Tag Archives: Silence

silent days

31 Jul

water_drop

i was alone in my house for the 4th night in a row, last night

i  won’t go into detail about how this came to be; that this is so rare and unexpected is enough to say.

for 20 years i was a wife and mom in a chaotic situation, in which i was left with only one seeming way to truth – I had to find the still point in the activity.

now out of the blue I have a glimpse of wider plains of space and silence.

I can see the mind – not understanding – sets about the task to fill up any gap.

it took a while for the reverberating sounds in my head to die down.

but man oh man when they did – i realized i was floating in a watery world of silence

that so gently took my form within it.

even as more activity is creeping back in,  I’ve been carrying my own pool with me, in the car, to a meeting with a student,  sitting in the bookstore waiting for eden; m in a movable tank.  I may be leaving puddles of this delicious substance in my wake, ya think?

This silence is So far beyond the short visits to the cushion –

i’ve been stealing bits and moments of it for years, dreaming of a silent retreat one day

and though this is no vipassana 10 day-er – I’ll take this dive into the clear water of days as a start.

in watery silence, I have the luxury to be –

and in this silent being i float.

sliding parentheses

19 May

silence

 

(;lsdnfaoifvknz;ohfeaofmlveofg;nwoeifj(     )al;skfnasldknvoaienwlkvz;seijfwnfv’;)

 

(aksjdnf;OnaIAe(                                                                                        );lasndvoankmc;’)

 

((                                                                                                                                                      ))

 

 

May we all feel the ease of  the spaciousness within.

 

words out of my mouth

29 Mar

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I cannot improve the silence, Gandhi.

I have spent some time silent.  I have spent time speaking.  I have spoken long spells as a fool.

Dare I contradict the man, Gandhi?  When I read his words, I feel humbled and silent.  That is good.

But I also know that silence sometimes is haughty – safe – stagnant.

Sometimes silence is like holding toxins in the body.   Sometimes words are the messengers of incorrect thoughts showing up like pimples needing to come to the surface to be seen, expunged, healed.

I  hear the narrator from “The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”  (by T.S. Eliot)  in my head:

That is not what I meant at all. 
  That is not it, at all…”  

When I brag like a peacock.  When I make a joke that hurts someone.  When I start expounding about something I know nothing about as if I know.  When I take over and cut others out.

proud peacock

“Do I dare 
Disturb the universe? 
In a minute there is time 
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”

I do disturb the universe because this is part of the path I’ve chosen – To use my life, words, mistakes as a mirror.  I love the peacock in his display; it is beautiful and daring.

It is easy to hate the pimple, turn away from the ugly but my weakness is loved; it is okay to say the wrong thing.

And by allowing myself to participate in this life, I learn.

And more and more words  become less like pimples and more like flowers from some magical garden of the ineffable.  I become a clearer vessel for the words that are not my own.  The flowers that appear from words can only blossom because I dared to allow myself space and love to reveal the words that needed to be released.

The Threat of Silence

26 Feb

Since Caimbeul mentioned his 7 year silent retreat,  just the idea of S I L E N C E has been in my awareness.

What is silence?  Where is it found?  How does it change us and our experiences?

Even just the threat of silence has had life altering force for me.

The words thrown out here on this blog are just the reflection of my MIND making stories.  But the images from my own experiences and the experiences of others found in words gives to me at times illumination.   Our lives are played out before us like the colors of a kaleidoscope – mixing and blending, forming patterns of ever changing beauty.

kaleidoscope1

At the very least, we all watch a cool and mesmorizing show.

So as opposed to the monk’s life, which sounds like pure heaven, my life has been full of activity and people.  Once, while browsing in a New Age bookstore, I came across a book called The Birthday Book, in which horoscopes (of a sort) were cast for those born on each day of the year.  And the forecast for my birthday has stayed in my awareness for years, though I only glanced at the page briefly.  My memory tells me that my horoscope said that in my lifetime I would need to release the idea of order and learn to roll with chaos.

Did the prediction influence the reality?  Or did the prediction reflect a pattern?  Or does an idea overlay random events and make them seem to fit in a neat pattern?

Silence, of course, is powerful.  But learning to find the silence amidst much activity is my practice, pattern, journey, it seems.

Even the threat of true silence for an extended period of time turned my life upside down.  Here’s how.

When my kids were toddlers, I was invited to a talk about Vipasanna Meditation, by S. N. Goenka, who was opening these centers around the country with 10 day silent retreats for free.  Oh, how I wanted to go and experience silence for 10 days but it was not the time; I could not leave my children for 10 days, and couldn’t ever imagine a day when this would be possible.  But, this idea stayed in my mind, the someday idea, for years.

Two years ago, I found out that they had opened a center in Georgia, easy driving distance, and the summer retreat perfectly coincided with my daughter’s sleep away camp.  I signed up.  This commitment to silence and to my path opened my eyes, changed my life entirely, and I didn’t even get to go.

I arranged to leave my older daughter at home with my husband,  on the boat we were residing within in a transitory, unpredictable environment that made me suddenly see my life.  Though she was 15 and old enough to watch herself with minimal guidance, I saw that our lives had deteriorated to the point that she could not be left in his care.  My Eyes Opened to see what was there.  I was living in a situation that made no sense, but I couldn’t see what was so close.  I had been so busy putting out fires for so long, I hadn’t stopped to realize, I did not wish to be a firefighter.  Our created reality of home and family was in a spiral down that I could Stop and Reverse.

So began my journey away from the marriage and on to the hard work of recreating a healthy home environment…which is still ongoing!

As a bonus for signing up for the retreat, I was gifted a friend who made the amazing commitment  to sit with me for a bit every morning of that retreat so that I would know while I was alone, she was with me for that time from her corner wherever that may be.  Amazing, right?  And this friend was also the sort to offer the gentle yet firm aid in recognizing the shift in my path and offer a different kind of support, on the fly of the ever changing patterns.

My unfolding could begin when I answered yes to what the path was demanding of me, and the flow continues on.

But one particular thing has struck me about this WordPress experience of the past few months; I don’t know if I can articulate it, but I feel like I am walking the path of many.  I am walking the path of healers, I am walking the path of painters and photographers, I am walking the path of silence, I am walking a path of those without the soul contract of children, I am walking the path of those in partnership, I am walking the path of my friends on snowy walks, on other continents, in castles and shanties,  and you, perhaps in turn, walk a path with me.  All the naked sharing adds to our collective human experience (without boundaries) of what is most real in this realm.

It’s Okay.

3 Jan

peace in chaos

Everything is Okay.  It is.

I’ve been here before.  The first time felt like coming home – remembering the place from which everything is okay.

I don’t know why or how I could cloudy up again once I knew this place existed, but that too is…okay!

There are mixtures of okay and not okay all around.  Large thrashings of misery, small whimpering expressions of pain, happy laughter, birds coming to life in the glowing morning, everything is okay – and it always has been.

I think it is coming up on 2 years when a breakthrough of okayness came while we were still living on the boat.  The marriage was in free fall, but something had shifted in me.

There was a fundraiser that my husband had planned to attend.  I mentioned that we could go together, but the time of leaving, the time of coming home, the price, the gas of separate cars, and the destruction of the planet came into the discussion and  I ended up staying on the boat while he went out.

As the light came in through the hatch the next morning, I realized that he had never come home.  And I felt peace.  (One beautiful thing about living on a boat is the way the light comes in through the hatches and wakes you up.)  A week before this peace, I would have been angry, worried, tied in a knot.  The light hit my eyes, his absence was realized and I wished him well where ever he was.

Soon after, I was able to make the steps I needed for moving my life in a more appropriate direction, but the drama was sucked out – a gift of the universe – helping me to come to the place where everything was okay.

A strange aside, I actually can smell the air of this place.  It is sweet, mild, delicious, slightly tropical (even in winter) – The Place of Okay has a tangible smell!  Does anyone else share that sensation?

So, how do I go from that place of peace to an off-kilter, reactive state again with the throws of teenage misery?  I don’t know.  Every time I remember The Place of Okay, I imagine it is for good.  And one of the days, it will be…which seems more than okay.

pathtopeace

Come Closer

4 Dec

Image

Found this note on the sidewalk today.

When I saw it on the ground, I kept walking and I smirked a bit, I admit, thinking of the smart ass things one could write  on the note and leave back on his/her  car.

On my way back the note was still there, waiting for me to pick it up.

The receiver of such a message might have never even seen it, judging from it’s sidewalk location.

So much here in these few  words…

This note expresses displeasure and perhaps, he/she did have quite a difficult time trying to get through the car door.  It is annoying when some seem so oblivious to the idea of sharing space with others.  But I also imagine being on the receiving end of this note.  Would this note cause the receiver to park differently next time?  Would the humanity shared be bridged here?

I don’t think so.

I know all about annoying behavior.  I am so annoying.  I know I am.  My daughters say I repeat myself over and over again, which sends their impatience through the roof.  I don’t mean to, but often, there are misunderstandings if I don’t – rides needed that never show up, missed events, items forgotten…

Sharing space is tricky for me.

I have been overcoming clausterphobia since moving off the boat.  This condition has caused me to allow the voice in my mind to tell me that I can’t breath and I need to escape any way possible to get out of elevators, cars, classrooms…In this state of mind, there is actually no oxygen.  In these moments of blindness, human angels have appeared to me, helping me to breath, short breath in, long breath out.  A math professor across the hall, whom I have only seen in passing, got in my face, “Darth Vader” breaths he said.  And by helping me CLOSELY in this way, he helped me shift to where there was oxygen again, room in my lungs to take it in.   Breath. Life. Space. Options. Possibility.

Sometimes when my mind said it needed space, it actually needed the help of someone coming closer, as close as possible.  Paradoxical, that.

Right now my daughter and I are head to head.  I feel held over a barrel of ego and distortion through an incorrect lens.  This makes me want to get out; the circular dynamic  feels as if it takes all oxygen from the room, from the world…and yet if I can rest in the state of being (not mind) where there is breath, life, space, possibility – I can move in closer.

Could I park any closer to the shadows in my life?

Nope.

Addendum:  Just found my therapy session for my claustrophobia.

Here is Some Helpful Advice 😉

 

YOU ARE HERE!

2 Dec

Image

Gosh.  I know right where I am.

A few days pass.  In between grading poetry anthologies, I take a little journey into reading the blogs out there that I have never seen.  Along this journey, I run across Awakeandfindingpurpose.wordpress.com and there I find another path walker sharing nakedly and beautifully.  This find then leads to some more bread crumbs along the way to Theawakeneddreamer.com…Wowza.  I am ready to hear this voice and experience stepping into her “telling” right now.

Rocking on my heels…ready to stop, and drop it all, no fear, just “come on fellas, show a girl the launching pad?”  Ah hahahahahaha.  Cue Alicia Silverstone Clueless voice, “As if….”

The empty mind times feel as nourishing as a bowl full of steamed spinach, a pure glass of water after a walk by the marsh.  Then the busy mind times feel like consuming cheeze doodles and dr. pepper.  Ugh.

So much has fallen away that I am full of longing for the rest to fall away.  I have had a shift; now I “know” the Eckhart Tolle park bench moment is coming.  Of course it is.  Everything to this point has led me along, and Everything will always continue to do so.  “She” let go of the grass reeds on the bank of the raging river a while ago.

I used to sneak away when my girls were young to go to a Thich Nhat Hanh Meditation Group in the basement of a Modern Baptist Church in Charlotte for one-half hour of sitting and one-half hour of walking meditation, followed by an awkward discussion of thoughts jumbled with ideology jumbled with all manner of open and closed, seeing and blind.  And I remember saying out loud, “Gosh, I just realized in the past few weeks that over 98% of what I think about is unnecessary.”  And a woman gave me and look, and said, “Really.  That’s messed up.  What do you think about?”  Indeed 🙂 What do we all think about?  But I was so new to the path, I thought I had said something so obviously stupid and wrong.

Most MIND is pretty close to that percentage…I stop and listen to mind chatter throughout the day.  What is it going on about?  At best, most of it is unnecessary, noisy blabbering, at worst painful confusion.

Paradoxically,  I don’t have to do anything about it.  I don’t have to sit on it, stuff it down.

Image

I just look at it.

It is going away… Soon, perhaps today it will fall away entirely; how beautiful!

“silence is the language of god,
all else is poor translation.”

― Rumi

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