As I type, four thousand acres or more of forest in the Shenandoah National Park is burning, burning, burning. That makes me sad, especially because the fire did not start at the directive of Mother Nature. It was due to the vagaries of human activity in the park. And that sucks, yet I cannot help but enjoy the smell of the 'carnage'. It is a woodsy, pine-y, fragrant scent and in spite of myself, my nose turns up to (somewhat surreptitiously) sniff the air. This is a condition of human existence: we live on a Spinc between one thing and another. Existentially known as Duality (yes, with an uppercase D: no typographic error here). It bites. And it kisses. And it is excellent at both, simultaneously.
I have been processing this 'reality' of being pulled hither and thither, as the situations of my life put diametrically opposed "opportunities" in my path. Oh I want to be good, with every fibre of my being. And of late, I have been mostly walking the line. But, I know this: there is still a part of me that looks somewhat wistfully back to the "old days" of not caring so much about that and being very okay with occasionally, being bad. I sometimes affectionately recall those days now as being somehow easier, simpler in many ways, without so much freaking personal accountability all the freaking time.
I wonder if perhaps Mastery is simply the total absence of any attraction whatsoever, to Maya. But by all that is holy,
isn't She sometimes the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?! And you just....WANT her, damnit.
And so, you fall. Plonk. Bam. Right on your hiney. You succumb. And for the first 25 seconds or so, there's no better feeling in the world. Like slipping into sweats at the end of a long day spent in a business suit and good lingerie. You are now comfy, relaxed, at home. But then...why oh why did there have to BE a 'but then'?....5 seconds after the neurons in the pleasure center in your brain fired, your heart sinks. Because you then registered a profound sense of...emptiness. And that, my friends, is a most scary thing. To stand in the recognition that the things, or people, or substances, or food, or motivations or whatever it was that used to erhum....light your fire, rev your engines, float your boat, tickle your fancy...well... it now Just. Falls. Flat.
This hallmarks one's unceremonious entry into the never-never land of being neither in the world, nor as yet, not quite not of it. I know...that is a difficult phrasing to navigate: forgive it. I decided not to clean it up, in an attempt to artistically capture the sense of confusion of this stage of the game. It is a space of isolation and loneliness: for more and more of that with which one formerly identified for definition of the self, has simply dropped away. Now where is the old self? And one sees no solid new self. Who is this self being sought, anyway?
Wow...it almost sounds like Purgatory! Could this be a stage of life rather than death? Yikes.
I don't really have any helpful "Get Out of Almost Hell" tips or cards to offer right now. Maybe if and when I navigate the next several (thousand?) bends in the road, I may have something to share, and I will. If anything, this was just a shout out from somewhere in the middle. If you happen to be here too, in the fog (ah...'twas the smoky Shenandoah fire FOG that inspired this entire diatribe!)...just know you are not alone. From here, when we can hang on and meet the challenges with grace, thank God. When we fall on our face and eat dirt, thank God.
My only resolution at this juncture, is to participate as fully and heartily as I can, with what is happening right now. To BE here. In the present, even when it is not "gift" ('cause, actually, it is....oh the twists and turns!). To not run. To not hide. To not cower. Despite the 'unknowingness' and uncomfortableness and total lack of surety and security.
And so I will leave you with this wonderful video-may we all dare to feel this much and LIVE this much, come what may. See you on the other side....where at last, Grace will have only ONE face-that of God...who will perhaps look a whole lot like this little one.
I have been dealing with a situation which has presented significant challenges to my ego. And there have been many times over the past months that I have become irritated and cranky about it. I've compiled a list of evidences, a veritable roll call of slights, which indicated that I am justified in my position on the matter. And then I've found subtle ways to defend myself and play into the drama, all the while, hating it. Uncool, so uncool.
This has made me pay even closer attention to the "voices in my head" (oh oh, how many of us live in here???) and I want to introduce you to two of them. Enter Wiseass (WA). Enter Inner Critic (IC).
In case you are wondering about the genders of my voices (seriously, how could you not be?), IC is androgynous, depending on the situation at hand and mainly, chatters an incantation of my flaws, faults, misdemeanours, possible dangers, doom and gloom. It cross dresses: sometimes wearing a Fairy Godmother gown-trying to convince me She has my best interests at heart; sometimes in tight black jeans and a muscle T, as a Hot Fireman on his night off-insisting he is trying to show me how to temper my flames. And it is very good at what it does: making me miserable, so I chose isolation and feel like IC is my only true friend. Sneaky, not very "nice" but still, the devil I know. I am learning, slowly, to undress IC and see it for what it is-a smokescreen, a play of my limited ego-mind, the personification of my hangups and my yet-unresolved issues. A work in progress.
And then there is WA. Yup, she is definitely a "She", and only ever a "She". I'm slightly sorry I've given Her a bit of a derogatory name, because actually, She is the cat's cream, the mouse's whiskers (the cat's mouse?), the camel's hump, the cow's udders...you get my meaning...a really, really good thing. But Her voice is unflinchingly honest, which is often a pain in the ass. Yes, I admit, sometimes I wish the wench would just BE QUIET. Hence Her name.
Unlike IC, She does not speak, and I mean NEVER, with the intention to bring me down without reason. She does not flatter, building me up for a fall. She simply says it, like it is, real, truthful, raw, no drama...and She is always perfectly on target, damnit.
Which is totally peachy when you've done a purely good thing, chose the high road, met the challenge. But then...oh maaan, when you have missed the mark, when you've had even a slightly ulterior motive, when you've been just a little "clever", when you've taken a cheap shot, when you've been insecure and judgmental...well then, these traits of Her communication are perceived as unpleasant at best, downright ugly at worst.
The thing is, She only has to say it once (like a good mother, or many of the Catholic nuns of my school days) and you HEAR Her. And no matter how well you argue, or rationalize, or make excuses, deep down, She has had the initial and the final say. She knows it. You know it.
WA accepts nothing less than my full integrity. She IS the gold standard of my soul. No matter how wonderful something may "look" on the outside, how others may perceive it, She knows my deepest heart and can read my every action, honing in immediately on the truth of each.
She is my conscience (isn't it absolutely a teaching that this word is reminiscent of "conscious"?). That place in me of absolute purity, which can never be tainted (even though its Light can possibly be shadowed by a lifetime of refusing to listen). Its where I KNOW what is right, no matter what society's morays (or popularity) dictate.
So, as I deal with my current challenge, I resolve to allow myself to feel the uncomfortable feelings engendered by WA's voice of Truth. Part of this situation is MY fault. It is partly due to the way I vibe. I have done some things, and not done some things, that have participated in its creation. There are places where I need to go, internally, and get my shit together. And after I've taken accountability, if things are still the same, then WA says my new challenge will be to simply accept that it is what it is. Some things and and some people cannot be changed. By me, that is. There is always a chance that Life, The Divine, can make even mountains move.
And hey: if there's ever a time when we feel like we simply can't hear WA's voice (frankly, most likely because we have our virtual fingers in our virtual ears and our minds are deliberately bellowing 'la la la la la' really loudly), give a little whistle (see video below).
Yesterday was a trying day. I'd have to say it was the emotional equivalent of having my butt buffed repeatedly by a very coarse grade of sandpaper. Worse, in some ways, because that could only happen without my personal consent, but the situations that were challenges for me yesterday required my sanction to even BE challenges. And that made me mad and having become angry then I became disappointed in myself and feeling disappointed then made me sad and feeling sad then made me feel hopeless and feeling hopeless made me feel impotent and feeling impotent made me feel fearful and feeling fearful then robbed me of my joy and feeling a lack of joy made me angry all over again. Sounds like a good time, huh? Yup. It was an awesome pity party for one and you should be very glad you were not invited!
As a consequence of all this, I began to think a lot about anger. Often, I judge it so harshly when I see it in myself. I was forced to admit yesterday that my ego fervently believes that I should, by now, have so much personal control that I do not allow myself to become angry. In truth, trying to suppress the swell and awareness of this emotion is as much, if not more, of a problem than having the actual emotion. There is a great danger, with which I came face to face, surrounding anger when one has decided to be on the path of facilitating (one's own) emerging consciousness: which is that it becomes wrapped in most beautiful paper, silver-gilded with....Major Guilt. The Voice (you know the one I mean...the naggy, critical voice of the inner ass) says "You should know better" and you feel like shit warmed over and the lovely spin cycle I described for you above, begins.
So: let us process this all a bit. Yes, I am roping you in, because you know what? We share this human condition and yesterday was my day to "deal", but today may be yours. (And I am telling you right now, I will empathize but I will also be super glad it ain't my turn AGAIN today :-) ).
Here are some of my current, hot of the press, musings on the subject of anger:
1. It is just another emotion-no more, no less than any other
2. It is no crime to feel anger- and all emotions. In fact, it is the mark of mastery to feel each in its entirety. Not to run from them, not to hide from them, not to bury them, not to medicate them away. To totally, completely, 100% FEEL them, down to the tips of your toes. And this goes for the ones which the mind judges as being "good" (like love) AND the ones we call "bad" (like anger and grief and emotional pain).
3. We need to stand in the recognition that sometimes other people, or organizations (made up of people) behave badly and our anger is justified.
4. There are times thus, when, having become angry for just cause, we need to take action. Case in point: Jesus got mad at the money changers, grabbed a stick and decimated their stalls inside the temple. (Oh maaan, would I have loved to witness that...assuming of course, I was not a money-changer!)
5. In my self analysis, I see (most regrettable is vision sometimes!) that nearly all of my anger is rooted deeply in fear. And this is true both of justifiable anger and let us call it, my irrational anger...those situations in which I feel slighted that may not have had anything at all to actually do with me personally!
6. When I take an action motivated by this fear-anger combo and I am all roiled up inside, THIS is where the issue is. I may do the exact same thing, coming from a place of conscious action rather than reaction. However, the effect of the action will be completely different. The former takes me nowhere for sure, may take a bad situation and make it exponentially worse, or at the very least, be ineffectual.
7. So, while there is no morality (for lack of a better word in this context) in feeling anger (or any emotion): there certainly is, in the action born out of it. Another way to express the same: I don't believe karma is incurred by registering anger, only in "acting out" instinctively and unconsciously because of it.
There is no easy way out, along this journey of self-discovery. We all have to travel the road and do the work. Thank God, there is grace to save us when we cannot save ourselves. Thank God there are teachers to point the way, to show us the door- but here it is, the clincher: we each have to choose to walk through it. The opportunity for salvation and sanctity does not always come with a Big Public Bang: mostly it finds us in the teeny irritations and pin pricks and annoyances of daily life.
So, today, having survived yesterday (barely, not super gracefully!), I stand in recognition of the gift each challenge
brings to me. Every situation, big and small, is a barometer...revealing to me from moment to moment of an ordinary life, just where I am "at" and where I need to grow.
Even when it is humanly impossible for me to "feel" grateful for the ream of crap presented to me at times, I AM, in my heart of hearts, grateful for it because otherwise, the progress of my soul would be impossible. And that, I know, is why I am here now, in this time and space. To elevate. To take the mud and alchemize it into lotus. To bloom. So it is for us all.
I will end now with a very touching video on "anger management" (with a side salad of Divine Masculine facilitating Divine Feminine-another blog topic, for another day). Happy Happy Happy Day.
I am a field of awareness. Any thing beyond that is identification with form...