This Is Now

 

Now that both my boys are in therapy

Now that the right medication has been prescribed to the one with mood swings and depression

Now that the one who was recently diagnosed with ADHD is finally qualified to receive extra support from the school district, and he might actually be college-bound after all…

Now that the weight of “fixing it” has been somewhat lifted

Now that I’ve ended the year-long romance that was always only temporary anyway

Now that I’ve successfully scared off all new potential suitors

Now that, day by day, I care less and less about outside opinion

There is a certain beauty in unpopularity, you know.

Now that I am actively forgiving my father

And the father of my childhood best friend

And the rapist

And the stalker

And the one I loved and almost married, who wrestled with demons, who

lost control that one night and gave me the end I was seeking

in spades.

Now that I have grieved and healed and forged on and barely made rent at times

Now my thought is this:

Fuck, I’m tired.

*

And I know the show’s not over, and there is more brilliance than my weary mind can imagine waiting on the other side of this valley.

There is a place to fill my cup, replenish and dance with vibrancy and fearlessness again.

And there will be more valleys, surely, the further into time I walk in this body.

When I reach them, it is possible that I will carry new and powerful tools with which to navigate that terrain.  My dormant talents will have further awakened.  I will be that much more practiced in the art of love alchemy.

This is now.

Not what was, or what will become.

And now, thanks to this stupid sinus infection, I’m forced to rest and miss work.

My task is to care for this body, in its sickness and health.

My to-do list is this:

Rest

Love

Forgive

Repeat

 

 

 

 

Take Refuge

 

Today, I am thinking about what “refuge” is – beyond the physical experience of being sheltered from danger.

I am thinking about spiritual refuge.  Soul refuge.

Buddhists take refuge in the Buddha.

Christians take refuge in Christ.

I take refuge in my Gurus.

Upon contemplation of Him or Her, I dissolve

and I am held.

I feel both sheltered and annihilated, and somehow

this feels like the sweetest kind of safety

when my “self” isn’t running the show anymore.

In this space of “non-self” I feel the bubbling nature of my refuge.

It is Alive!

And curious….

And everywhere…..

It exists in the broken places,

where the gears have been grinding,

where conflict appears.

It exists in the limitations,

the brick walls and closed doors –

telling us to find another way!

It exists in the desire and the pining and the want –

the pleasure and the pain of being contained in a body,

experiencing ourselves as seemingly separate from all the other creatures.

It exists in heartbreak and misfortune – these things tearing us down to a simplified awareness of what we are made of.

And we, when we are not in a position of seeking physical refuge

from abuse

terrorism

natural disaster

politico-economic upheaval

we may find a thousand ways to perpetuate our own suffering, running away from

refuge

But by miracles I do not understand,

slices of grace are being offered constantly,

when we open the door to the One who is knocking.

It doesn’t have to be God

or Jesus

or Buddha

or a Guru

It can be the spacious kindness within your own sweet self.

Take refuge there.

Love from that place.

*

 

 

Bhakta

 

Like a moth to a flame,

I’m drawn to the light of illumination

It pulls me in and I can’t look away

I can’t resist its warmth

and beauty

and the love I feel

as I draw near

Ohhh, beauty

Destroy me

*

Whenever I leave, whenever I fly away

or fold myself against this flame

I find I miss it

crave it

need it

I am suffering without it, and why have I forgotten?

Why, why, why did I turn away?

Instantly, out of my longing

the flame returns….

It is not of this place

It is not of any conditional or material circumstance

It is eternal, and flowing like a mineral spring

of complete, undying mystery

*

I feel it like reaching for a sweet, ripe fruit

The taste is already on my tongue

but something in this devotional space

is letting me savor the want,

the desire

the longing

An ache for complete merging with this,

the Divine

The arguments for conditional love and happiness

are simply falling apart;

concepts, beliefs, assumptions

are dismantled and strewn across the floor

when the spotlight of love shines

upon the foundation of your mind

The spotlight of love

spits you into the void

and shows you

your own endless nature

*

Do you feel me now?

*

Spaciousness appears….

Everything in you is bowing,

forehead to the ground

Like a bee, you seek

the pollen,

this dust from the feet of the One who gives

sustains

and takes it all away

Show me how to lie down

and Surrender everything

Like Shiva lying in ecstasy

beneath Kali’s lotus feet

God Himself is set free

by the Mother of Everything

Timeless, Deathless, Changeless, Nameless One

Annihilate me

*

The journey of Moksha,

the liberation from self-identification

the freedom from me and mine

Lifetime after lifetime,

like stringing beads on a mala,

I polish my heart with the dust of Her lotus feet

I wash my mind in the dust of Her lotus feet

I long to become

the dust of Her lotus feet

All that is left of “me” and my knowing of

being

anything at all

is just a plea,

repeated over and over:

let me be that

the dust of Her lotus feet

*

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

 

I want intimacy to be easy and effortless.  I want it to feel natural and comfortable.  I want it to make me feel secure.  I want it to satiate me.

But intimacy has another plan!

Intimacy says, “Come here, come into the land of the unknown, let’s tear down your expectations, your assumptions and your misgivings.  Let’s scrape the paint of falsehood off your pride so that it glows again.  Forget the self.  Forget what you think you want.  Let your senses awaken to what is happening now, let that be enough.  Let the truth of you be enough.  Let the truth of him or her or them be enough.  Let WHAT IS be enough.”

I am enough.  This is enough.

I am.  This is.

But I want it to look and feel a different way.

What about the fairytale ending?  What about unwavering bliss?  What about “finding happiness”, like it is a landmark we have discovered, conquered and can now capitalize upon?  What about my twin flame, my soulmate, the one who completes me?  Don’t I deserve that?

Intimacy is laughing.  “Do you know who you are, child?”

We imagine that we are lost.  We imagine that we are not whole.

We imagine that we have to struggle, suffer and endure in order to be rewarded.  We imagine that we have enemies.  We imagine that we are too complicated, too sensitive, too ugly, too much of a work-in-progress to be received fully as ourselves.

We imagine that we have to bargain for our happiness.

We imagine that we have many flaws and all of them need fixing.

We imagine that there is a better version of who we are now.

We keep striving.

What has been forgotten?  What awareness is underneath the bullshit, the chatter, the distraction, the noise?

Intimacy is relaxed, watching me wonder.  A bemused smile crosses its lips as it sees my thoughts churning – “I’m going to figure myself out, fix myself and become an expert on love and romance before I dare get close to another human.”

Intimacy says, “Nice try, kid.  Here, have another helping of this thing called Life.”

*

My thoughts carry me back to that day, not so long ago, sitting in the sun across the table from him and sipping coffee.  It was already over; we both knew it.  But here we were again, sharing more magical moments.

And then his words came crashing down:

“What did you think was going to happen?”

He said it so casually, his voice tinged with pity for my ignorance, but still swaddled in kindness and caring because that’s just how he is.

In that moment, he felt sorry for me.  He thought we were grown-ups, having a grown-up romance, steeped in impartial maturity.  An arrangement, not a relationship – at least not the kind that can be defined.

What could I say?  Of course I didn’t think anything was going to happen.  What could possibly happen?  I’d be delusional to imagine a life together.  I’d be crazy to think that the love in my heart had anywhere to nest with him.  

The house of cards tumbled down in those moments.

The fantasy went POP!

But the blade of his words were stinging on my heart.

There had been a dream of soft sand, and sunshine, and togetherness and kisses and feeling understood, feeling wanted, needed and loved.

I walked away that day.  There were a few more ending conversations, promises to remain close friends, but my heart was done.  I was so, so tired.

It has taken time to remove the fish hooks of his love and the story I wove with him.  There’s still some in there, I can feel it.

They hooked right onto these other fish hooks that have been there much longer, the ones that trigger grief and abandonment, “daddy-issues” and all these ways I am harboring pain.

And since the band-aids don’t work anymore, I feel like I have but one option:

Heart alchemy.

*

My new lover is willing to walk on the gravelly rocks of intimacy

barefoot

with me.

I’ll be honest – it’s kind of freaking me out.

I want to shoulder the sharp edges of my reality for him.

Let me hide this suffering so we can pretend

it’s only the soft sand and the breeze and the

waves on our naked skin.

But no, the naked heart is far more jagged

and intricate

and full of promise

than those fleeting moments of delight.

I’ll admit,

I don’t totally understand his willingness

and I question my ability to stay in this space

with him.

When offered fight or flight —

I fly like a bird.

I circle from a distance.

But I am searching

for a place to call home

and nest.

 

This lover is somewhat fearless

of the shadows and the jagged edges.

This lover has me feeling very curious,

indeed.

 

 

Holy

There will be some days when you feel more holy than others,

And that is good.

As you bask in the sweetness of your connection to the One who sustains you,

Remember, dear one, you are just like the other.

Reach, reach, reach

For the end of yourself.

Anytime you think you “know” –

Press further.

Press past any idea of being right.

Press into the Mystery.

Trust your gut –

When instinct says:

Get out!

Leave!

I don’t deserve this!

This is not what I want!

Listen.

Protect your precious, precious self.

*

But when Grace hits you like a ton of bricks,

And you can’t stop thinking about

Him

Or Her

Or It —

Please, reach only for that place

Where you dissolve.

Claim nothing.

Take nothing.

Judge nothing.

The Mind is the Ocean,

Cool and vast.

The Heart is on fire,

Erupting with love and yearning for the Thing that binds us.

Fan those flames only, my friend.

Fan those flames only.

*

*

*