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 am a field of awareness. Any thing beyond that is identification with form...