Gifts and Sorrows

His Holiness the Dalai Lama suggested this excellent exercise (paraphrased through my mind):

Picture yourself sitting in a line of other sitting humans that stretches out as far as you can see to your left and to your right. Now bring to your consciousness a sorrow or burden you feel.

Imagine yourself looking to your right. Imagine that all of the people in that direction have more resources and an easier time with their sorrows and burdens. Maybe they have fewer problems, more or better friends, they are more clever, and they have abundant access to whatever they need to ease their suffering. Imagine they suffer less that you.

Now imagine yourself looking to the left. All of the people in this direction have it worse than you. They are carrying burdens and disabilities that are more challenging than yours. They have fewer resources to draw upon to meet those challenges. Imagine they suffer more than you.

And now bring your consciousness back to yourself and check in again on your gifts and sorrows in this moment.

I have found that exercise to be quite useful. And now I realize that I prefer circles to lines. I love the small circles of family and tribe. I participate in many gatherings where we form circles for celebration and communication.

So now I’m picturing, curling that nearly infinite line of sitting humans to my left and to my right into a circle, and this meditation becomes quite powerful.

I am an equal part of the circle.

As I become aware of my tribe mates,

I am aware that each has gifts and sorrows greater than my own. And that I have gifts and sorrows greater than theirs.

In this moment, which is all there is.

Perhaps we can be useful to each other’s sorrows with our gifts.

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On being in the Middle

It’s okay to be
part way there;
to cry while I make love with you;
to still use words
where touch belongs;
to feel sensations for which
I do not yet have words.

It’s okay to melt
lovingly into your embrace,
while I use one hand
to hold reverence
for my own fear of abandonment,
and another to cradle my desire
to not become trapped.
We are always right
in the middle of the beginning.

Each day I begin
to follow this thread
that weaves seamlessly in and out
of your soul and mine,
to feel how it spans between
pleasure and purpose,
safety and freedom.

I allow myself the space
to stand naked
in a puddle of love,
to stomp my boots impetuously
as I laugh at the absurdity
of it all.

Love note from my future partner (NOT a short story)

She’s been “leaving” me for years (it’s not really leaving, it’s more like minding the gap that is required to keep our spark moving). In the beginning, I found it heart wrenching, but now I just know it is part of how I am here to love her. It’s not my favorite part of our relationship, but I’m just resilient and persistent enough to let her go, and each time, trust a deeper knowing, that we aren’t done.

This leaving habit of hers pre-dates me. In her early relationships, she stayed in the house, but left the premises emotionally, shutting down and cutting off the pieces of herself she couldn’t figure out to bring into the particular dimensions of the puddle of light of that relationship. I can think of no worse way to love her than to enable that.

In the beginning, it was hard. A wordsmith, she can be quite convincing when she explained that she’d reached her end with me. Even as her heart and my heart spoke differently, her exit was very convincing. Sometimes loud, worse when it was cold stone silent. For a while, it seemed erratic. Over time, I came to understand the paradox that sometimes “both” can be true – that she needed to be away, and also that she was, even in her exit, permanently and inextricably inside our togetherness.

So we have a relationship that is like swiss cheese, and whether that is judged as good or bad is my choice. It is all of one connected piece, and I can focus on that, or it is full of holes and I can focus on that. I’ve learned to now hold those holy spaces with a loving caress. When she goes away, she goes to grow, to feel her own breath, to reconnect to the quiet signal that can sometimes be hard to hear in the cacophony of our robust and gregarious life of family, tribe and community (and my noise?). What I’ve learned is, that signal inside her that is so clear and discernible to me and sometimes so elusive to her is a broad and undeniable call back to community and connection. She lives in connection, and I’m blessed to be one of her chosen connections.

I keep the light on, enjoy time with my and our other beloveds, and look forward to meeting and starting anew with her again and again, each time greeted at my open door by a partner for this next patch of life that is an upgrade from the one that just left me.

Riding the Wave

Today, I’m thinking about the wave(s) of love, the balance:

between autonomy and connection,
between stability and freedom,
between effort and surrender.

This Tedtalk by Reuben Margolin inspires today’s musings on love.

A wise woman once said she expected I’d “figure it out” in relationship (whatever IT is). So, I had a sense that deep dive into relationship could offer an opportunity for growth and then I ASKED the universe for this chance to see what it is like to be all the way “off the couch” with a partner and growing constellation of beloveds willing to do the same.  Before that, I studied for my second life: meditation, workshops, books, therapy. I selected a new life for myself with care and clear intention.

So here I am, deep in it. And I was right. I belong here. And there is an ease to noticing that when I am on the right path, the universe comes up to meet me. And also, there is still struggle. Every time we reach a new level of light, shed a few unnecessary layers, what gets exposed is excruciating, beautiful, challenging.

It’s like a wave…

We ride up, exhilarated, hands clasped together, big toothy grins. We reach the peak, look around together at the horizon, amazed by the possibilities.

Deep breath, and then comes the ride down, the natural pulling back into self for integration, passing through the baseline, noticing it is a little higher than it was last time, but still feeling the contrast with the peak.

To the bottom, where each of our egos and wounds and past lives poke up, asking to be witnessed, embraced, taken “With” for the inevitable ascent. That long pause at the bottom, with the view completely obscured, is the real invitation to faith, to awe, to gratitude. I dig in. He digs in. I reach out. He reaches out. In this low light place, we offer each other insights into what we can each feel out, like the blind men and the elephant, we share what we know, begin to form a mosaic view of the wholeness.

Which kicks off the ascent. No rushing that either, it takes its sweet time pulled by the memory we share of what it is like up there, we “pass Go,” collect our sustenance, humble ourselves to the way this game is challenging, but almost impossible without a play partner, appreciate each other’s growing skills and effort.

I don’t want anything else but to be on this journey, in this life.  This isn’t needless drama or some kind of manic cycle. This is soul work. It is right effort, and effort nonetheless. So I bow my sweaty brow, deep and low, to the mystery, invite my body to be supple and steady, to maintain balance in the movement.

Wave

Revelations

I sit swimming in words, swimming INwards
wandering wondering about love
when I check for her words
and find five notes that splay themselves
out for me to touch like waiting lovers.
Will she let me be her editor?
She has
One of learning
Two of Church and Family
Three of Motherhood
Four of Discovery and Revelation
and Five of me.
She thinks this is prose, a post,
journaling a truth to send my way
to maybe send me away.
This handsome disclaimer that she is —
Does she know that she has made me poetry?

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What is the difference between
Making love, poetry, and a prayer?

Your tongue tastes like honesty
In my mouth.

I want to meet you in that spot,
Where God comes through.

This, this is a daily practice.