Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Guardian Angels

The light turned green and I proceeded into the intersection. As I got half way through, a small voice, but very loud, said "slow down". I did as instructed. Within one hundredth of a second, a Honda Accord came flying through the intersection, through the red light, feet from hitting my driver's side of the car. I saw that she had her hand covering her mouth, eyes wide open in a terrified recognition of what she had done as she did it. I then proceeded calmly to work.

I was overcome with the reminder that I am protected, have been protected and continue to be protected by unseen forces that have been with me from the beginning. Time after time, far too numerous to mention here, I have been saved from catastrophic accidents, smaller incidents, internal fears and dialogues, and on and on. I wandered across the campus to the staff lounge, looking into the faces of the people I see everyday. They had no idea what I had just been saved from. I laughed at the remarkable irony of being alive. I was awestruck with wonder at how quickly life can be taken from us and how all of us take for granted that we have it. What arrogance! I am so grateful to be alive to write these words. Life is a gift that God didn't want back today.

Words that hide

I love words. I love their taste, their texture, their extraordinary ability to protect me. When I say me, I refer to the ego concocted frequency I present to the world in order to lubricate my smoothness that shows you I'm Fine. That's what it's all about really, being fine. I'm so fine that I have wrapped in the Shroud of Turin my soul. Kept it locked away behind a veil of victimhood and deadened settling. So I build up an eloquence and a veracity that keeps you from seeing that, really when all is said and done, I WANT MY MOMMY!

And it appears that I will want my mommy till I'm dead. I keep that side of me pretty well hidden. Right behind the bitter bar at the corner. I get tremendous strength from holding onto that wound. I keep putting gauze on top of it while cutting it open again and again and saying I'm healed. See, I never had chocolate donuts as a kid and no matter how many you feed me I still will never have had enough. I mean enough then. Maybe if I did then I would be really following my dreams and not let fear and disgust stop me from forgiving myself and others. Don't let go of that old hope though Tony, otherwise you might just step into your dharma.

I want to heal, but do I really? It would probably be all the more powerful if I simply admitted that I don't want to heal and nah nah nah nah nah. Then some things may start to really move in my life. But it's the lie that I desire healing that really cuts through the mess. To see the lie is enormous progress. To accept slovenliness and littleness for what it is. Reductio ad absurdum. I have found that it is through the darkness not the light that I come to awareness. Playing small really doesn't serve anyone at all here. Except my non-donut eating bitter boy. And he still scrounging around in the corner looking for crumbs.

It's all biodegradable anywhoo.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

It Doesn't Interest Me!

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking the fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your sorrow, if you have been opened up by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can betray another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not a pretty day, and if you can source your life from God's presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver light of the moon, "Yes!"
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn't matter who you are, or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
---Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Lost Children

As ususual, I find myself working with difficult people again at work. Those of you who might be reading this and are those difficult people, my apologies. This is not about your being difficult but about my continued attempts at cultivating compassion. Since the act of compassion stems from Maitri (loving kindness towards oneself) one can assume that the key to love and understanding towards our fellows really does start with a deeper love towards ourselves. Not self-love, the love of the ego, but kindness and forgiveness and gentleness towards ourselves. This is not so easy however.

When we deal with human beings in work situations, or any relationship situation most likely, we are forced to come to terms with every aspect of our own insecurities. Particularly if we are in a chaotic, negatively addicted drama like work. Unconciously, or not, we can activate latent feelings that we didn't even know we had. Certain people automatically remind us of others we don't like. Others may not like us for the same reason. If you happen to be a people pleaser like myself this can be very challenging. Peoples behavior, most of the time, simply has absolutely nothing to do with us at all. We may be the recipient of other's acting out behavior, but we need to remember that we ourselves may not be the catalyst whatsoever. But it still brings up our shit.

So today I started a brief new assignment for a few off-track weeks. I am dealing with a difficult personality. One that pushes my buttons and brings up my crud. I find myself getting my hackles up right quick. I practice restraint of pen and tongue (pen-ta-tonic: that's writing and then picking up a drink). I notice my contraction affects them. Then there is the insanity of the room itself and the energy involved in all of it's glory. I get mad and develop judgements. Most of them harsh.

Here's what I do:

I see that individual alone in a hospital room riddled with cancer, I see them alone in their apartment worrying about their children, I see them having to put an animal to sleep, I see them being jilted, I see them as a child crying for their lost parent, I see them crying out to God to help them get through another day of life, to give them hope, to bring meaning to their lives. I see them. I see myself.

I tend not to strike out so quickly when I do.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Here we are again.

You turn around one more time and there you are again. Right back to where you started. As far away as you might think you've gone you still come right back to you. Oh boy. Where you gonna go next? There is no escape, huh? There is only letting go right into you. I gotta be me. But I love the negative drama of running away and pretending that I'm not who I think I am. This is never more clear than when you face the contraction of yourself due to fear caused by a hundred different phantoms. It can happen at a glance. Even a stranger's disapproval can set me into a shame spiral. Or the opposite. A beautiful woman's smile can make me feel like Ulysses. But both states are incredibly fleeting as they rely on an external identity to support my well being. Moving in a sea of egoistic paranoia is not so easy. I have no idea what other people are perceiving when they experience me at all. In fact, I don't think they do either. We are in a collective illusion, the nature of which is being fed by a ravenous false self that is set on ruling all living things. It is a disease. Most of this, of course, lives in my mind, in my thoughts. There is no there there. There is my processing, my reactions, my part, my living beingness. Once I energize the canvas of Maya it is very hard to realize that I'm playing a very dangerous game. By observation of my tendencies, by seeing how my mind judges each event as well as my own thoughts about it, I begin a transmutation of limited perception. I move through a dimensional doorway to unity with all that is. My world changes radically and what was once adverserial becomes brotherly. We create the world we see. We are doing it at all times only we don't know it and certainly don't want to admit we have that power of perception. Our attitude is everything.