The 40 Days and 40 Nights of A Course of Love.
What a wild ride.
I had the most extraordinary experience wherein I felt an old, old scar: I had almost forgotten about it altogether. It must have happened about 17 years ago, because I was pregnant with my second child and waiting in my car (engine running) for my friend’s mom, who was in town visiting her son, my friend’s brother. The road had a clear “no parking” sign, but I was standing, not parking, and could easily get out of the way if needed. A parking attendant pulled up behind me and just waited.
I don’t recall the exact order of events now, but at some point I decided I needed to go explain the situation to the parking attendant, and ask if he could direct me. I tried to get out of my car, but it was still in drive and started rolling off as I was trying to get out! I put it in park, then approached the attendant to explain my situation and see what he would recommend. He started writing out a parking ticket before I even got to his little car.
All the rage (I was standing, not parking; the only reason I parked was to speak with the attendant!) and indignation (he was just waiting for me to park so he could write me at ticket) and guilt (how could I be so stupid) came back. Washed in this cocktail of negativity, it somehow dawned on me that I was recreating the experience IN THE PRESENT. It follwed then that what was needed was to accept it IN THE PRESENT. To offer forgiveness, not in the past, but IN THE PRESENT. I didn’t need to go back and resolve any of it, or change any of it. I simply needed to accept my feelings IN THE PRESENT with love. All of these were “thoughts I did not think”, as ACOL puts it, and as I followed them, I felt this incredible wave of relief and release.
A whole flood of old scars suddenly seemed to follow, one after another as if they were a magician’s rainbow handkerchief they came out into this space of acceptance I had created, and as they did, I examined each one in the light of this new consciousness, and found they had lost any ability to hurt me. I just felt intense love for myself and for all involved. I felt weightless!
So I have tried to bring that sense of acceptance forward with me, and it seems that many things are more quickly healed – almost as soon as they arise – and more importantly a lot of old stories have lost their power over me.
I have been reading Thich Nhat Hahn’s beautiful No Mud, No Lotus recently, along with the 40 Days and 40 Nights. Yesterday morning, I was particularly focused on what he calls “recognizing the conditions for happiness that are already present”, and on my drive into work I found that this practice seemed to lift me into a state of ecstatic being. The color of the light on the trees – always a source of great joy for me – seemed especially warm and bright; the other drivers on the road were wrapped with me in a fabric of love that seemed to support our travelling in ways that were complementary and harmonious; I truly felt as if I were wrapped in THE Embrace.
As soon as I walked into my place of employment, I felt as if I were somehow being cut off from that energy. I mindfully called it back to me and experienced many bright moments during the rest of the day, but by the end of the day I was drained and discouraged.
Sustainability seems so far beyond me, and having been THERE in the embrace, and the to find myself cut off from it again…I just wanted to cry.
I feel like my descent from the mountaintop has been rough! Yesterday morning I was basking in the sun on top of the mountain, and then as I began my descent I was wrapped in the clammy cold clouds that obscure the mountaintop still, and felt cold and lost. Sometime this morning, still wandering in the clouds, I walked off a high ledge into a precipitous drop, and now I am sitting well below the cloud cover, badly wounded. I am unable even to stand, much less resume my descent.
I am trying to simply be present to what I am feeling, but lots of ugly things are playing with my mind. Mostly it’s bills I can’t pay and job searches – mine and my sweetheart’s – that seem to be going nowhere; also, there is really heavy energy at work that is sapping my joy. Every frustration seems amplified. It feels like the perfect opposite to the transcendent joy I experienced just yesterday morning.
I want off this ride.
Breathing in and out, I am aware of my breath…of how easily I breathe, without pain. I am aware of my feelings and I hold them tenderly but with strength, remothering my own self. Grateful beyond words for this space…for those who even before they read this…even before I type these words…are supporting me with the energy of Love. Receiving this gift and letting the tantrum spend itself…holding my self with love as exhausted by my own tears I fall asleep.