In this spacious present
I can relax, breathe,
recognize that everything is ok.
Why has so much of my time been spent
being educated away from what is here?
Can I unlearn enough
to have the space in my mind
to be truly present?
What would I do with such clarity,
such immense and immediate expansion?
Knowing that I could never shrink back
to what I was before,
is it safe to leave behind what is familiar
and face the adventure before me?
I was married to a hairdresser,
and in June 2017
he told me he would no longer cut my hair.
(Or sleep in the same bed.
Or share our life, our finances, our time.)
I’ve been sleeping alone since then,
and have fought mightily
to stay committed to this plane of existence,
and I have progressed by leaps and bounds
since June 2017, when I was
a messy slobbering puddle on the floor
grieving my life before it was blown apart.
As time passed
I discovered that I enjoyed sleeping alone,
and I felt more committed to
staying on this plane of existence,
but I still hadn’t gotten my hair cut.
I had built up the importance
of finding a new hairdresser
to the point of feeling anxious
and overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing.
So I didn’t choose.
I did nothing.
My dear friend gifted me with a hair cut last July
when I visited her in Colorado,
and I was oh so grateful to be neatened up a bit…
but I still hadn’t found
someone else to cut my hair in this town where I live,
Today I picked up the phone,
dialed the salon nearest my house,
booked the next available appointment,
found my way into a chair just an hour later.
I got a haircut!
I got a haircut!
I got a haircut!
And I am free at last.
Without my husband there to help,
getting a Christmas tree
seemed like a daunting task.
I cursed the tradition
as I arrived on the lot,
and inwardly resented
the happy couples tying their trees
on the roofs of their vehicles,
getting it done together.
But I had help too.
Two young men put the tree on the roof,
and I figured out the ratchet straps
to secure the tree (mostly).
Back home I even managed to carry
that seven foot tall
fragrant Frasier fir
inside my house
AND set it on the tree stand,
Someday, one day,
I may find a new love
who will delight in accompanying me
on Christmas tree expeditions…
can I love the one in me
who was strong enough to get it done
all by myself?
If you are so strong
why do you feel the need to
flex your muscles before an audience?
If you are so highly educated
why would you broadcast
to everyone around you
where you went to school
and how much more you know
than everyone else?
If you are trying to keep up appearances,
tell me what are you so ashamed of,
what are you hiding,
what is it that you don’t want me to see?
If you are in possession of true wealth,
there is no need to cover yourself
with glittering jewels.
Your glowing eyes and strong heart
speak volumes of who you are.
If we are to be
we must cultivate
to meet whatever life brings us,
without trying to escape from it.
Discomfort can teach us about ourselves,
can show us how to awaken,
if we look at it,
if we don’t try to make it disappear.
As we become familiar with practices
to awaken our compassionate, wise heart
our commitment to awakening deepens.
We learn that we can practice formally
and in all of the moments
of our daily lives.
In joy and in misery
we water the seed of bodhichitta–
the seed of our awakened heart–
and as we feel the seed grow,
our confidence grows with it.
There are ways of meeting our neuroses
with warmth, with tenderness–
the way a gentle mother
would steer her baby away from danger…
When we feel like we’re going down
the path of reactivity
we give ourselves the reminder
that we’ve tried it this way before–
and it didn’t work too well then–
so why not try something new this time?
We hold the aspiration
that our thoughts, words, and actions
might be of benefit to all beings,
that we might nurture the seeds of wisdom,
of clear mind and kind heart.
Holding this aspiration,
the strong warriors that we are
might grow in strength
and in the precious ability to love.
We don’t need to be saved.
We don’t need a huge hand
descending from the sky
and plucking us from
our current predicament.
We don’t need a babysitter,
someone to keep us out of trouble
until our parents get home.
We aren’t lost.
What we see as a predicament
could morph into a learning opportunity
if we can stand and take a look
from a different angle.
When we aren’t waiting
for someone to come and save us
we tap into our own
present moment power,
the ability to see what is
and to choose how we respond.
Children wait for permission
and watch for reactions
as they trepidatiously
take a few tiny steps.
Let’s be grown ups, shall we?
Not waiting for some magic
to come and make everything better,
but making our own magic
and weaving it mindfully
through the fabric of time,