Archive | February, 2013

Middle Path Dance

10 Feb

Everything I write here is a lie.

And everything I write is true, in the moment I write it.

My head gets stuck on this…but my heart understands the flow of capturing words that seem to represent the loose hold we all have on TRUTH.  I am just experiencing, relating these experiences and allowing the spin of the mind’s wheels to be observed until its rotation loses energy and momentum, and the spin slows.  Sometimes stillness is left.  There, there are no words, no thoughts, no lies.

While still in a body, there is a dance in the middle path.  Between motion and stillness, between silence and noise, between mud and clear water, between pain and joy.

I like peeking into bloggers lives like Caimbeul or seeingm, where my life in constrast seems so different.  We are all leaves dancing in the wind, some have created a gentle breeze in which to reflect for now, and some have chosen seeming stormy volitility within which to make their journey for now, and those roles will certainly shift and change,  but we are all just leaves still being played by the conditions of the weather between our release and landing.

The line in the sand the now moment seemed to call for yesterday was another play of consciousness that was so perfect for me in this middle Path dance.  The dancer doesn’t stop to think, how do I stay upright?  She dances, and in the now moment the movement that comes next flows within her.

The dance of life is no less graceful.  I’m going to tell a potty training story.   I feel like someone should step in and stop me from telling this, but for some reason it perfectly illustrates how this dance can be for me sometimes.

My oldest daughter was late to potty train, and the learning process ended up becoming a very confusing section of the dance.  My gentle manner was tender in her accidents, and supportive of her efforts, and we ended up in a place where I was carrying 10 outfits for her around in my bag, no hyperbole, for all the accidents daily.  And after a good, long while of my gentle support, one night she and I were watching a movie before bedtime together with her on my lap.  I was tired and  when she just chose to pee without trying to get to the bathroom,  the urine falling into my lap was cold and disgusting and it angered me.  I looked her firmly in the eyes and I said, “You will not do this.”  and I went on a verbal speech with quite a bit of angry tones and lines drawn.  Her eyes were wide watching and listening. This moment marked the end of this particular dance.  She was potty trained.  None of the parenting books would have said this was the way to dance this dance, but often my middle path requires marga to express some anger and backbone.

So I will say, there is a great relief in this house today, a new air, so to speak.  A dybbuk was sent packing.

I can see today that a line drawn in the sand allowed us to examine what really lay beneath.  There was a deadline set for solution that mattered for life and death, in my little one’s world.

In this dance,  this marga character is often full of great acceptance.  But I had a moment when I felt the pee in my lap again so to speak, and said, this will not be the air in my house for years on end.  Yesterday was a thrashy and angry dance, lasting 22 hours, with a break for sleeping, and no one knew how it was going to end.

I’ve never been much into Freudian theories, but I knew there was a heavy dose of displacement going on.  Knowing a theory does not bring a solution.  After the thrashing and crying, and anger and sympathy, a final deep buried wound was uncovered, and the flow of universal love seemed to enter in again.

I’m not Pollyanna, here.  This is not the end.  But I feel sure this is a truer turning point than I have seen in a while.  I see how the universe came in to play the music behind our dance, and pulled in players I didn’t even know were available.

On we go.

Heart full of gratitude for the journey that can be a dance, and that there are those whose dances overlap with mine.

three wee epiphanies

9 Feb

1.  the now moment is such a pregnant place the air fairly sizzles

2.  consciousness does not always speak in a gentle voice.  sometimes, it flows with a firmness, sometimes it flows with a strong voice to say, these are my boundaries, this is what i will do, and it has to say it strongly, all the while the eyeballs are observing from the now, acting of the moment,  allowing what it needs, which may include lines in the sand on an imaginary beach without a horse in the race

3.  blessings on MY head.  sometimes in periods of challenge, i think i say to the universe “bring it on” in a sense, i can take it…but i also see, i  say to the universe, bring it on – let blessings flow;  i can take that too!

 

We Are All Skywalkers

7 Feb

My brave friend Sheila gifted this to me today.  Halfway through my watching, I realized I wasn’t breathing.

I am a skywalker, bravely out on that wing with the earth fall ever present beneath me, repairing the tire to avoid a crash.

My daughters are skywalkers, going through school, friends, parents, body, culture minefields everyday, with courage.

My students skywalk into my classroom everyday, feeling deployment around the next bend, walking a mile to the bus stop pushing a baby in a stroller-holding the hand of a toddler, sweating out the money for their next meal or living arrangements, hands shaking because they haven’t been in a classroom for years.

You are a skywalker, taking on this life on a planet in a body with thoughts.

We look each other in the eye and recognize what we share out here on the wings, in the wind, with a mission to breath and be.  We take on a body and feel the exhilaration of that dreaded fall from the sky:  in our thoughts, in our muscles, in our jaws, in our spines, in our eyes, in our ears, in our dreams.

So strange it is that there is no sky, there is no ground, there is no fall, and there is no body to be hurt.

Exhale.

Rough Morning – Vent – Beauty Enters Again

6 Feb

Oh God, save me the ugliness of my own pity party this morning.

My mind state is my own though in this moment, I do shake my head in wonder at the journey I’ve chosen for myself.

I wonder at the energy, pain, and vicious attacks that are relentless from a teen.  Even as I smooth myself, lose my reactivity, words still hurt.  I am to blame for all unhappiness, suffering, failure in her life and she heaps the hurtful words over my head daily.  There is no back up, there is no escape, and in her thoughts I am to be punished relentlessly until I cry uncle, and then it still doesn’t end.  I am so exhausted and defeated and overwhelmed by the volume of this attacking misery.

When I went into labor to give birth to this child, the pain was relentless.  Hours and hours of out-of-body pain (I actually found myself on the ceiling at times), camel backing contractions, and finally my body was torn open from the inside as she and I hung in the state between life and death.  The thrashing and ripping was killing us both.  This is not a tale I tell.  It is very gruesome and difficult, and it took me out of this realm.

I didn’t want to come back.  When I was told of the trials ahead,  I burrowed into the arms of the immense loving one who held me and said it was all too much.  But back I came making a choice to do this life, and yet I do wonder at this thrashing now?  Through these words I type,  I remember.  I was told; I knew it would be tough; I agreed to do this.

I am not reacting anymore, she’s given me that,  and I imagine that I have let go of expecting improvement.  I imagine myself the sturdy oak tree with deep roots that others are clinging to in the damaging winds of emotions.  I imagine there is nothing more asked of me than to remain in my tree body and trust in the roots that we all share.

tree in wind

Jonathan Worthington :: Photos :: Trees blowing in the strong windTrees blowing in the strong wind

I see other families struggle, but ours seems something out of a horror film: words to rip flesh, relentless positioning, love and affection banished forever, though I hold them in an open grab bag for all.  I sit in my still point of this hurricane force winds and know…I can only wash the dishes, grade the papers, pick up the mess, go to bed, wake again to tea, and breath, and stillness in a storm that seems it will not let up.

Here are some words for me this morning:

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”
― Thich Nhat HanhThe Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Letting it out in words this morning to avoid a mental, pity party.  Sometimes, I’m thinking it helps to let it out, so I can get back to chopping wood and carrying water.  🙂  Posts should come with a warning label…don’t read this!   I hope you heeded my advice and didn’t.  If you did, I send you love and support in your trials, and share an angry thrash dance with you, too!

Here’s my angry day song:

Everyday Chaos

5 Feb

rumpled bed

How easy but painful – living vicariously…No, please,

live

precariously

with

your own eyes, your own toes, your own breath

one step

one trip

one sleep

one sip

each at once and after, again.

Blind often

we are in each beat

to the perfection,

no matter how chaotic,

of a rumpled bed

a makeup filled counter

dirty dishes

writhing piles of laundry

sculpture

design

life.

Dust accumulates faster than can be cleared

fresh turns sour

mold grows

mascara smears.

Who can see the transcendence of dishevelment?

This morning:

a fine cup of tea in a deconstructing house.

Comparing my chaotic life with teens to my friend’s life expressions – she is a being who seems to manifest loveliness in every gesture – prompted this poem out of me this summer.

When I saw Ivon’s Post,  Imperfection, I wanted to reblog a reblog 🙂

http://ivonprefontaine.com/2013/02/05/imperfection/

Toasting you with my teacup, amid the mess of life, in our shared moments of surrender, embrace, and JOY!

There Are No Shoulds

4 Feb

Crater_Lake_Crater_Lake_National_Park

My mother and I are different in many surface ways, and if there were a Match.com for mother/daughter relationships, we might not even be paired.  But of course the wisdom of the universe understands a much deeper level than we even know of ourselves, and thus we are paired for reasons beyond simplistic, exterior match ups  – we are paired by our souls.

My mother is a deep, blue body of water.

I discovered this fact my freshman year in college when I was far away from home.  I was a Theatre major, and in theatre one does all sorts of in-class assignments most other majors could never imagine.  One stark and leafless Ohio day, I remember the feel of the cold wood floor under me as we were led through a long, guided mediation that had me fairly far outside my physical body into a realm I never imagined accessible before this day.  We were asked to connect with someone we were closest to in this life.

At that suggestion, I found myself swimming in the deepest, most calming blue waters of my mother – and I knew then and now looking back that I had found her essence.

We may disagree about most things people believe in, join, wear as a labels or identities, etc, but we hardly ever tromp into those places when we talk.

I think it was about 20 years ago, after I was chastizing myself about something,, my mother said to me,  “There are no Shoulds!”  She stopped me cold.  Really?  No Shoulds.  What freedom in those words!  What a gift she gave to me that day!

And since that time, we have said this phrase to each other as often as we needed to hear it.  Sometimes she would forget herself, get lost in the role of MOTHER, and tell me something that she thought I SHOULD do;  then, I would say to her, “There are no shoulds,”  and she would immediately drop the should and say, “You are right.”  The love and detachment in this instant transformation she can make after a daughter’s scolding are a beautiful gift and mirror to me.

From Neil Kramer’s The Unfoldment: The Organic Path to Clarity, Power, and Transformation:  “The outcome of making a wrong decision is often portrayed in the mainstream media as a life-shattering failure.  It is a very binary equation in the unreality of the distortion:  win or lose; black or white.  But reality is not like that.  There is no failure on the spiritual path, other than the temporary postponement of not walking it.

A conscious decision to not do something is as valid as choosing to do something.  One must consider the personal relevance of a thing from one’s own inner core before exercising will.  Contemplate removing should from the process.  There is doing, and there is not doing.  Should doesn’t come into it.  If I feel that it would be good to go and visit my elderly neighbor and help her chop firewood, then I do it.  If I don’t feel that, then I won’t do it.  No should is required.

Should compels people to act from imbalance – from outside their truth.  It is closely allied with public expectation and social standing, which are habitually flawed, as they are mired in the distortion” (95).

The gift we can give to ourselves and to others is releasing the expectations – releasing the shoulds.  That word should should just go away; shouldn’t it?

Bill Murray and Actualizing the No Self

1 Feb

billmurrayimprov

Somehow I was not surprised when this quote from Bill Murray appeared to me and synchronized so seamlessly with the title of this blog.  His face has become way too familiar to me since I often show Groundhog Day to my Composition Classes for a Film Analysis assignment.    After my 20th time of seeing this movie, I wonder to myself: has his face somehow now become a canvas for the everyman?  How is it now that I might have merged character and actor into the cheeky poster boy for the hero’s journey – a life lived by making one’s own path through the forest?  How did this once seemingly silly man  become Nietzsche’s Ubermensch?  (Okay – I know I took it too far…AND, I am unqualified to drop a Nietzsche reference.)

I make the students write an analysis about the changes in Bill Murray’s character, Phil, who goes through a life journey by reliving a single day. (Sometimes good insight can slip in a door that looks like fluffy pluff.)  While discussing the movie, I often found myself using the phrase SELF-ACTUALIZATION and remembered that the phrase came from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.   When I first learned about Maslow’s theory in high school, his outlook so fully articulated the consensus of the life path within our modern culture that, at that time,  I internalized “belief” in this chart without realizing it.

Here it is:

maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

The basic idea implies that we need to start at the bottom and work our way up in life.  In this theory, we first figure out how to make enough money or situate ourselves to get our basic needs met, then we can gradually get all the other stuff on the pyramid, working up to greater levels of psychological and spiritual development in the process.

My life has led me up and down this pyramid over and over again, wiping out whole rungs at a time.    The way I see it now, some of the levels of this pyramid can actually get in the way of self-actualization, concepts such as security, achievements, belonging, safety, self-esteem!  These concepts are rabbit holes of delusion, stories of a false self, each one of them.

Think about how many are living by this idea.  Think how conditional self-actualization would actually be, according to this chart.  First you get enough physical security, then enough conditional love and acceptance from others, then enough status and respect, then finally, you are ready to learn who you really are enough to find purpose and meaning.

This is one of the lies that constructs our world.  You cannot find enough security, acceptance, and status to know the self; it isn’t even the right trail, yet most everyone is marching around as if this were true.

If you know the true self, you don’t need the other steps to prove your worth.  You take another journey altogether, a journey that doesn’t require you to be GOOD ENOUGH to know yourself.  The bloody pyramid is a constructed  mental HELL…sorry.

Seems to me  that self actualization in the human journey could be the first step, and then the other needs would either take care of themselves or become irrelevant.

Or do we need to go up and down the pyramid steps a bit in life in order to learn to point toward self-knowledge?

And what about this term  SELF-ACTUALIZED?

The path of remembering (the TRUE self beyond this world of duality) takes away the faulty concept of the constructed self so perhaps it should be, ACTUALIZATION of the NO SELF.

hmmmmmmm

Happy Groundhog Day!

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