There are so many irrational fears that run through my head on a moment by moment millisecond basis it's amazing that I am out and walking about at all. I used to be a bit condescending towards a friend who was a germaphobe or others who are afraid of travel or dirt and germs or spiders and snakes... I'm not afraid of natural things... people scare the shit out of me... apparently only because I CARE... the opposite of what I tell myself... that I DON'T care. How fucked up is that?!! If I REALLY didn't care then I wouldn't be so frightened.
I have to give myself some serious kudos that I am able to demonstrate the level of bravery that has gotten me though my life to date. The continued bravery is necessary for the most mundane day to day experiences and like cleaning house, the last layer of shit is the most revealing when it's finally lifted or cleared away.
And like so many other things... I am perfectly in sync and flow. I am ready to know and clear on my boundaries... many of them. I have learned to pause and check in and listen carefully before I respond or react. I couldn't face my internal judge until I was willing to stand up for something. I couldn't stand up for anything until I made some choices and took time to tune into my internal stations.
Now I can fiercely stand and kindly communicate my preferences. I can speak my fears if only to whisper them to myself. Wow that is BRAVE since I'm the harshest censor of all! Well done!
Peeling the onion as a metaphor for life... I'm done with it. It always kinda pissed me off... the never ending-ness of it and today I discovered a replacement that is just as appropriate and much more inspiring. I finished the 12 week course in the Artist's Way and not until the Epilogue does the image on the cover click!
Artist's Way Epilogue - Julia Cameron
"What I conjure now is a mountain of Himalayan proportions with a path winding upward to its height. That path, a spiral path, is how I think of the Artist's Way. As we pursue climbing it, we circle back on the same views, over and over, at slightly different altitudes. 'I've been here before,' we think, hitting a spell of drought. And, in a sense, we have been. The road is never straight. Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping.
As artists, our progress is often dogged by rough terrain or storms. A fog may obscure the distance we have covered or the progress we have made toward our goal. While the occasional dazzling vista may grace us, it is really best to proceed a step at a time, focusing on the path beneath our feet as much of the heights still before us. The Artist's Way is a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage home to the self..."
The timeliness of this image is mind blowing! Truly! As I prepare for a poetry reading event I've been reviewing my journals from the 70's 80's and 90's. As usual I've found it disturbing how wise I was and how I seemed to forget lessons and insights so readily; disturbing and borderline depressing, actually. So depressing in fact I had taken solace in a recent On Being segment regarding depression... The Soul In Depression.
I was comforted beyond expression when I read the passage above this morning and understood, from a different perspective (altitude) we will experience the same views over and over and this is fine and normal. Progress, as I understand it does not apply to this pilgrimage. What a relief!
It's useful to discover and recover and identify the past and look at it only so long. The saying goes the past is in the rear view mirror but if you keep staring at it you'll run the car off the road. So... whatever the relationship was I'm choosing a different future.
How to begin? I don't consider myself very adept at developing relationships. I have, however, learned in the last few years a few things. Time is important. Dedicated - uninterrupted time to be with the other and listen and share. This builds intimacy, shared experiences, memories, relate-able events and moments to draw on for future reference.
That's all. That's were to begin. A body date, I'll call it something interesting and fun and set aside the time... not to exercise, specifically... more to come, stay tuned.
I wrote a poem recently the first ever.... where I express some appreciation for my physical being. The Temple.... it's on the poetry page. My body is an amazing "machine"... with more wisdom in the cells in my little finger than any doctor... let's see them grow a finger nail or heal a cut. I appreciate the knowledge and wisdom right under my nose... I'm intimidated by getting to know more about it and communicate with it. Obviously there are billions of dollars of products and services designed to assist me in the pursuit. No thanks... for now. Wow! (see ads below)
I also had a little wake up call and realized that my body has also tortured me and almost killed me. If I hadn't been paying attention, I WOULD BE DEAD... I escaped Melanoma with a couple of surgeries when I was 20 something. If I had listened to the first dermatologist I saw, I would be no longer among the living right now. Right now my knee is being weird and my elbow is pissy. It's more like a relationship of tolerance and annoyance, frustration and cohabitation out of necessity than a partnership or friendship... or love relationship.
Two additional thoughts... I'm NOT COMPLAINING... I could be riddled with some bizarre ailment or disease that consumes my every energy or even a large percentage of my time and money. I respect and honor those among us who have challenges in these areas! I'm just noticing my love hate --- awakening relationship with my physical being.
Perhaps it's an age conversation... it is, after all, very FUCKING impossible to ignore HOT FLASHES... and tender private parts and belly fat. The fact is, aside from standard human maintenance, two surgeries, two broken bones and a diet/exercise binge every 10-15 years I never even gave my body a second thought. Sex was the only really pleasurable experience... I've never been into any type of consistent exercise program... (once in NYC for 6 months).
I'm open to creating a daily dialog. Meditation does make that easier to play with. And apparently muscles quickly go down hill after 50 if you don't fucking exercise... Eating and the amount of food and the things I like to eat are certainly also more at issue and changing. Anyhow... just noticing and curious where my inner guide will go from here. A rock solid loving relationship or the ongoing mutual toleration... time will tell. I am pretty sure I'm not on track to be a yoga guru... just sayin'.
I'm not recommending either of the systems/products below... just pointing them out as mentioned in the intro paragraph. It's a thing... so I'm just basically behind the eight ball and still totally not unique at all... just sayin'...
The only time I've ever had to appear in court is regarding a traffic ticket. And except for an unfortunate incident with an expired license when I was 18, even those court experiences were voluntary. Allow me to take this moment to stress how incredibly grateful I am that this is the case (in point) in my life. I, of course, have intentionally avoided any incidents that would require a court appearance of any kind... at any cost... but I also acknowledge that there is some luck and fate and fucking kismet/karma involved as well. So officially, for the records... thank you Universe and I'm knocking on wood as I say this.
I have a friend who is a family attorney. She also chooses to go to court. It's her job. Wow... just wow...
I had an opportunity to observe a hearing...? not sure if that's the word... an appearance? in family court in Ballston Spa NY. The outcome was a settlement. I found the process interesting... it reminded me of the extensive contract negotiations I participated in with NYC/Board of Education and School Link Tech in my last corporate project. There's a bit of paper with lots of words... my project contract was easily 100 times longer and more detailed than the situation yesterday... but either way... there is paper with words describing acceptable behaviors of humans and delivery of goods and services. There are timelines and schedules laid out in detail and contingencies in the event that life intervenes (shit happens) and things don't fall out as expected and it's no ones' "fault." There are even some penalties described in the event of "breech"... All very run of the mill really, business as usual...
Except... the parties involved yesterday needed the lawyers to even finalize the details of the words on paper. The parties were not mutually agreeable enough to be reasonable.... (all that nasty water under many nasty bridges, seriously nasty shit flowing). There was also a judge involved to make it official and enforceable. I didn't have to deal with that with business contracts. Finally there was a lot of emotion involved and the direct welfare of children. While my business contracts had a daily impact on children, thousands of them, it was lunch or breakfast time at school... not who they went home to after school or helped them with their homework or tucked them in at night.
So this is just where I'm at right here in this moment in time... but I walked away grateful that I never married and had children. I have no idea what the divorce rate is currently but I get the feeling that it's not good... and wow people can be real pricks and pistols. Especially, it seems, the ones who used to be passionately and "forever" in love with each other.
Oh, and, I totally admire the people like my friend the family attorney, the judges and guards and court reporters who try there best day in and day out to help stressed out emotional people be reasonable and civil to each other...
So to bring this full circle and explain the image I included today... It's good to keep shit in fucking perspective. I am grateful for an incredibly huge number of things. I'm not a refugee with NOTHING - fleeing for my life from my own government. My best friend didn't die yesterday.... little things. Thanks & Knocking!
Lately I feel as though I'm constantly unpacking and processing and evaluating thoughts and ideas and feelings. I've intentionally decided to reduce my exposure to more stimulation in order to sit with what I already have spinning around. The world at large seems to conspire against my intention. I keep stumbling into rooms full of boxes, old and new, that need to be processed, unpacked and sorted (metaphorically and physically).
I feel as though I have to be on guard and have shields raised constantly to protect my quiet time of contemplation. My plans, my friends, my family, my obligations (real and imagined) my expectations (real and imagined) and all sorts of visual and physical queues interrupt and distract the crap out of me.
Time-warp... Like helping a client to downsize and pack for a move... the stuff of thoughts is scattered throughout the house. I find in the attic things that belong in the basement and while going through the kitchen - toiletries appear. These "mis-placed" items sit in a holding area with a label. In limbo yet identified. Once they rejoin their specific area of mutual interest or use they have to be integrated - duplicates removed, expiration dates considered, overall appearance and condition weighed. All sorts of mental gymnastics ensue. It is complicated and can be hard work if it's not guided by some process and FREE of DISTRACTIONS. It takes courage and the freedom to make mistakes and lots of time to walk away then revisit and reconsider.
I have, I think, the core principles and practices which will allow me to establish a new way of being and living with food and my body and exercise... I think all the ingredients have been found around the house, sorted and labeled. They may even be free of limbo in the basement or attic and are living in the same room of the house. They just need to be unpacked, integrated and prioritized and assessed the last steps before re-packing them neatly for a move. Here's where the metaphor gets complicated compared to life. I AM moving and wondering if I should wait to go through this thought process... but I'm not inclined to wait any longer... so it will - it may change once I've moved. It will be disrupted and re-placed into a new environment.
Perhaps this is just "what's meant to be..." (no surprise). As I process, unpack and pack on this end and live for several months with the decisions and epiphanies. I will have learned a huddle of new distinctions and gained new insights for the "final" unpacking in June.
If you are confused... that's ok, me too, that's why I write it out (over and over). I'll sort and label, process, move and unpack inside this house (my mind) many times before thoughts are ready for the actual final pack and move experience (the "miracle" the switch flipping).
The final "unpacking" is a different animal altogether - it happens to be an entirely new beginning, unknown, magical and off in the future some distance at the moment not really under consideration.... =) HA! That does help clear it up!? =) It's all frighteningly fucking ironic considering what I once did for a living.
From: your true home - the everyday wisdom of thich nhat hanh
Habit energy is pushing us; it pushes us to do things without our being aware. Sometimes we do something without knowing we're doing it. Even when we don't want to do something, we still do it. Sometimes we say, "I didn't want to do it, but it's stronger than me, it pushed me." So that is a seed, a habit energy, which may have come from many generations in the past.
We have inherited a lot. With mindfulness, we can become aware of the habit energy that has been passes down to us. We might see that our parents or grandparents were also very weak in ways similar to us. We can be aware, without judgement, that our negative habits come from these ancestral roots. We can SMILE at our shortcomings, at our habit energy. With awareness, we have a choice: we can act another way. We can end the cycle of suffering right now.
The Miraculous Smile
In our face there are dozens of muscles, and when we're angry or afraid, those muscles hold a lot of tension. But if we know to BREATHE in and be AWARE of them, and BREATHE OUT and SMILE to them, we can help them release the tension. Our face can be completely different after one-in-breath and out-breath. A smile can bring a miracle.
It's probably no accident that these two entries are facing pages in the book. This is perhaps the best advice I've received regarding life in quite some time! My "resistance" isn't a fatal flaw or a death bell it's just habit energy I inherited. Nice! Thank you Universe!
What shall I forgive this day to amuse and delight?
I decided back in November 2015 to make my poetry available and journal online. I'm not exactly sure what "blogging" means but I am quite sure this is an online journal. Feel free to read on with an aire of open minded curiosity. At no time do I intend to offend, judge or pretend to know anything really, I'm just an observer and explorer, as we all are. Feel free to "boldly go" through my observations and perhaps it will spark or inspire. Comments are off because I don't want to be worried about political correctness when I'm writing. I'm not thinking about "you." I'm just writing because it feels "right". Feel free to enjoy or surf on.
Fibber McGee's closet!