We are not defined by what has happened to us- not what happened to us in childhood, puberty, adulthood, or last week. Our state of consciousness reflects the day we are in, and ends there. We needn't drag along a trail of victories or tears. It's dead weight and serves us not.
"Human life is the source of deep suffering and gorgeous hope."
~ Henry James Slack ~
Last week I went to a wedding, and this week, I am on my way to a funeral: the sister of one of my oldest friends struck down by cancer at 52. It seems impossible that she's gone, and yet, she is.
Life is so full of birth and death and marriage and schooling, and traveling and moving, and activity and rest- all going on simultaneously. It's the big bowl of all things mixed together, none more important than the other in the big scheme of things, and yet, for each group who attend each event, it's the biggest life happening there is.
"True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes."
~ Edward Frederick Halifax ~
My ego traps me in resistance. It makes me feel "right" in the face of everything in the world and in my current circumstance that I perceive as "wrong." It pretends to know best, and be certain of what is uncertain. It punishes me with it's discontented internal whining, and strengthens itself by becoming increasingly miserable.
Suffering at the hand of my ego is a choice though, thankfully, and by being aware of it in action, I can take the first step toward being free of it in the now.
I catch my ego hating and blaming, and choose loving-kindness instead.
"In this very breath that we now take lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us."
~ Peter Matthiessen ~
We cannot go back. We can't repeat good times, or delicious meals, or the way we felt way back when. And we can't go forward either, without committing to a dreamworld that we make up in our mind. The only place is where we are and the only time is now.
Every moment, every taste, every experience is fresh, even if we think it isn't, and even if we think we know in advance the way it's going to play out.
I show up with an open mind for each fresh moment as it comes.
"Man never knows what he wants; he aspires to penetrate mysteries and as soon as he has, he wants to reestablish them. Ignorance irritates him and knowledge cloys."
~ Amiel ~
Sometimes something we've been through won't quite let us go. Our brains keep rewinding, for good or ill, and like a broken record, we get stuck there. My sense, when such things happen, is that there's something incomplete that has to round itself out, whether through conversation, or the distance of time passing. A processing process is at work, and all there is to do is let it work. We don't have to fight it, or obsess over it, or try to figure it out. All we have to do is be present to our attachment, observe our circling thoughts, and open up about it to another if the opportunity presents itself.
And then, it will pass. We will move on and let it go, and be free to experience the next thing that hooks us, and the next-
I allow what happens to process through me, however long it takes.
"The bride and groom- May their joys be as bright as the morning, and their sorrows but shadows that fade in the sunlight of love."
~ Minna Thomas Antrim ~
The date has arrived at last for my stepson, Coleton, and his fiance, Andrea, to be wed. And I wish them all the blessings of a good marriage- humor, solidarity, patience, love and tolerance, forgiveness, and the willingness to be vulnerable and to communicate from the heart.
It's the journey of partnership through life that they're beginning, and the navigation together of rough and shallow waters, and still water that runs deep.
Relationships thrive when we root them in spiritual principles.
"When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the sole leather has passed into the fibre of your body."
~ RW Emerson ~
Doing challenging work can be uncomfortable while we're doing it, but afterwards, there is a real sense of accomplishment- that we didn't quit. It's like climbing a steep mountain. The upward steps are brutal, but getting to the top is it's own reward.
"I nod to a passing stranger, and the stranger nods back, and two human beings go off, feeling a little less anonymous."
~ Robert Brault ~
It's certainly ok to take our time alone, and we all need a fair bit of it, but we need time together as well. It is in contact with others that we see ourselves reflected, and learn to appreciate the very human challenges that we all face.
"If we were but conscious of our own littleness, we would not dare look with contempt on the smallest atom in the world."
~ Charles Lanman ~
Our internal dialog dictates our day. We can be open-hearted and gracious or petty and judgmental. We can cop an attitude or a resentment. We can be victors or victims. And all of it is made up. It's in our heads. The only thing real is what's happening in the moment. All the innuendo and drama is what we create.
Being aware of this gives us power. Even if we can't change our habit of thinking instantaneously, being conscious of it is the first step toward being free.
I listen for my internal dialog, and become conscious of the tone it sets for my day.
"Death is not warden of life, not thief, nor enemy- but Life's most equal partner."
~ Terri Guillemets ~
Death is not always tragic, though our culture seems to suggest that is the case. We have major medical models to put it off, and societal etiquette that agrees not to speak of it unless absolutely necessary. And yet, it is as natural as birth, an opportunity for suffering to end, and a promise for the soul to be free of the heavy and often problematic physical form.
At least on occasion, and at least to ourselves, let's every so often acknowledge the blessings of death, and the relief of it, and the peace.
"Patience is what the sea teaches, patience and faith."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh ~
I'm not sure patience is a virtue as much as a necessity. We live in a hurry up and wait culture. We rush around, and our rushing has no impact on the fact that the process of things from start to finish takes time, and usually more than we anticipate.
So, without good natured patience, we are subject to stressing out, and who needs that? Our being anxious doesn't make the world move any faster. Days come and days go as they always have, and what's happening now is what's happening now. Getting to the future faster is a sham.
"He felt it, he said, an honor to wash his face, being, as it was, the temple of the Spirit."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
Our bodies are wise but we don't always trust them. and they can easily guide us, but we don't always listen so well. Through movement, stillness, wakefulness, and sleep, and biofeedback from all that we eat, we can experience what it is to be well, and what it is to be not so well, and have appreciation and respect for our incredible, physical selves.
Challenges bubble up in life and we can deal with them as problems or opportunities. The track record for things working out is pretty solid, and so far so good in terms of our personal rate of survival.
So, if it's not fatal, whatever comes our way simply comes, and we can choose to freak out, create drama, and go to end-of-the-world thinking, or simply take a deep breath and take it in stride.
I have known the seven-year-itch sensation, and the feeling that a cycle is complete and needs to end, and yet, here I am, married to the same man for seven years and a day, and I still like him. I love him in fact, more deeply than I've ever loved anyone. He is my best friend, and my team for the game of life. Together we have scored goals, been subject to penalties and fouls of all kinds, and experienced every level of victory and defeat.
The experience itself has been the sport, and continues to be, and I know I can count on us both to be good natured, to be scrappy when necessary, and to play with heart and give every effort everything we've got.
Labor Day, 2018- the end of summer, the coming of that delicious fresh fall feeling, and the celebration of seven years of a good marriage. I am blessed on all fronts- blessed with lessons from the past, the promise of future adventure, and the exceptional delight of each loving moment as it comes.