about it and talk about it and breathe within it and have it be the basis of my relationships. I need to be in my body and do what my body is asking me to do.

in this case, my body is asking me not to interact with my sister. I’m just not into it and the thought of it provokes an unpleasant physical reaction. OK. Simple.

It’s not until my inner critic pipes in, and the cultural attaché voice, the family guilt voice, my sister’s defensive voice, my angry voice – all these freaking voices! Who needs it? But when I’m in it, I can’t see my way out of it. It’s a maelstrom of confusion and regret and disappointment and yuck!

My body is fine with my sister. It’s fine with her choices and her life. In the past, there were many times when it enjoyed being around her. there were times when it craved it. there may be times again. my body’s only really concerned with how I feel *when the question comes up*

and that is a very, very freeing realization.

and from this grounded place, I can look at the situation anew.

and through the exercises of TheBusiness Plan for Peace, i can put myself in her shoes and argue a very convincing point of view. She has the right to live exactly how she chooses, we all make mistakes and don’t people who rub it in our faces suck, and she deserves my respect. Absolutely. 100%.

I can distill my position to: I don’t need to have things in my life that I don’t want to have in my life. and that doesn’t make me a bad or mean person. I can forgive her for not being who I want her to be, or think she should be. She gets to be herself and I honor that she is an aspect of God, making divine choices and growing each day.  and I get to be myself. And myself is 100% focused on doing things my body is at least balanced or neutral about. All the better if my body is craving it. But first, do no harm. To my body. Even if that means doing harm to my relationships. they have to come second. the only way I am going to succeed in interacting in the world in healing ways is listening to what makes me flourish and stopping things that make me feel yucky.

I spent a lot of time wanting someone’s approval (or at least not such overt disapproval) in my relationship with my brother. I *hated* that he didn’t think I was great (that in fact he wouldn’t so much as defend me to someone who said i was evil to my very core). How could he feel that way about me? I was his sister! Then I proceeded to act in ways that made it very hard for him to possibly like me.

I can see that my sister might feel like I felt, and I feel bad for making her (potentially, i don’t want to assume she feels how i think she feels, she is entitled to her own feelings and not my assumptions). But I think she’s mature enough to know that my approval isn’t going to help her, and i know she knows my company isn’t essential to her having a fun and enjoyable life. Consider the source. She and I have very different lives and very different values right now, it makes sense we might not resonate like we once did. I had to come to that with my brother, and it took 25 or so years, but i don’t think she’ll need that long. and i really have no malice for her. i think she’s lovely in lots of ways.

I feel great freedom listening to my body in this and not needing to be right about anything other than interpreting my own physical state. I don’t need to be right. from a psychological point of view, I am open to the possibility that i am 100% wrong (i can say in any case, i was bonafide mean to her in making the break. which isn’t nice. but i’m not all kuan yin. i’m also kali. she only comes out when she’s repeatedly invoked, but she comes out swinging). When my body allows me, I am happy to address all of it with my sister. I can be present to trauma. i can take responsibility. i can, but not until then (and probably with a facilitator). sadly, my body’s instincts and receptivity is more important than her feelings. that feels horribly selfish, but when i act when my body tells me not to because something else is more important, that’s another invocation of kali. it doesn’t go well.

I am grateful for this practice. I am grateful for the orientation to evolving. I am grateful for the orientation to peace and the course i’m in and the practices. also for the byron katie worksheets and the colin tipping worksheets and that wonderful book i saw in that charming book store. i am grateful to my sister for giving me an opportunity to learn this. to explore the relationship between judgment and discerning, how we make choices, how we fail sometimes and that has to be ok. because it is. and to shed the guilt and the doubt and appreciate the serendipity even if you haven’t seen it yet, trusting that life is unfolding as it only can, that it loves each of us with the fullness of the universe, and the more I can be in my body and in the present moment, the more I can recognize it.