She keeps striking out in the darkness,
but there is no one there to fight.
The shadows dance and slip away,
and she is exhausted to her very soul,
sparring with aggressors that don’t exist.
How to be successful in battle
when the one she fights
is on the inside?
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.
Are you he,
the one who procreated with me
and then left,
blaming me for everything?
Or are you one of his minions,
currying favor with him,
by feeding the thought
that I’m the crazy one?
don’t you have anything better to do,
than to scour the internet
looking for proof
that his lies about me are true?
I am a woman
making my way back on my feet
after a devastating loss.
Are you his new victim?
Do you believe the story that he loves you?
He told me he loved me once.
But when all was said and done,
it was easier to blame me for his pain
than to man up and work on himself.
You can troll all you want.
He can say that I am “whining” online.
But I will not stop speaking my truth.
And someday you might discover
that the things you criticize in me
are the disowned places in you
crying out for your loving attention.
When you feel ready to access those places,
you’ll stop pointing your finger at others
and go in the only real direction
that you haven’t yet explored…
Yesterday in a text message my ex-husband accused me of “whining online.” If you look at my post yesterday, you’ll see I talked about some challenges I’m currently going through: his underpayment of court-ordered support and the subsequent need to take legal action, as well as my need to secure new health insurance. Admittedly I was a bit startled when he referenced my online activity—choosing words that confirmed he had read my post—because it got me thinking that he or someone else is trolling this blog, stirring up adversity and feeding the story that there is something wrong with me. I speak this out into space, because I’m discovering more and more that abuse and shame can’t exist out in the open. Our secrets make us sick, and I won’t keep it a secret that the man I once loved is deciding to take liberties with the agreement he signed his name on, and justifying withholding funds from court-ordered support for me and his children with his twisted logic. I speak this out in the open, because unfortunately, underpayment or no payment of child support is the norm in our society, and those who have a legal responsibility to provide support to their children and former partners somehow manage to dodge the law and dodge the consequences that the law would mete out if they were caught in a timely fashion. I speak this out because I want this trend to change. I realize that if it has been this awful for me—coming from relative privilege (education, resources, community, job)—how must it be for the population of underprivileged single moms out there who don’t have access to the same resources? Finally, my words are my power. By speaking my truth I know who I am. I will not back down. I plan on fighting a good fight, for myself and all moms everywhere who struggle to know what their future will hold in a time of such volatility and uncertainty.
And to you trolls out there, whether you are he himself, or his new intimate victim, or one of his “friends,” keep reading. Enjoy my posts. Have fun. May you be safe, happy, healthy, peaceful and at ease. And may the pure light of awareness shine upon you and lead you to the realization that what you do to another you do to yourself, so that you can begin helping instead of continuing to hurt. When you feed a story like this, it helps no one. I stand with my hand stretched out in friendship, and you can take it at any time. The choice is yours.
There will be pain as well as pleasure,
else how would we know pleasure?
there will be sorrow as well as joy,
else how would we know joy?
And the ups and the downs,
and the victories and the defeats,
and the successes and the failures–
how would we know anything well
if we did not also know its opposite?
The trick is to let go into the uncertainty,
to embrace it,
to become familiar and comfortable
with the feeling
of standing right by the abyss,
not sure which way to go.
To not need life to be a certain way
in order to be happy
is true happiness.
To forge a path
through the very real experiences
of this human existence,
to walk right through them,
to breathe right through them,
to learn from them,
to connect with them…
to gain compassion for those
going through the same experiences as you–
this is the warrior’s path.
Do not ask for a remote control
as you observe
this movie that is your life
so that you can pause in the moments
where everything is going right.
Anything stuck in one place
grows stagnant and stale.
And this is the beauty of life–
like the rivers and oceans
like the sun and the moon
like the seasons
and the cycles of birth and death and rebirth–
it never stops.
There comes a point on the warrior path
when it finally just makes sense
to be kind to yourself.
After years of
believing that you’re not good enough,
years of telling yourself
that you’ll never get it right,
one day you stop
and discover that it’s possible
to be a friend to yourself.
You realize that the kindness
and the friendliness
that you extend to others
will only be partially authentic
until you’re extending friendliness
and kindness to yourself.
The warrior’s path
leads to the jewel of compassion.
The jewel of compassion
resides in your own heart.
Tear down the cage
and the walls you built
around your tender heart,
and let yourself see yourself
just as you are.
And like a good friend
whom you’ve known for many years,
let yourself see all your faults
and love yourself anyway.
I promise you that when you allow yourself to truly experience the rawness of your emotions, a whole new way of seeing the world, of experiencing love and compassion, will be revealed to you.
We shut down
because it seems too painful
to stay open…
but this is why it’s called
the Warrior’s Path.
It takes the strength and courage
of a well-trained warrior
to search for deeper meaning
and to stay open to the answers
in the midst of the challenges
of daily life.
we aren’t expected to be masters,
not right away at least.
When we start,
we are very much like babies,
and we need someone to pick us up
and place us in the cradle of lovingkindness.
Dear little tantruming baby,
will you let yourself be held?
At some point
on this path of the spiritual warrior
to confront our fear.
It is inevitable.
We invest so much energy
in that which we fear,
and we fear that which
we don’t understand.
Our limited understanding
translates into limitless
reasons to be afraid.
we can seek to understand more,
and stay curious about
what we don’t know,
vowing to be a student of life,
We feel anxious over
that which we can’t anticipate.
And truly, we can’t be sure of any
We can’t anticipate anything
and this makes us terrified
for what might come.
Our fears keep us
in a prison
where there is no light
to see what we already have
all around us…
But we don’t have to stay in prison.
We can stand up to the fear,
look at it right in its eyes.
It will shrink back into
the nothingness from
whence it came.
The door is open.
Step through into the light of day.
There is no reason to be afraid.
Look around, and appreciate
this life that is yours.
You are a warrior bodhisattva
You are awakening right now
for the benefit of all beings.
Your thoughts, words, and actions
are in alignment with your aspiration
to be a force of positivity in this world.
Now be friendly with yourself.
All this good work you do,
let yourself be satisfied for one moment,
happy to just become still, quiet,
Warriors need rest too.
We can’t start anywhere else
so may as well start
right where we are.
Don’t wait to be a better person.
What is that anyway?
A warrior trains with what is here.
This life of awakening gives us what we need
to learn, to grow, to expand,
to be more present
in our own clear, tender heart space.
Past and future are illusion.
We only have this one blessed moment.
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.