“Be an empty page, untouched by words.”- Rumi
This quote popped up on my Facebook thread today and it called insistently for a response. As a wordsmith, it puzzled me at first. “How can I be untouched by words?,” I pondered. They are my life blood and what makes me tick. They are downloaded from wherever they are at the moment. They feed my soul and delight my heart.
Then I looked at the quote again and got a sense of what the ecstatic poet from the 13th century might have been implying when he offered them. What if we could begin each day anew, a tabula rasa, a fresh, unwrinkled, unscrawled upon sheet, just waiting for the Divine hand to inscribe whatever is designed for that day? There is story we tell ourselves from the moment we are cognizant about how things ought to be and if they are not to our liking, we decide, consciously or unconsciously to be distraught about them. Today, while speaking with someone, that topic arose. He has struggled with the idea that life is a series of frustrating incidents all linked together and that he has no incentive to want anything, since he feels it never works out anyway. We joked about his Eeyore-like qualities and he sadly agreed that he had them. I then suggested that he re-write the narrative, reminding him that on occasion, for as long as I have known him, some things have worked out as he wanted. The more he was willing to change the story he was creating, the greater the likelihood that he would be happier with the progression of script. He sighed and agreed that it might.
In my own life, I am not immune. Although they are not my genres; I have been known to write suspense-horror fiction that scared the crap out of me. I much prefer ecstatic poetry a la Rumi and Hafiz. I would rather write happily ever after stories.
What I do know and have witnessed it so many times in my own life and those of others I know, is that by re-writing the lines, changing them up, feeling into them, the last page of the book changes. Someone had actually suggested writing a short story with that theme…in which a woman writes a book and each time she looks to the back, the ending alters.
Every day we write the book of our lives. Edit at will.
Because the rest is still unwritten.
I’ve heard it said many times that love brings up anything unlike it self for the purpose of healing and release. I also say that love is like a laxative, since is stirs up a lot of sh*t. The first time those words landed in my brain was back in my 20’s when I was involved with the Rebirthing community and had taken the LRT -Loving Relationships Training. It was quite a revelation for this young woman who only saw light and shied away from anything remotely shadowy. I was grateful to have grown up in a family in which love ruled supreme. Not overt addictions, traumas and dramas, unlike many I have encountered over the years. As I look at those who are part of my life now, many are survivors of those dynamics. I seem to attract resilient thrivers who have risen above the pain and don’t allow the darkness to engulf them for long. I have witnessed them struggle at times with their demons and dance with them at others. I have marveled at the remarkable courage it has taken for them to elevate themselves out of the muck and mire.
One of the pitfalls of being in multiple roles in my life as therapist, family and friend to folks who emerged from the shadow realms is that I have tended to minimize mine. Who me, angry, sad, scared, lonely? Because I was born into this human existence, I too have experienced loss and pain. I have buried those emotions under layers of justification that because I have solid supports and resources that I ‘should’ be able to deal with them. The illusion that if I minimize their impact on my life, I will somehow dis-empower them. The opposite seems to be true. What we resist, persists. Imagine a beach ball that you attempt to hold under water. How long can you keep it submerged until your arms get tired? When you release it, it pops back up.
I have been experiencing a flood of emotions lately as I am immersed in love soup every day. Finally allowing myself to be fully human with messy feelings that I have squelched in the service of making things ‘look good’ and that I ‘have it all together.’ This came up yesterday in a workshop I was in. What if I could be authentic and just friggin’ acknowledge the spectrum of it all? What if I could simply allow? What if? Tears and laughter abound in my life. I am far more at ease with the latter, rather than the former. It is when I am willing to be nakedly open and vulnerable in sharing those aspects of myself that I too rise above the water line.
A gentle breeze wisped by and a tender ray of sunlight wafted down on my right cheek. I sighed in release as my sleep deprived weary body nestled into a camp chair. Like many, I have been waking up between 3 and 5 am each morning with messages that ask to be written down. Decked out in my winter jacket as the last blast (hopefully) of winter chill dissipated on a the final day of April, I closed my eyes and drifted into a meditative state with wafts of lavender and peppermint waving their tendrils. I tuned out the overlapping voices of passersby and the cars that hummed on Route 313 in my town of Dublin, PA. In the most unlikely of places, I allowed myself to mellow out. The Dublin Firehouse Flea Market and Craft Fair is occurring and I had arrived around 8:30 am to help my friends Kim and Eric set up shop with Kim’s home made items called Peaceful Wraps. Good for what ails the body, they are comforting when heated or frozen. I have used them on neck, back and knees. They are filled with rice and all manner of yummy scents for soothing body and soul. Kim is also a Reiki Master and they are blessed with that energy of love and light.
It occurred to me that we consider certain places spiritually enriching and others distracting. Temples, churches, synagogues and mosques are no more sacred than the grassy expanse of a local fire department in small town USA. If I can meditate there, it is a no-brainer to be able to do so anywhere. The only difference is my willingness to clear a space for the monkey mind to have its say and then feed it a banana and send it on its way.
Today, my friend Kristin Pedemonti, who is known as a storyteller, writer and up-lifter of spirits, and who, like me, creates FREE Hugs events, dyes her hair vibrant colors (hers is pink and mine is purple) was showing off her new tattoo on her Facebook page. She is one of those ‘not-yet-met-but-recognized each other-right-away friends.’ We live a few hours away, but it turns out that there was a time when likely no more than 30 minutes separated us. Kristin is a world traveler who scatters joy wherever she goes. I look forward to meeting her hug to hug soon.
Although I wouldn’t get body art myself, since I am a pain wimp who is now on blood thinners, (I have had henna tattoo embellishment), I told her that I needed to have the message that is imprinted on her arm tattooed on my heart. One of my perseverative thoughts is that I am not enough and by extension, what I experience in my life is lacking.
Since I am writing this on the Jewish holiday of Passover, I am mindful of the word ‘dayenu’ which in Hebrew, translates to”enough” and is part of the Passover Seder. It references the idea that had God freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt, it “would have been sufficient.” and had God fed them manna in the desert as they wandered to the Promised Land, “it would have been sufficient,” and so on. In my life, I need to recall that I am enough, have enough and do enough.
As I was contemplating this concept, I allowed to run through my mind the myriad things I am grateful for that include: family, friends, health, a beautiful home, a Jeep that gets me where I need to go, money in the bank, work that I love, marketable skills, opportunities showing up daily, new friends that appear in my life all the time and more love than I can take in. I will be traveling and teaching in the next few months, having all kinds of exciting adventures. And yet…..there is this lingering longing for something more. A feeling of disconnect. It has been with me for as long as I can remember. A sense of insatiability. It creeps into my brain and wraps around it like choking vines that threaten to suffocate my synapses. Pretty graphic, I know…but who am I to question the Muse when she plants images in my mind? Wondering how to quell it, other than to return to a focus on appreciation for what is already present. I tell myself that there are those who are alone, bereft of support, living in squalor, without any hope for a better future, so what do I have to complain about? It is that existential ‘homesickness for God’ that I have heard spoken about. There are times when I experience transcendent emotions that loft me above the mucking around in the mire that I sometimes find myself in. Messy human emotions, they are.
One thing that helps me through this, is lightheartedness and playfulness. Yesterday, as I was pulling up to the drive through at the bank, where I was making a deposit, I saw my friend Connie Keener through the window as she too was doing biz with the teller. We waved and smiled and then I blew a kiss which she caught and sent back. When the teller turned around and greeted me, I told her that Connie might have been blowing the kiss at her too. She then asked if the last time I was there, I had sent a feather through when I returned the envelope in which she had placed my money. I told her that I had indeed and when she asked the reason for it, I shared that I am a clown whose character is a faerie named Feather, that it reminds me of the concept in one of my favorite movies: Forrest Gump in which the feather is like a character that wafts about and has me questioning whether things happen by chance or on purpose. I prefer to see them as occurring by Divine design. It also encourages people to lighten up. I give them out at my presentations and some people (like the teller who told me that she kept it at her work station) who have attended several, keep them nearby. One woman told me she had taken hers on a road trip with her and it had visited several states. Since I keep some in my car, I handed her another one..because you can never have too many. She smiled and asked if there was anything else she could do for me. As I always do, I told her that she could deposit a million dollars in my account. I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask. She told she would get right on it. Since I believe in setting intention, I know that anything is possible. Including accepting that I AM ENOUGH!