Some days are so bright–filled with beautiful moments, touching words, joy, fun, ease, miracles and magic. Other days seem dim–filled with the mind’s suffering, complaining, aversion, resistance, self-pity, wanting and fearing.
Just yesterday I was dressed up as a pirate with Harrison to celebrate our birthdays.– With bandanas on our heads and moustaches and beards painted on, we played and danced and walked saying “Rrrrr…” to people on the street. Smiling, laughing, engaged in the moment. Feeling strong, feeling happy, feeling good. I read this story to him, “Bunjitsu Bunny”. We read the Chapter called, “Oh, thank you!” There’s Jack Rabbit who wants to fight the bunny but the bunny is not interested. So Jack Rabbit tries to provoke him. “Your ears are too long!” he says. Bunjisu Bunny says–Oh, thank you! and walks away. Jack Rabbit in frustration says, “I wasn’t being nice!” Jack Rabbit tries again and again to get a rise out of the bunny–“Your feet are too big!” Bunjitsu Bunny says–Oh, thank you! and walks away. Jack Rabbit exclaims, “I wasn’t being nice!” Finally Jack Rabbit finds he can only say nice things to Bunjitsu and they become friends. I laughed at this story until tears came to my eyes. What an amazing lesson in such a simple tale. A lesson that I have been learning over and over for the last couple of years. How to not take things personally. How to be humble. How to detach.
Today, there was just a stream of mind chatter and I felt unconnected to the reality that was right in front of me. I notice the suffering. It goes on. It stops for a while. Then comes back. I cook. I say positive affirmations. I feel like giving up. Why am I allowing this to go on and on!? The same negativity that I’ve heard a thousand times! I feel like a failure. And then I feel guilty and depressed for letting this suffering take over me for a good part of a day. A precious day. A day that is unrepeatable. I could have used this day to do so much more! I could have enjoyed myself, learned, laughed, loved, surrendered. Not sure if I want to scream or cry but tears don’t seem to come. I give myself some compassion and acceptance. I say, “I love you, I trust you” to myself in the mirror. I breathe. I tell myself that I am exactly where I need to be, that these lessons will help me in the next chapter of my life. I start feeling like I am almost back in the present. I am determined to keep going no matter what! I sense some patience. And now I write. How to get out of this loop. How to make tomorrow different. Better. How to take my power back and start doing things that fill me up. How to begin a new; have a fresh perspective on things. How to cultivate more joy, more love, more peace.
I read that transitions are a time of unrest, discomfort and questioning. That sums up what I am experiencing pretty well. There’s a restless feeling, like I need to be doing something else but not sure exactly how I can get there from where I am now. Discomfort at the unknowing, the uncertainty, the fear of failure. Questioning what my purpose is, how I can serve this world, using my natural gifts and talents.
I suppose I haven’t been writing posts because I would have to admit to this pain. But perhaps just admitting it has power, has healing. I am in transition. Well, yes we are always in transition, that’s true. I do believe, though, that we all have periods in our lives when things feel less settled than at other times. How to surrender to this process. How to trust that I’ll be able to find my way again. How to believe that everything is really going to be okay.
Embracing Each Moment. That was the title of the book I won as a door prize at my sangha’s gathering. Stop trying to steer and control, Donna. Let go. Embrace the Moment. That’s all you have anyway. Open your heart. Let go some more. Be grateful. Trust.
I am reminded of Karen’s talk on the FLOOD OF BECOMING. It is the suffering that arises out of the illusions of time and identity. I was someone in the past. I am someone now and I will become someone in the future. The truth is that it’s all happening NOW. Nothing ever happens in the past or future. And as for an identity in the present, well that falls away too when we realize that everything is constantly changing. That whatever mind state I am in now will pass. The flood of becoming comes with wanting and fearing. I want to become someone, gain a certain status, feel fulfilled, earn more money, be more independent. It’s a craving like any other. A desire to be more than I am right now. The belief that who I am right now is not enough. That I am some how lacking, insufficient, inadequate. And there’s the fearing. I fear that I won’t develop into the person I want to be. I fear feeling stuck, not making progress, not living up to my potential. But potential only exists in the future. Instead of trying to “become” someone who is more empowered, connected, loving, compassionate and authentic, I can choose how I want to be today. I can choose words and actions today that are honest, kind and wise. I can choose to have patience and resolve. I can choose to use my energy to move me closer to my goals (without attaching to the outcome).
This is what I need to keep reminding myself. My POWER is in the PRESENT! As much as my ego would like me to believe that if I just complain and analyze enough in my head that I will escape the suffering, really the only thing I can do is BE WITH whatever I am experiencing instead of trying to push it away with a flood of thinking. To sit with wanting and fear is not easy. That is why I tend to flee to the false refuge of feeling sorry for myself or trying to figure things out. I know that the only real way out of suffering is to feel the deeper pain. The pain of feeling powerless. The pain confusion.
I also know that the more I can connect to what I am really feeling, the more I can experience JOY. I’ve especially been aware of these moments of miracles and magic lately. In fact, I’ve been keeping a “Journal of Joy”. I make notes on the times in my day that seemed to be particularly bright. I’ve been noticing that most of these moments involve a combination of beauty, wonder, connection, love, compassion, encouragement and just the mystery of being human on this amazing planet we call earth. Laughter, shared tears, nature, an insight, an expression of love or care, synchronicity, total engagement, perfect timing, pleasant surprises, an honest conversation, a positive vibe, a moment of peace and quiet, a warm hug, a friendly smile, inspiration, spreading joy.
I realize that none of these moments of joy has anything to do with my ego desires of control, power over, success, status, money, material things. The trance of becoming is seductive, especially in our culture where we are taught to always be getting better and producing more. Our identities are tied to how much we have, how much we earn and how successful we appear, how skilled we are at something or how good we look. It’s no wonder I have been caught up in reacting to what I perceive to be criticism. I can feel my ego piping up with– Why couldn’t you be more encouraging?! Don’t tell me how to do it! I can do it myself! Let me do it my way!–rather than simply saying, “Oh, thank you!” like Bunjitsu Bunny. I always have the power to take what I want and leave the rest.
Well, it’s been a long post and I feel I have clarified some things for myself. Maybe if you are reading this, something will ring true for you. Remember you, too, can take what you want and leave the rest! The buddha said this as well. Our power is in the present for it is in the present that we can make wise choices. It is in the present that we can see beyond the walls that our ego has built up. This is the practice–to open up to whatever is here, be it pleasant or unpleasant. Open up and be FREE!!!