Can someone please tell me
just what is enough?
What is a big enough house,
or how much is enough food
to be able to live in health?
And why are there those
living with very little
who manage to be happy,
and then there are
those who live in excess
who are miserable?
And then there are those
who simply don’t have enough
and they live in despair,
and there are those with a surplus
who are celebrating their good fortune…
And then there is everyone in-between,
fluctuating with gratitude and trust,
allowing, resisting, judging, surrendering.
And then, and I’m still wondering about this—
there are people
who don’t have access to clean drinking water,
while I take luxurious baths with candles,
and epsom salt and essential oils,
and I really can’t understand why this disparity exists….
It’s a good thing we humans are so resilient.
Otherwise all this variety
could really make us lose our minds.
A part of my healing journey
has been to loosen up a little
on some of my routines.
I have been accused of being rigid,
too attached to my routines,
and each time I felt the urge
to defend my practices
if not out loud,
then inwardly, to myself.
As I began to peer inside a little more,
I could see how my routines were sometimes fillers,
excuses not to be completely present,
because I could check out
as I attended to them…
and so this need to defend my practices
came from anxiety that they might not be serving me,
and the pain of feeling like my time spent doing them
was a complete waste.
Is there such a thing?
Could it be that my practices served me then,
but I eventually outgrew them,
and now they no longer serve me
the way they did before?
Could I drop the shame around change?
Don’t we learn by making mistakes?
Can’t I ease up about being perfect, being right,
and instead, can I welcome this moment
with my heart that yearns to love more open?
The way you doing anything
is the way you do everything.
So, if you’re really honest with yourself,
are you handling this pandemic
the way you handle
(what was) your everyday life?
Is it a crisis? Are you panicking?
Does it feel like something is missing?
Like you should have known better,
or done more, or saved more,
or created more by now?
Do you have regrets?
Do you yearn for what was?
And how is this thinking different
from the way you were thinking
before the $hit hit the fan? Honestly?
you decided to elevate your mind
to a state of gratitude?
What if you started searching
for the opportunities present
in this challenge?
What if you decided to leverage
your gifts, talents and abilities
in service of humankind, right now?
the way you do anything
is the way you do everything.
Some part of me keeps waiting
for the magic wand to be waved
or some swtich to be flipped
or some magical incantation uttered…
My whole life is fixed…
But I’ve been around long enough
to know that life doesn’t work like this.
Which is a good thing, come to think of it,
because how many times have I been grateful
for unanswered prayers?
is burning in your heart,
searing your mind,
waking you up at night?
Are you willing to feel the question
with every fiber of your being?
Are you willing to live with
your yearning for an answer?
Are you willing to sit with the uncertainty
for as long as it takes,
as many days, weeks, months, years
as it will take
to live your way into the answer?
This is the path of the heart-strong warrior.
Are you willing to walk this path?
I must warn you
it doesn’t get easier.
As your practice deepens
so do the questions.
At some point you’ll be holding the entire universe
inside your heart asking yourself,
What did I get myself into now?
You’ll see that you are alone in this question
with no safe place to run or hide
and no one to keep you company,
not even the wind.
Sitting in ceremony this weekend,
I realized how very much my mind
still wants this moment to show up differently
and how much suffering
this wanting things to be different
stirs up in my life.
If I could only love and accept this moment as it is,
how would my experience be different?
Could I soften into this beauty?
Could I accept my own wholeness, my completeness?
Could I love this journey I’m on,
and learn to accept that uncertainty
is an integral part of the adventure?
I’m walking on the razor’s edge
between acceptance and resistance,
every moment, between peace and suffering.
I see how much choice I have,
and how much responsibility
to make the choice that will help and heal
instead of hurt and hinder.
As a mother, the choice becomes even more impactful.
My kids are watching me make meaning
out of all of these life experiences.
I’m teaching them every moment
how to love or how to fear this life.
God, please show me how to love.
God, show me how to love this life,
so that by the time my kids are my age,
they’ll know which choice to make.
The tide has shifted
and I’m ready for change.
Somehow more empowered…
maybe my practices have coalesced?
Or is it the clarity arising
from 100% sobriety
100% of the time?
Is it that the Universe has aligned?
Is it that enough people have prayed for me?
I’ve begun to feel
that life is worth living again…
Is it the blessing of a thunderstorm,
cooling the air
after the sweltering heat of day,*
the look in my children’s eyes
as we pick wineberries
by the side of the road,
the hustle back home
as the storm approached?
Something is different.
There is more hope,
more conviction that somewhere,
this will all work out.
*My home’s air-conditioning system has be inoperable since May. If you are from around here, you know how godawfully hot and humid it is in these parts this time of year. If you’re not from around here, trust me when I say that it’s basically inhumane and cruel to not have air conditioning during the summer months…
In a different place,
a chance to see who I am
away from what is familiar.
I see that I was wrong
about who I thought I was.
I see that I understood nothing.
All this time,
but thinking I could see.
Is this new sight a delusion as well?
Taking what’s necessary,
leaving the rest.
What is necessary, really?
And what have I convinced myself I need?
And what would happen
if I left all of it,
and sat with the discomfort
of empty space?
If I could snap to perfection,
If I could skip the journey and
just land in paradise,
Would I refuse to
climb the mountain,
if I knew I could be plunked
right at the top?
Could I enjoy any success
if I didn’t work for it?