Off the edge of safety
The narrow range
Of needing to know
Of tightly grasped guarantees
It’s smothering darkness
Visible only having fallen
Into the breathtaking vastness
The vivid bright flash
of open space between no more and not yet
Where possibilities dance and play
With the unshakable
Trusting and trustworthy
Lingering almost against my will
In that space between
Out breath and in breath
For a moment I forgot to worry
Just long enough to notice
Becomes the blessing
Of knowing the
Within the ever present
Of Life itself
Letting go of technique
Abandoning traditionally held concepts
Dropping down and in
To see through the eyes of the heart
Blessed with knowing
And feeling held
– we don’t have to have it all figured out and know all the answers? What if we actually can’t?
– we don’t have to be good at everything?
– we don’t have to be totally and completely self-sufficient 100% of the time?
– my strengths are *meant* to assist you with your weaknesses, and vice versa?
– we actually *need* each other in that, and so many other ways?
– we weren’t ashamed to admit that?
– it’s okay to make mistakes, even big ones?
– we held each other gently, with the utmost kindness, in those moments, knowing that we, too, have messed up, and that we’re all trying our best, in every moment?
– we held ourselves gently, with the utmost kindness, in those moments?
Feeling the gentle bite of the crisp fall morning air
Hearing the crunch of leaves beneath my feet
The acrid smell of a wood fire wafting from afar both irritating and oddly reassuring
Watching the sun stream through mostly naked tree branches to bathe everything in a warm golden glow
The wispy clouds moving freely as clouds do against the vast blueness of sky
Mind settling with the rhythmic lifting and placing of each miraculous footstep
An appreciative heart opening, softening into the deep knowing of the raw honesty of this time of year.
The raw soft beauty of Impermanence
The very truth of life itself
So exquisitely expressed
Offered as a teaching that
When opened to and received
Becomes a blessing
By the natural world
A tear trickles softly
A gentle knowing smile
A heart broken open
To the fullness of
Sadness and Joy
In perfect union.
The still quiet voice was rumbling now, like a freight train shaking the foundations of my being.
Trying to get my attention.
Captivated by this beautiful image on my walk this morning, I stopped to gaze at it and as it gazed back, I found myself thinking of the song ‘I Got You Babe” by UB40. (And Sonny and Cher. Yes, I’m that old…).
It’s such a beautiful thing to share that kind of unconditional love and acceptance with those near and dear to us. It truly is. When I can let another see a part of me that’s not quite perfect, and they still love me and are still willing to hold me tight (maybe even more, maybe even tighter!) it’s beautiful. When others allow me to see a part of them that’s not quite perfect, it’s equally beautiful. My heart melts open in this kind of warmth, and I sometimes wonder if there are two of us or just one.
Then I found myself thinking about the times that I can’t, or they can’t, for whatever reason. What then? The truth is I’ve spent most of life thinking that unless the love and acceptance came from an external source, it wasn’t real; it, and maybe I, had no value. So, and I’m just beginning to learn how to do this, what if I could hold my self tight, all of my selves, the ones that are afraid, the ones that are sad, wear their hair too long, or don’t have a lot, and say “I got you babe.”
“…put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb…
I got you, I won’t let go…
I got you babe.”
I’m so blessed to have people in my life that I can hold and feel held by, see and be seen by. I wouldn’t trade it or them for anything.
When I offer that same love to myself, I sometimes feel so raw and tender, so tentative, not quite sure how, so uncertain, is this okay, do I even deserve this, but the more I hold myself in this very real, very valuable warmth and love, the more my own heart melts toward myself, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything either.
I got you babe. And I won’t let go.
On this day last year, I was riding back from Karmê Chöling Meditation Retreat Center in Barnet, Vermont, where I had a spent a week coordinating a retreat. As we made our way to a nearby airport where I would catch a flight back to Toronto, our conversation turned to setting an intention for the year.
Mine was ‘ Go with the tears.’ I chose this because on more than occasion the previous week, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and in tears. This was my first time coordinating a retreat away from my home meditation center where I had coordinated several daylong and weekend programs and only my third retreat away from home. It was intense, as retreats often are. I wanted it to be a success for everyone, and to complicate matters, my partner had become ill while I was away.
On one such occasion, the teacher I was working with saw my tears, asked me what was wrong, and when I managed to say “l don’t know what to do and I’m scared,” they gently took my hand and said “Let’s walk.” We walked through the main floor of the house (the retreat center was once a farmhouse) and back to the meditation hall. By then, I still wasn’t sure what I needed to do, much less how to do it, I just knew that I could.
Allowing myself to feel the fear (of judgement, of abandonment, etc) combined with the warmth and kindness of that simple gesture was such a gift, one that made it possible for me to connect with the innate strength and wisdom that we all have.
My default when I feel challenged or threatened is to get angry, but I’m learning that by allowing myself to feel the churning in my belly, the heat in my cheeks, the damp chill in my hands, the shallow breathing, the floaty feeling, without acting on them, without storming out or saying the angry thing, without shutting down, I can feel the sadness underneath. When I can do that, the words and actions that follow seem to come from a much gentler place.
So, there I was, on January 1, 2018, setting an intention to “Go with the tears.” I wish I could say it was easy and I was successful in not saying the angry thing or slamming any more doors or completely shutting down in fear. What did happen was each time I said the angry thing, or felt myself beginning to shut down, I recognized it as being an opportunity to touch back into my intention and gently recommit to it, to myself and to those around me.
Here it is, January 1, 2019, and I’m thinking that I’m going to need at least another year, if not another lifetime, to work on that intention, and a few others (like writing more regularly…) and I have a question for you:
Would you like to join me? Would you like to gather with others who are committed to living out their values, and supporting and learning from each other? We could gather on Zoom weekly or monthly, meditate together, and share our experiences? I claim no expertise other than this, and an open and willing heart, and I’d love to have company!
About the graphic: I felt inspired to create this, using Canva, following a conversation with a dear friend about great compassion and seeing with the eyes of the heart.