During my recent foray into darkness, I took online courses with spiritual teachers whose work and contributions consistently stretch my perspective. Their wisdom and generosity put me back on track with my own practice. I was drawn to people who were on their own conscious journey and automatically detached from those who clouded my view. This was not a premeditated act where I thought of every person in my life and chose who I could continue to see, but there was a shift in me. If a name came up, I noticed myself reacting, sometimes rather strongly: yay or nay. I just went with it. Events showed me a different way. I dusted off particles that had dulled my shine. I came out of this time vibrating at a different frequency.
I am travelling again.
I sit here in my teenie-weenie hotel room and try to trace the threads of life that brought me to this physical space, right at this moment. This time last year, I was closing a chapter in my life I did not think would end. The year before, my life was coasting along, with barely a hint of the tremors to come. Since then I have been on multiple airplane rides and just as many emotional upheavals.
They have been everywhere for me lately.
A few weeks ago, she came in the form of a heartfelt text message from a friend I hardly see. Her message said, “I’m feeling you, sister. Is everything ok?” She was an unexpected life raft that day and she didn’t even know it. We decided it was time to make good on our constant “lets-get-togethers”. She chose a nice place to eat and made me laugh. We had a great time connecting and hugged each other with much appreciation when we parted.
What is it they say about being tested the minute we commit to living out of our spiritual convictions?
Well, I have been committing to many lately, so I suppose I was due. Just when I published a post about finding grace where I am, I had an encounter with a well-meaning friend who chatted with me about the changes in my life, asked pointed questions, listened well, and then mindlessly said he was now adjusting his view of me. He actually made gestures with his hands going diagonally down from an invisible pedestal. I could only be thankful I was never actually on it.
Weekends. When the rest of the world is out doing, I am home being.
I say a prayer upon rising then amble down to the kitchen to make my coffee concoction. I smile at all the jars of extra nutrition I put into it, amused at the potion it has become. More often than not a wistful memory surfaces around this ritual. I let it come. On other days, I am inclined to discipline myself about certain emotions that sometimes threaten to rule. But on weekends, we have the luxury of sitting together until I can send them gently on their way. Then I throw open the doors and windows, welcome air and light into my home, feeling every part of me finally waking up. I sit on the lanai chair that gives me the best view of my garden and sip my morning elixir. Already I am in a space of gratitude for this home and life I am so very fortunate to have. I walk barefoot on the grass and stand in the middle of my space on this earth. I take in the ground beneath me, receive the sky above me and feel myself right at the center of their generosity.
My previous post earned a conversation with a concerned friend who thought I might be clinically depressed or suffering from concealed depression (aha, a brand new disease !). Like I said in the post, I am not prone to depression, but this does not mean I have not felt despair, sadness and grief. I have. I am somewhere in that well now, but slowly finding my way back to the surface.
Now, I know myself, but I also like to guard against denial. I went online after we hung up and read several articles on depression, even took a few quizzes, enough to confirm what I already know: I’m just sad, and I know it’s something that comes with my life experiences of late. If I went into detail, you would agree that it is a very sad time, indeed.
I have been underwater lately; it has been a year of tough lessons and unexpected reckoning. I am not prone to depression, not one to wallow, but these days levity and laughter are elsewhere. Humor has always been my fall back, reliable beacon, my go-to-light at the end of all of life’s tunnels. But not this time. Still, I refuse to accept it has abandoned me.
On a morning when I could barely keep my head above water, I noticed a family of three walking–sisters and their father. As my car passed them, he flashed a smile at my tinted window. He didn’t mean to, I think; It was already there. It was relaxed, content, full of quiet joy.
A short distance later I saw a boy of about four aiming his face at the breeze just beyond the family car window. On him I saw radiant joy and certainty, as if he knew it would always be his.
Joy. It is everywhere. There will be moments when it will elude you, when you will feel it has left, but on that day I learned the next best thing–to look outside and find it there. For now it is outside you, and it is enough to know it is within reach.
I recently had a talk with my godson about marriage. His friends seem to be diving in, left and right, and he’s having to fly to different places to attend weddings and christenings. Part of him was feeling a little odd being one of two in his group who is still single, but it was clear he had many questions about the institution. I told him I had as many and feel marriage to be painfully outdated given our present context.
We are different human beings today, evolving towards becoming more and more ourselves (hopefully), so more and more marriages are ending up torn and frayed, if not completely shattered. Religion certainly has not helped in this area. There is much talk about fidelity, forever, sin, morality, God, but not much about the necessary and spiritual evolution of the self, and how this can happen authentically within the same space. Isn’t this what marriage can be–a conscious spiritual endeavour, the nurturing of shared space that allows each individual freedom and self-actualization over time, the recognition and honoring of each other’s essence, learning to love in truth, first ourselves and then another? I move towards these points each time I think about marriage and all its possibilities.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with mine. I am an introvert, so this is portentous. I seek them out, listen to their often hilarious but wise counsel, and mostly fill myself with abundant gratitude for who they are and all they mean to me.
On a birthday that veered towards abject sadness, they rallied. We buried our hands in clay and made imperfect pottery, all the while making fun of the beautiful mess of our lives. We tormented our teacher with endless inappropriate remarks, laughed even more, sang while we kneaded, and held each other’s stories close. We shared a meal and snickered as the waiters slunk away from our vehement fun.
Shortly after, still on the birthday theme, I travelled with two of them–something I haven’t done since my early twenties. I had the best time chatting, exploring, getting lost, eating with joy and gusto, having our faces made up by strangers who did their best with what we had; We are in our late forties after all. But we laughed even through that and invented jokes about the many undiscovered (until now) uses of our most reliable concealer, all the while acknowledging — if not finding ways to humor — the heartbreak in the room. I chat with these two nearly everyday. We are never far away from each other.
I’ve been very quiet since Yolanda and going through a sort of crisis. There was so much to do and such incredible noise around it. All of a sudden volunteerism became all about selfies and narcissistic posts. I just couldn’t get into the culture. And that made me look twice at the stuff I write and wonder if there was still space for it in today’s obsession with lists, quizzes, travel posts, witty one-liners and other “look how clever I am” entries. I rebel at the thought of having to post and promote my own writing. Then D. said just this morning, “But how else will you do it today ?”.
I honestly don’t know.