The pain life delivers carves us out, making space for an unalterable joy and a shareable wisdom, riches fed by both understanding and gratitude. If we let fear dam that transformative river, we can not embody our own power or light. The photographer not wanting to be seen, the poet feeling unheard, the model believing herself ugly, the lawyer not finding justice in her own life- we learn through what draws us. Within our challenges lie our gifts, and what seems a curse is often our blessing. Can’t walk the line without seeing ourselves and with undeveloped sight we are sleepwalking- lost not only to ourselves but to the world. Without celebrating our own Being the world becomes a little dimmer. By looking into the pain, whatever it may be, and sitting with the fear, we can rise above what diminishes us, and expand into being deeply present, inspired, spirited, instinctual, intuitive and alive. Let that be the enviable courage.
All we’re searching for, all we’re ever really seeking, is union with Self and Spirit. That’s the journey. The rest is the splendor of the living path of discovery. Embracing it all is the delight. And it begins with ourselves.
Elton John, “Daniel,” plays in my ears, a random and surprising song to hear now, here. It compliments, somehow being both odd and comfortable. A familiarity washing on the shores of completely new surroundings and circumstances- I’m on the move but waiting, in that strange milieu most people tend to hate, or, at least, face with impatience. Buenos Aires, for an instant, and on to the next foreign place in a few hours. I find extravagant possibility in the in-between, where my feet aren’t planted anywhere, having places to go but no ability to go there and, still, knowing I will. Sitting motionless while movement is imminent. It’s like an extended sneeze caught in the nose- tickling and buzzing, impending release held back but due. Expectant and delayed. Yes, swaying in transition again…
We’re all tourists. Going anywhere for pleasure makes us so. Step back and see we’re all transitory- few of us live where our ancestors began. Take that back far enough and all of us came from the same place. Literally. Or metaphorically. We are transitory beyond existence itself. We are visitors in these bodies. And, hopefully, we visit new spaces for the joy of it both within and without. May we all be tourists, becoming mindful navigators of the unknown…
I was fortunate enough to stay in a small community in a nature preserve here in Nicaragua. A place the inhabitants worked hard to protect. Staying in a woman’s home where both the chickens and the dogs sneak in through open doors, the piglet runs through woods and back again beneath the garden gate, the roosters chase chickens all day, and ruffled hibiscus dangle their blooms for large hummingbirds to dip their beaks into, I met big hearted people neither bitter nor angry after the war, when U.S.-backed Contras forced them into hiding in the wild whenever word came of soldiers aiming their way in the middle of the night. People, even entire families, were killed. These people made it through, though they’d return home to find it destroyed, their food thrown on the ground, inedible. They rebuilt again and again. Opening their homes and sharing their stories, I learned of traditional medicinal plant use from the kitchen to the clinic, where old ways have slowly revived in places, often born of necessity for medicine after pharmaceutical imports were shut down during the war. There is life in death. Such loss still rings through lives here, trauma finding expression in insomnia and anxious memory. Sometimes the roots we send down, the dark rich earth offering solace and quiet and nourishment, also bring us to those others have grown deep, and the tendrils sense each other through tender root hairs. We don’t even have to touch. We can merely sense. Connection grows. And, above ground, just before leaving, I can say that the unexpected hug from the house mother, with whom I could speak only hello, thank you, and goodbye, may have been one of the best hugs I’ve ever been given. I do hope she felt from me even half as much. None of what they have experienced, or offered, shall be forgotten.
Our needs, our divisions, we look to what separates, maybe for differentiation, maybe with the hesitation of fear.. What if we choose instead to find what connects, our shared joys and loves, understanding the common ground that not only holds us from falling endlessly, that feeds us, that inters us when death comes to remind us of how short our time is here, but weaves us one breath to another in the living dance of story and song.
there are times we must sit with all we’d rather run from.
taproot strength follows devotion to becoming
our honest, vibrant, untethered selves- the ones clear as glacial streams, the true hearted lovers of life present to the richness of this moment.
few may understand us, but that only makes space for those who do.
joining our kindred brings brighter light to a world in utter need of it.
this night will be day again soon and
much will have been gained.
we are not alone..
A book I read recently discussed tradition. Plucking that out of the greater context, I gave it more thought. Tradition roots us. Sometimes, not necessarily for the best, it defines us. We find comfort in the familiar, and meaning in what we share with those passed and those yet to come. Tradition offers continuity, maybe filling a need for ritual or one of connection when we live in an isolating and confused age. Tradition can also dry up and lose its juice. Repetition in itself is meaningless. ‘Because my father did it,’ hardly offers reason to continue something without the deeper understanding of why. Tradition originates as vision- edgy, imaginative, informed by spirit. Tradition begins as something new, inspired and intentional. Withered tradition has forgotten itself. When we fear change, when we grip tightly to form, the playful informant disappears. Change, that constant companion we may prefer to avoid, enlivens all we hold dear. May we invite the spark, however it arrives..
“The lover never despairs
For a committed heart
everything is possible”
What is it to remind people of the pain they fear by squarely facing your own?
What is it to love someone beyond the limit of their self-love and watch them turn and walk away?
Our love is only as safe as the tender skills of our lovers to love themselves are developed.
Unbounded living begins with that embrace. The profound joy of existence starts with us, the one we’re always with.
We are the best we’ve got. Better learn to be our full, exquisite selves. No other reason to be here, really. For not until we reach that free, present, loving place can we truly be loved, nor can we give the gifts each of us is here to give.
Here’s to healing ourselves.
With a nod of delight to the world, let the real work begin.