Archive for ‘Enlightenment’

Surprise Package

October 25th, 2010

The world still has the ability to take my breath away, especially when I think I’ve become immune to hope or expectation or enlightenment. Not just by throwing out sights like this one, but also in revealing gaspy insights long after I thought I’d learned all there is to know about myself. Like lessons in letting go. At the same time the sun was disappearing in a last golden gush over the marsh, a giant pink moon was rising like a hot-air balloon above the tree line on the other side of the road. The world gives and it takes, sometimes in the same instant or the same event or the same love. I’ve just never been quite able to trust that if I open my hand and release what I’m holding so tightly, the world will have other gifts to offer as fine. Not replacements, but replenishments.

The Eternal Return

October 19th, 2010

Even though I know my old love is truly dead, I have a hard time accepting it in the back of my brain. Every morning when I open my email, I halfway expect a message from him, even though we never emailed, only wrote stacks of love letters on paper. It’s absurd, I know. Still–I think I’m secretly looking for signs that he’s here somewhere nearby. As if there’s an internet cafe in the afterlife where he could tap out a quick hello/I still love you. (Surely they’ve upgraded from Ouija boards by now.) In Starbucks last weekend, I was sitting on the window sill, patiently waiting for my coffee, watching couples snog in line and reminding myself that, “I’ll never walk down a street in a strange city and run into him, I’ll never have a chance to say I’m sorry, I’ll never know for sure if he ever thought of us.” Trying to grind down hope and spread the ashes. When I walked up to get my latte, there was a display of cups I’d never seen before, all imprinted with the word, REINCARNATE.  The rational, enlightened part of me knows it was just a clever way to market cups made of recycled material, but the part of me that wants to believe in magic and miracles hopes it’s a sign that we are all recycled material and we’ll mix and mingle again another day, in another time and place, in a most unexpected way.

Happy Plastic People

October 14th, 2010

This is part of the American family panorama that greets you when you walk in our local Old Navy. There was an archetypal dog too, but I couldn’t fit it in the photo. I think the mannequins are supposed to represent a NAFTA version of “It’s a Small World,” but it seemed instead just a creepy, plastic paean to outsourced crap clothing, which of course I purchased. It’s such an eerie contrast to the book I’m reading now–A Blue Fire by James Hillman–which is soaked in soul and the poetic basis of mind. Given that I have Saturn (earthbound, hard reality) and Neptune (mystical, imaginative dreamer) in my natal sign, it’s no wonder that I’m sometimes on the front lines of the war between the material world and the life of the soul–tying myself down with Stuff instead of flying with angels. Often in the past few years, I’ve felt as ossified and imprisoned as these plastiques, but I’m fascinated that at a time when I’m trying to break that mold, I was confronted with such a literal interpretation of it. There are messages everywhere we look, if we only look.

Listening for Wings

October 6th, 2010

Working at home this week has turned my house into a little cloister. I listen to music while I write, no television, very few telephone conversations, housebound except to go out for food or coffee, reading in bed by 8pm, a return to the feeling of childhood when the sheets and blankets seemed to embrace me and my body is not fretting and tense about tomorrow morning. I’m free of the usual quotidian diversions — traffic, office telephone, office conversation, filling the tank, shopping, chatting, puttering, hunting and gathering. With all of that gone, what’s left is a stillness that is sometimes like warm oil on raw spots in my soul, but sometimes leaves room for all the troubling thoughts I usually shove away in a drawer in my brain. I’m so aware of how I fill up the empty spaces in my heart with trivia and trinkets that I don’t know how I’ll return to the world and pick up where I left off. And is it possible to live in the world and not do that? I’m reading The Soul’s Code again and realizing how demythologized my daily life has become. All material, no spiritual. All shopping, no angels. All rationality, no daimons. Just Whole Foods, Glee and and a new purse, 401Ks and the 411 on Housewives. It’s ironic that I love reading mysteries, but I don’t have much mystery to sustain the life of my soul. I want all of that mundane to be mixed up with crazy wild supernatural miracles, blessings, visitations from beyond and the music of the spheres. I want to believe in magic again…is that too much to ask?

The In-Between Places

September 22nd, 2010

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”

William Blake

As you might have guessed from other posts, I’m a bit obsessed with William Blake and Jack Kerouac. I found this quote on a web site today and copied it down on the nearest scrap of paper. The feeling of being caught between those two states of being is so familiar to me. As if there is something waiting for me to know if I could only find the door and walk through it to the other side.  Yesterday, I told a friend that one of my deepest wishes is to know how to be in a relationship fully. That was hard for me to admit because I’ve done the opposite for so many years. Listening to Matt Dillon read Kerouac’s On the Road again recently, I realized that if there are 500 men in a room, I will unerringly pick out the Dean Moriarty in the bunch and make him my cross. Because it hurts so good as John Mellencamp wrote! So it’s like taking my clothes off in a public place to admit that I know how to fall in love but not how to hang on to love. Or like putting one foot on the threshold of the unknown and wondering if I’ll walk across it.


September 1st, 2010

Screening is too easy, and I don’t mean just screening calls. It’s screening the unspoken messages that you aren’t good enough or cool enough or just enough. My doctor, who I love and who is so incredibly human and humane and innovative, always asks me if I’m seeing “someone.” I’m glad he does, because he’s just keeping tabs on my social life to make sure that I  have one, that I’m not isolated or hermiting. How many docs bother? But when other people ask me that and the answer is “no,” I always feel somehow that it’s my fault. Why don’t I meet any men, why aren’t I on, what’s wrong with me?  So I’m trying to look at it from a different point of view: How great it is that my friends and acquaintances believe I’m capable of attracting a “someone.” So many things in life benefit from standing on the other side of the window and looking outside in, instead of always from the inside out.

A crazy driver almost killed me this this morning, but it was only later admiring my beautiful latte that I realized how lucky I’d been to escape with my life. And how it sometimes takes a close call to make me remember that every morning is a new leaf, a new unfolding. Anything could happen. You could have a vision, discover your spirit animal, get a message from your dead mother. The dog could learn to answer the phone. The man in the moon could be on the other end of the line. Does that sound preposterous? How much more preposterous that we rise every morning with hope, love with abandonment, make far-reaching plans, see them fail, plan again, endure with grace, dream, celebrate and play, all with the certain knowledge of our eventual extinction. How brave, beautiful and preposterous humans are.

Lighting a Fire

June 9th, 2010

From the little reading I’ve done on Ayurvedic medicine, I’m pretty sure I lean toward the kapha type and right now I need to find my fire. Lately, I sleep way too much, avoid exercise and feel generally flat and uninterested in things happening around me. My mind wants to hide from the world, while I know my body needs vigorous sweaty stretching and exercise. Given my Puritanical upbringing, I’m quick to accuse myself of laziness, but I really think my whole system — emotional and physical — is totally out of balance. I just signed up for a 30 Days of Yoga home practice to try and find my way out of this mental torpor. It requires a commitment I’m loathe to give because I’d rather stay in bed until 15 minutes before I’m due at work, or sleep the weekend away and my problems with it. My 30 days starts on Saturday. I’ve set an intention (to wake up) and a commitment (to show up), two things that are missing in my life right now. I’ll give you a progress report at some point, but what do you do to wake up your sleeping beauty?

Both Sides Now

May 16th, 2010

I’ve been extra lucky with all the flights I’ve taken the last couple of years. No horror stories, or long security lines or late arrivals or take-offs, but my trip to Seattle was fraught with glitches on the way home … delayed flight, missed connection, comical/tragical trudging from one line only to be sent to another over and over, and finally having to spend the night in a Delta flophouse hotel in Atlanta with so many in-room cautions about safety that I thought I might be in more personal danger on the ground than in the air. At one point, I wanted to kick someone’s head in after I’d been routed to the same “help” line three times, but otherwise I mostly managed to stay in a stoic stupified zen zone through the whole ordeal. And in some ways, being extra tired and beaten down helped flip my normal point of view. On the last leg of my trip I sat right behind the wing, and I had the sense of riding on the back of an angel. I’ve always thought that if angels exist, they must be gigantic, outsized Amazons, and for that hour, all my fear of flying was gone. I usually stay glued to a book during a flight, but this time looking down at the fields and woods and winding creeks and marsh and the drifting bits of cloud, the earth seemed magical and astounding again. The shadow of the plane passing over the ground below made me wonder if the shadow of divinity doesn’t pass over us daily, but our eyes are glued to work, errands, shopping, all our little time-passers and we just don’t notice.

Mirror, Mirror…

March 23rd, 2010

Doing my taxes last week forced me to face how much I spent on wants versus needs and how much I spent on personal indulgences versus personal giving. I’m not going to give up every little luxury that adds color and texture to my life, but I am going to hone the list to a few so that those few will be more meaningful and appreciated. Deciding to support a charity or community organization with regular donations forces me to turn outward instead of always gazing in the mirror at Me and My Stuff. I know I have problems with generosity of spirit, and although I can explain it by the way I was raised and the necessity at one time to barricade the doors of my heart, I can’t excuse it. Unfolding and opening sounds easy only to those who are already there. For the rest of us, it takes baby steps or maybe step-by-step reprogramming to trust that when you start to walk, someone will be there to catch you.