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?
Where is the balance point
between the effort and the ease?
Where is the grace
that allows forgiveness to find me?
Where is the sweet one
who will coax my heart out of hiding?
Where is the soul nourishment
that will sustain me?
I keep trying, trying, trying.
I’m exhausted from the effort
of teasing apart the jumbled mess
of other people’s perceptions
and finding my true self
concealed somewhere deep within.
Where am I,
who am I,
in the midst of all of this chaos?