A teacher shared with me recently
that we humans live in a great paradox
of which we are innately aware
but which is so overwhelming
that it is the root cause
of our misery and all the behaviors
that arise from our misery.
The paradox is this:
Our consciousness is infinite
and yet our bodies are finite.
The awareness in us is as vast as the universe
and yet our tiny physical beings are fragile, vulnerable.
This paradox, and the tension it creates
is too much for many of us to bear.
And so we numb.
We get addicted.
We look outside, to escape
the tension orginating from the center of our being.
I have faced this paradox over and over
as I have watched my life dissolve
before my very eyes.
Everything I knew has been obliterated.
The consciousness in me can be at peace with this.
My body is terrified, suffering from complex PTSD.
Every day I dance on a fine line
between hope and hopelessness,
love and fear,
existence and non-existence,
infinity and limitation.
I can tell you, it’s a lonely place to dance.
There’s a moment after hitting rock bottom
when you realize that you’re not dead.
Maybe, as you look around at where you are,
you wish you were dead,
but you’re still alive nonetheless.
Resistance will make you hurt worse.
Regret will keep you stuck in this place.
When you’ve stripped away everything
that you used as your former identity
and you find yourself, naked,
standing on rock,
it feels vulnerable, uncomfortable.
You look up…
and the light of day seems so far away.
The good news is,
you don’t have many decisions to make;
it’s very simple in this naked place
of bare, cold, hard, rock bottom.
There’s only one direction you can go—
Early I was awake
Sleep was not an option.
So I got up, sat for an hour,
made myself breakfast,
and by 6am I was writing.
By 9:45am I was teaching yoga
to twenty-eight people,
willing to do the work.
We laughed, breathed,
By 11am I was in a grocery store,
last minute shopping.
By noon I was vacuuming
my kids’ carpets.
At 2 it was time
to drop them off with their dad.
I took a long, hot bath,
then I wrapped presents.
Then it was dinner,
after which my dad
and I played guitar.
I searched for a Christmasey feeling,
but sang Irish drinking songs instead.
Now it’s time for bed.
This was my first Christmas Eve without my kids since they were born. I think I did a lot of grief processing beforehand, because I felt much more peaceful and calm about it than I thought I was going to feel. I anticipated drowning my sorrows in some prosecco,
but I didn’t feel called to it, I didn’t want it.
Last year at this time my husband was still living with me and it was painful to witness Christmas Eve as a newly broken family.
This year is different. I don’t feel a need to escape my feelings. I don’t feel surprised or overwhelmed by them.
And that is a true gift.
I’ve been searching for something out there,
sometimes catching a whiff of its fragrance
in the wind.
It would render me melancholy
to sense it but experience it
so far away,
when my heart longed for this thing
I could not know.
Sometimes it was a rush of cold air
into my nostrils
as I stepped from my grandmother’s house
into the winter night
and I’d search for the star
in the dark blue sky
that told me the light
was returning soon.
For the longest time
I feared the magic and suppressed it
much to my heart’s dismay.
The whole world seemed cold and dark
and I was trapped in a prison
of my own making.
Spirit came to rattle me out of my cage
and throw me into the light of day.
Such a fool I was,
resisting a project of God’s hand.
How can I stop the ocean from surging?
How can I move the sun in the sky?
How can I make the moon glow brightly?
How can I give the gift of new life?
I only experience these things
because consciousness pours through me.
Who made this consciousness,
the perceiver and the perceived?
My body speaks clearly.
Its language is believed.
I trust the longing in me now.
The magic in me swells alive within.
I open the door to the cold and dark everywhere
and catch its beloved fragrance on the wind.
Help us, God,
help us to let go
and surrender into
Help this one,
this control freak,
she has no control.
Let her breathe and relax.
Help this one,
that he will one day die.
Let him stop and be with his family.
Help this beautiful child
recognize her greatness
and help this precious one
value his many gifts.
Give us strength to become
all we were born to be.
Make us all new in your love.
Show us how to trust in you and your ways.
We’re tired of trying so hard
to figure this out.
We just want to know your rhythm,
your melody and harmony,
your accompaniment, chorus,
verse and refrain.
Thank you God
for helping us…again.
I wonder if you ever really loved me.
Why am I sad to see you go?
They say that shame can’t live
when it’s spoken.
Why in the speaking
do I feel so ashamed?
After this time,
the very idea of sleeping with
someone other than my husband
is utterly absurd
he has already slept with another woman.
My husband, the man who was mine,
gave a part of himself away to someone else,
a part that was reserved only for me,
and he shall never be with me in that way again.
I think again about forgiveness,
the years I was told I wasn’t enough,
I didn’t contribute,
I wasn’t a partner.
Two beautiful children
look up at us with wide eyes.
My contribution speaks for itself.
And then I realized
this suffering isn’t
some nuisance to be tolerated…
it’s an opportunity
to dive deep within myself
and learn something.
It’s a chance to trust
that what I’ve been given
is what I’m meant to have
and as I shift inside
I’ll see the shifts on the outside too.
It’s a confrontation
with the old, outworn stories,
a chance to rewrite the narrative
into something deeper,
something more beautiful,
more meaningful than before.
And I turn to my higher power,
Let this be an initiation
into profound understanding.
Let this be a signpost
that I’ve moved into a territory
of authentic feeling.
Facing what arises,
loving what I cannot yet understand,
faithful that whatever brought me here
won’t leave me here to die…
Awakening to what is
and who I am,
seeing the truth of my deepest Self.