I’m back on the island for the weekend. Right now, my only company is my friend’s African-Grey parrot, who I will call Sam. Sam and I have a very sweet relationship. Except for that one time last Sunday when she bit me. That has never happened before and it will never happen again. I was not pleased about having a bloody, throbbing finger (although it was my fault for trying to pet her cute little head). I went to bed resentful of her rude behavior and I didn’t chat with her much the following morning. She is very sensitive to vibes and she quickly caught on that I was ignoring her. I wasn’t trying to punish her; I just wasn’t ready to talk yet. My feelings were hurt.
Throughout the day, she kept upping her game with me, saying things like “good morning!” and “how are you?” quite often. She even started saying “later gater” a lot in this cute robotic voice because she heard me laugh after she tried it out. My friend has owned Sam for almost 30 years, since she was a 6-month old babe. He knows her really, really well and is very in tune with her moods and what she is communicating. He said it was good that I was giving her the silent-treatment to reinstate my dominance. So I just waited until I was over being mad, and then I was able to re-engage with Sam without a grudge. She won me back when she said “Night-night, sweetheart” in a loving, lilting voice. I laughed fully and my heart felt soft and glowing. I asked her that we instate a mutual “no biting each other” agreement, and we moved on.
I wish it was so easy with people! Specifically, I wish it was so easy with lovers.
I wish I could be more Zen about the whole Sex thing.
I wish my heart wasn’t in my vagina. I wish I could love “casually” without getting too “attached.”
I wish feeling triggered or hurt wasn’t part of my experience. (No bad feelings, please! They are so inconvenient!)
And I don’t wish these things because I think it would make me a better person or a cooler person, or even a more desirable woman. I wish these things because it would be less painful for ME!
However, to my utter amazement, I am finding that I can’t turn away from love anymore. I can’t turn the lights off and go back to sleep. I can’t pretend something doesn’t hurt when it does. I can’t close my heart and cut connections just because I’m scared. The heart stays open.
By some divine power, my heart is being kept open. Waves of emotion pass through it. I’m feeling the truth of painful feelings – what is it about? I am seeing that some things are about relating, here and now, in present time. How personalities mesh. How chemistry is strengthened or weakened.
And I am seeing the trail of thoughts and feelings that are triggered by sharing myself closely with a lover, regardless of the present experience. The trail keeps leading me back to the same yucky, muddy pond. The same sadness, the same hurt.
I realized today that I am almost the same age that my mother was when my father left her for another woman. There had already been infidelities, I’m sure, but the affair that made him leave was the beginning of a hellish time for my mother and my little sister and I.
The story of that challenging time is not what is important. What matters is the little girl (age 11) who was left to sift through rubble and pick up broken pieces with her mother, for years. What matters is that she hasn’t healed completely yet, and she is still, will always be, me. Her healing is intrinsic to my own, as a woman and as a soul.
Little girls are not women. I am not the only woman walking around with a scared, hurt, confused little girl inside of her. And there are men, many men, with scared, hurt, confused little boys inside of them. We are not bad for not being all grown-up and put together. We do not suck for struggling.
Really, we are being handed keys to our own healing. Whenever we are triggered, we are given an opportunity to trace it back to a place where we can have compassion for ourselves. So often, our hurts are left over from our childhood. We can hold space for that healing to occur in our hearts and minds, just by imagining ourselves as children, innocent and deserving of kindness and love. (if you can’t imagine that, it’s ok! imagine yourself as a newborn baby. you were innocent. you still are, believe it or not.)
Now, we layer the cake of our experiences with the generations who have gone before us, and we see how very deep the suffering goes, how very deep the need for healing goes.
We are all feeling the sadness of world events right now. There is a collective heaviness, a worn and tired dismay, and a protective urge to shield, to numb and to hide. There is also a reactive urge for some to lash out and seek revenge.
But we just can’t keep doing that.
I can’t hide from my “daddy-issues” anymore. It’s not very fun for my dating life. I can’t just pretend something is working for me. My temple, my body, is completely divine and anyone who enters my temple is blessed and also carries responsibility. I deserve care and love and kindness. I deserve truth and commitment and connection. When I pretend like I don’t need those things, I feel like shit!
We, collectively, cannot hide from our issues. We cannot hide from systemic racism and sexism. We cannot hide from economic oppression. We cannot hide from gun violence and fear-mongering and hate crimes.
These things are waking us up like an awful nightmare. Instead of spinning around in debates and defenses, we can just feel this. Eventually, we are going to feel this.
And then we can stop denying it and pretending. We can stop blaming and victimizing. We can stop stuffing our shame and our guilt with bullshit distractions. We can just stop.
I have to heal my heart wounds in order to love freely and joyously. Sometimes I feel underwater with the grief I’ve been carrying, but I keep riding the waves and perspective is granted, in big and small ways. Spirit gives me the experiences I need to grow, and I feel held, even in my despair.
We have to heal our heart wounds. We have to listen, really listen.
If we are able to act as loving support for others, we are experiencing a great gift. AND – we still need to work on our own healing. Martyrs are not going to save the world. My loving brother Jesus has been misinterpreted again and again – and one very real way is through this idea of “suffering our way to heaven.” Give me a break!
We are here to LOVE OURSELVES, FORGIVE OURSELVES AND HEAL OURSELVES. From this space and this intention, we can offer our love, forgiveness and healing to this beautiful world. The personal is still political, people. Micro/Macro. And if we don’t receive the grace that is constantly available to us if we but look within, we can’t offer it up, we can’t share it, we can’t BE IT.
You are the light, so be it.
There is no “other.” Every great spiritual master has shared this message.
Your freedom is mine. Your happiness, your love, your wisdom and your power are essential to the well-being of this planet.
And when you look around, those fellow humans you see, they are your family.
I love you.