Judge me, please. Go ahead. By all means rest into your righteous position of all I’m doing wrong. Cause God knows I do wrong every single day. And truthfully, I mess up more times than I could ever count. And that righteous place where it’s easy to see all my shortfalls, I’ve rested into that exact place of judgement many times over. From there it’s so excruciatingly clear the choices being made by (insert anyone), are the most selfish, self centered, irresponsible, ignorant, idiotic or careless choices in the known universe. I’ve sat in that place where it’s impossible to understand, let alone imagine…. how even the most simple human couldn’t GET IT ( insert whatever IT is)!!! “Surely before long common sense must prevail?!”
….Yet, it doesn’t!
You see, for all that I’m aware of, there are countless other things I don’t know. Countless things that really matter that I completely miss. And I miss them on a daily basis. And you know what else, I’m doing my best. I keep showing up. It’s often messy, it might even be a surprise to you but I often fail to live up to my own expectations too. I lose my patience with my children, those little beings I love beyond comprehension, who are some of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had. I dodge vulnerability with my husband, that kind, wise generous man who shows up unendingly in my life. The man out of every single man on the planet I’ve chosen to bare my beautiful, bruised and often broken heart to while we do our best to serve the world together.
You see, the whole truth is that I get it wrong, again and again and again. Ignorance is certainly not a one off thing in my life.
But, my secret is not that I get it wrong. We all do that. My secret is that regardless of my mistakes and frailties, I keep showing up. Naked, foolish, often messy, yet willing. And that’s the entire secret of my life. I KEEP SHOWING UP. When I’m dragging myself over hot coals for all I’m not, I take a breath and remember kindness. I remind my self I have a lifetime, maybe many, to perfect this compassion gig. When I want to hide from the world and run away to some mystical place where life is easy, I choose patience with myself. I have to do this in a ‘one foot in front of the other’ kind of way, I often stumble, but I keep showing up. I gently tell myself this kindness tree I’m growing needs its roots to be deep into my own heart so I can share its shade with all beings. I use the judgements that arise in my mind, (and for the most part they are of myself), as a practice ground to gently usher myself back to the truth of things. And if judgements of others arise, (I realise this is almost a life or death matter), as soon as I can, I create a safe space for myself to be alone, to sit silently with that person in my mind, to listen deeply to where I hurt the most and to hold myself precious, for as long as I need to. Next, I imagine that person, and because I’ve been able to listen deeply to what I’m most scared of, somehow I find a way to listen deeply to what I imagine they are most scared of. And finally, when enough time has passed and it becomes alive, i soften and yield in the places in my tummy that Ive been holding tight. And I forgive us. Me and them. Cause I know my best looks different everyday, and undoubtedly theirs does too.
My challenge is that a long time ago, somewhere in my being, I planted a seed that at times still believes being right, means being safe or lovable or worthy. So when I’m tired or stretched or a bit more sensitive than usual I can grab for that old righteous armour and ‘try on’ being right. The sad part is that while it seems like it protects me from the hurt and sadness, it actually holds out the loving kindness and joy too.
So in roughly 3 weeks time I am going to board a plane, alone, to go to the USA to spend a few weeks in retreat and studying with my teacher. Maybe this is because I’m irresponsible, lacking foresight, self centered? It’s possible. At times I’m absolutely all these things.
And yes a part of me does feel like I am abandoning my family. To be honest it would be a lot easier to stay home and hide in the rhythms of this busy life. But as I’ve confessed, my secret is showing up. Showing up is the default switch I was somehow born with and that’s entirely what I plan to do. I plan to hire that car and drive myself to the Buddhist centre in Santa Cruz. I’m going to walk 10 minutes into the woods to sleep in that yurt surrounded by mountain lions. I’m going to leave my precious family here, alone, even though they might die of who knows what and leave me with more mother guilt than I could ever digest in 100 lifetimes, and I’m going to sit and listen to my teacher. I’m going to meditate. I’m going reflect on how to be kind, graceful, humble, forgiving. I’m going to sit in silence for one of those weeks and make friends with what ever arises. And at the end of that I’m going to spend a few days with my dear cousins husband. That precious man, who almost a year ago lost his wife to suicide. Not cause it will be easy, simply because loving all of this messy beautiful life is my only option.
So for the record, It is my whole hearted intention to keep dedicating my life to something bigger than I understand. To let unprecedented joy and ease in so I can spread more kindness and abundance than I know is possible. Then my plan is to surrender over and over again, and again and again, even when I don’t want to, so hopefully sooner rather than later, all beings may be free from suffering.
So please forgive me if I disappoint you. I’m doing the best I can. Please bear with me, I need all the patience and help I can get. Maybe we are not so different you and I?! Please take care until we meet again.