Unpacking

I was standing at the sink last night washing up some dishes and I was doing the usual shrugging and neck rolling to release the stress and tension in my back. I’ve had the pain for a long time and have simply attributed it to having to work at a desk all day.

But something hit me. When the pain arises – or should I say is noticed – I’m always looking back. Yes, that’s where the pain is physically but I began to wonder if perhaps I was holding on to more back there. Yes, I think so.

Every single thought of mine is rooted in the past – even the immediate moments that have just happened. Those have passed too yet those are things I still find myself thinking about.

In a brief, split second moment I brought my vision forward from back to front. Pain gone. I tell you though – it was for the briefest of moments – but there was real Truth that existed in that moment.

Tonight on my walk I felt teary. I felt sad – I miss my dog. I felt sad – my husband has given up on a 20 year relationship. I felt sad – life as I have almost always ever known it is, essentially, over.

As I sat on a park bench at the end of my walk and let my naked toes dance in the green grass, I felt the sadness crawl up my back. And there began the pain again. I tried to bring myself to the front of my life again but I struggled.

In focusing on the now, I am essentially letting go of the past. But that means saying goodbye to my husband. I cry now as I type. I’m so painfully human. It hurts.

I realize I must unpack and leave the past behind. But this is going to take some time.

Me and My Ant

In my never-ending quest to find myself I feel sometimes like I just end up walking further away.

I’m trying to understand meditation and I know I don’t fully grasp it because I’m not entering any other dimension of myself – I only seem to be doing more thinking. I’m trying to will myself into a state of peace but, nope, that’s not meditation. Don’t get me wrong – an inner calm and peace, I believe, are side effects of meditation, but that’s not something you can will. Again, I go back to Being. This is what it’s about – it’s NOT about trying – yet that’s all I seem to do. Dammit – why do I have to be such a determined and willful person?

Meditation is a process through which one becomes aware. And it is in this awareness – full and open awareness – where the peace and knowledge of self resides.

But how do I get there?

It suddenly became a little bit clearer to me the other night when reading Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. In it, it states:

Meditation consists of two simultaneous processes: One is insight – paying attention to what is arising. The other is surrender – letting go of attachment to arising thoughts. This is how you cut free of the mind.

I think I’ve been stuck on step one and not fully understanding step two. I’m pretty good at paying attention to arising thoughts and feelings. But once they come, I’m not surrendering to them. I’ve been shutting them off. I shut them off because I don’t believe they should be there. All the mess and commotion and unhappiness – those aren’t peaceful, meditative thoughts! So that’s when I start trying. I start trying to turn the bad stuff off and begin trying to will myself into peace and light.

What a fool I’ve been!

know. I inherently know all that I need to know. But I haven’t been surrendering to what I am trying to tell myself. I’ve stopped listening.

I liken my inner voice/inner self to the tiniest of ants on the ground. It’s so small and far away that most times I don’t even see it standing at my feet. But it’s down there, jumping up and down, trying to get my attention. It’s screaming at full throttle but it’s too small, too far away, I continue to ignore it.

But then all of a sudden I start paying attention. I am aware of the ant. I still can’t hear it – but I see it. Yet at least I am aware. Then I notice the little ant talking – it’s trying to tell me something. Its voice is too small, I don’t know what it’s saying. And here’s where step two of the meditation process comes into play – rather than ignoring it because I can’t hear, I surrender to this tiny ant. I get down on my hands and knees and push my head as far down toward the ant as I can get it. Its tiny voice is still almost inaudible but I hear murmurings. And now I know I have to stay – stay still and stay quiet until my ears adjust and are able to hear.

I haven’t been hearing much these days. But now I know that when I become aware of something, rather than trying to fight it off, I need to stay still and surrender to it. Eventually I will come to hear and understand.

Humble Thyself

The Book of Proverbs is probably one of my most beloved in the bible.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

~ Proverbs 11:2

What’s so significant to me about this verse?

I didn’t know HOW treatment was going to help me overcome my eating disorder.

All I know is that by conceding that my eating disorder could not be conquered on my own, I allowed myself to be open to learning a million different things that I didn’t even know I didn’t know.

Humility opens the heart and allows for healing.

Learning life alone.

I’ve never been alone, truly alone. I lived with my parents in a hostile environment for the first 20 years of my life. I then lived almost the next 20 years in a co-dependent relationship. Now, I am on my own.

After the initial shock and commotion of leaving a 20 year relationship, reality has settled in, little by little. There’s way more to come, this I know. But the little bit of reality of life alone has started to settle in.

I’m not scared. I’m not even lonely. It’s just very, very different.

Every decision I have ever made in my life, up until this point, has been a joint decision – from what I eat, to what I wear, to where I bank, to which doctor I go to. EVERYTHING in my life has been decided on with the help (or pressure) of someone else.

It’s very, very strange now – and quite liberating – to know that every decision I make is now one I make on my own. One that I live with – good or bad. And one that I, and only I, can change if I want to.

This stems from an incident yesterday. I started having excruciating stomach pains yesterday morning around 8:00 a.m. As the morning progressed, the pain got worse and started to radiate up into my chest and upper back.

I had no husband to call who would either tell me I was being ridiculous or that he would meet me at the hospital. I could have reached out to others – my sister, my mom, a friend – but, for whatever reason, I felt like I needed to deal with this on my own.

By noon the pain was so bad that, streaming tears, I left work early and drove myself to the hospital.

The hospital is a lonely place to be on your own. It’s cold and sterile. But I knew that was the best place for me. And I endured it all – the questions, explanations, poking, prodding, pressing – all on my own.

I didn’t feel the need to convince the companion beside me that the pain was as bad as I claimed. I didn’t feel the need to console someone for having to wait the countless hours in boredom beside me. I didn’t feel the need to encourage the helper. I was the help-ee this time and I was just letting myself be helped. I didn’t feel the need to do anything but make sure I was taking care of myself.

It was lonely and liberating all at the same time.

I received morphine for the first time in my life and got to share that with numerous people in my contact list. Moooorrrrreeephinnnnneeeeee!!!!!! Lots of folks got that lovely text from me. I also got to share the experience in silence with one of the nurses aides when he saw me grinning with my eyes rolling aimlessly around inside my head.

It was lonely, yet I was not alone. I was with myself. At the end of the day, at the end of it all, I am alone – yet never alone. We are all human – all made up of millions of cells – vibrating through life together. We, as individuals, own nothing – my mother, my sister, my friend. They are not mine.

No, we are not alone. We are all one.

Core Workout

I’m human. Really human. And so, I’m easily distracted. I’m starting to use my distraction now though instead of it using me. It’s becoming my “weight” that I’m using to strengthen my core. And I’m not talking about my abs. No, I’m talking about my core Being.

What I’m starting to understand is that being present isn’t about being blissfully happy and peaceful 24/7. Well, let me re-phrase – being present isn’t about making myself be blissfully happy and peaceful 24/7.

Therein lies my foundational problem. I’m trying too hard. And in all my effort to find this happiness and peace, I’ve been missing it entirely.

In trying to be present I’ve been, in stark opposition, practicing mindlessness. I’ve been attempting to reach a future state of Being – but anything that has yet to be is anything but presence.

I started to bear witness to my ignorance yesterday. My morning cup of Eckhart taught me that there are three modalities of awakened doing:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Enjoyment
  3. Enthusiasm

I focus on the first one for now because that is what is resonating with me. Eckhart says about Acceptance:

Whatever you cannot enjoy doing, you can at least accept that it is what you have to do. Acceptance means: For now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly…Performing an act in the state of acceptance means you are at peace while you do it. That peace is a subtle energy vibration which then flows into what you do.

I realize I have not been very accepting of very much in my world:

  • When sitting at work doing repetitive, boring tasks my mind wanders and I start to look for the distraction. I search the Internet for something interesting, I go talk to someone, I reach for the Blackberry. Total avoidance!
  • When driving home in traffic, I turn on the music, I watch other people. I start to fall into self and judgement. Why can’t this guy drive? What will I eat for dinner? What am I going to do tonight?
  • What am I going to do tonight? (this thought carries on from the previous one) I guess I’ll eat dinner and have a glass of wine. I’ll watch TV. I’ll clean a bit and then maybe I’ll go for a walk. Everything is focused on future events yet when I get to that time – that time to eat, to watch, to walk – I’m already a million steps ahead of it – and so, I may perform the acts but I’m lost in yonder and never enjoying the state of present Being.

Everything is sheer distraction!

Yesterday, I made a concerted effort to focus. And, lo and behold, things started to fall into place. I had hundreds of contracts at work I had to get through and I went through each one  as though it was the first one I was seeing. And that was the whole jist of my day. When I started to look forward I brought myself back and I truly found that acceptance of the now was more peaceful than the hope of the unknown future.

Now that I know what my weight load is, I can make use of it to strengthen my core.

Prison Break

How does someone escape from prison? If you don’t want to learn how, the easiest thing to do is not go there in the first place. Too bad we’re already all there.

Some people don’t even know they’re there. Some people do know but don’t understand how to escape. While some do a continuous dance back and forth between the prison and the palace.

And for those doing the dance, they know. They know the secret. And the secret is is that there are no bars on the cells of confinement – all that is needed to escape is to walk out of the darkness and into the light. Just step out of prison. The door is open.

Consciousness is light. But our ego is the darkness and it will defend itself to remain shrouded in the emptiness of self.

Good ol’ Eckhart comes through again just as I, myself, am trying to come to terms with this:

The force behind the ego’s wanting creates ‘enemies’, that is to say, reaction in the form of an opposing force equal in intensity. The stronger the ego, the stronger the sense of separateness between people.

My ego is huge. But recognition of my folly is the first step over the invisible barrier towards consciousness.

What if?

What if all the inhabitants of the world had no eyes? What if we were all blind – right from the beginning – born that way?

Maybe that was the original plan and sight was the punishment for eating the forbidden fruit of Eden…actually, as I think about this, I do believe the bible states that God forewarned that if Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, their eyes would be opened.

Yes, it’s true. If we could not see, we would not know. What a different world we’d be living in today!

Sight. It is a worldly blessing but an inner curse.

With eyes in my world, I see beauty. I see love and joy. I see smiles spread across the faces of others. I see happiness and abundance. I see courage and strength and determination. I see charm and grace. I see it all.

I also see pain. I see hurt. I see poverty and desperation and loneliness. I see torment and misery. I see collapse. I see time. I see fear. Yes, I see it all.

But my eyes are in my head and so I simply turn away. I cannot see the ignorance in such a simple action.

But now I do. I’ve closed my eyes. I don’t want to see any longer. I only want to feel.

You can take away everything concrete and identified in human form but the existence of soul and spirit live on. I do not need to see the evidence of this – I can feel it. It’s real.

Slowly – very, very slowly – I am beginning to see with my heart. And the depth of what I feel is more profound and beautiful than anything I could physically put my hands on.

I am breath and life within – we all are. In everything we do, regardless of what physical plane we’re on, we are all the same.

I was blind but now I see.