"Without the human world, "heaven" or the spiritual life is just a dream. And without heaven or spirituality, the human world is a nightmare. The two hold each other in balance. This is the middle way. Not getting stuck in a dream, not getting stuck in a nightmare, but fully and completely waking up right at the zero point where the two meet -- dream and nightmare, pray and play, pleasure and worship, Friday night fucking and Sunday morning sacraments."
~ Shozan Jack Haubner, Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk
No one steps onto their mat and executes perfect advanced asana on day one. No one expects them to. We show up, meet ourselves where we're at, and we work on the basics until our bodies slowly start to change. The progress takes years and is literally never-ending. As yogis, we accept and embrace this.
Why, then, is it so much harder to hold space for our internal processes? When we identify our areas inside needing work, sometimes we expect the change to come simultaneously with that awareness. Usually, though, it takes time. Infinite moments of awareness compounding. There are always mistakes. We lapse into unconsciousness and old, repetitive habits and patterns. We are often hardest on ourselves in these moments, forgetting that we are attempting centuries worth of deconditioning and expecting it to take place overnight. Over a meditation. Over a ceremony or two. Over a well-intentioned practice. Over a full moon. We get frustrated and even feel guilty when it doesn't.
I invite you then, to be gentle on yourself instead. Be patient. Be quiet. Keep holding the space, right now. Realize that awareness isn't a magic wand of pheonix feather and elder. It's a tiny seed that needs nurturing, a tiny spark that needs tended. One day, it will flower. One day, it will burn. Maybe that's today, or maybe that's 100 lifetimes from now. Change takes time -- sometimes a lot of it. And that's okay, because time doesn't really exist anyway, right? Just do your work.
Almost four months after starting this little baby from a seed, I woke up today to my first fully ripened, backyard garden serrano pepper! So stoked! Good thing my dad is here, because I'm pretty sure it's going to be too hot for me to eat... #happysaturday#garden#eatyourveggies#thankspachamama
The thing we need to work on surfaces again and again and again, first to wake us up to it should we choose to see and acknowledge it, and then after awareness, it surfaces again and again and again (again) to give us the opportunities needed for us to work. When we work, though we'll sometimes fall into old unconscious patterns, sure, we can learn to choose to repetitively release until whatever it is ceases to control us. The only way out is through. It now seems so clear: Sit with your discomfort, your pain, your temptations, your fears. Work with them until they no longer control you. Surrender. The more you practice, the eaiser it becomes. Your comfort zone expands. Your knowledge expands. Your you-ness expands to encompass everything.
Let gratitude permeate. Let it reach every hidden depth within you. Feel it when you breathe it in. Let it fill your space and spill out onto everything. Everyone.
This is a picture of me on my 30th birthday. It was taken minutes after finishing an invigorating conversation and martini infused fresh sushi dinner with my sister and minutes before a tear and laughter-inducing four-part surprise as my family and friends arrived from near (Fort Lauderdale) and far (Detroit). The love that permeated downtown Delray Beach in those moments and in the weekend that followed was a shining sample from one of the most love and gratitude-filled seasons of my life. It required that I reflect on the last few months: The natural destruction that I unknowingly dodged by moving back to the mainland early. The sister and brother-in-law waiting with open arms (and an open bedroom) when I needed somewhere to call home. The spontaneous, smile and make-up-filled trip to California in October with my literal life-long friends. The trip back to MI for my grandmother's 90th birthday, watching her graciously accept hugs from the over 100 people surrounding her. The 19 family members and friends that kept their plane tickets and came down to FL in November to eat, drink, and paddleboard, giving me a whole new understanding of the Thanksgiving holiday. The open invitation to freeze to death over NYE, while skiing in the breathtaking White Mountains of NH and forming what I know will be lasting bonds of friendship with two generations of my godfather's family. And then my birthday... I won't attempt to portray the time that has passed as not containing tears, denial, frustration, rage, and misunderstanding. Believe you, me, it has. But I would be an absolute goddamn fool to overlook the beauty. An absolute goddamn fool to not be aware, and beyond that, humbled on my knees grateful for the love that surrounds me in each and every moment. Each and every now. (Almost done, read comments...)