Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Glass Doors: Finding Compassion in Relationships When You Are Awakening

You all have seen it happening, the riptides of my sorrow and anger and depression gave way to rebuilding and awakening and living again and again, and now again. Those dark waves tore under and over and mixed with the greatest joy of my life (at the time), my only sunlight in that tumultuous sea, my daughter, who was a source of fear/insecurity and perfect wondrous joy.  

As selfishly as I have lived my life so far, I realized today that I am still living selfishly. My compassion has grown and expanded, be sure. My selfishness has turned into disappointment because other people I love are not yet where I am. I feel, for the first time, like a missionary. I want to run around and yell, "Wake up! There is so much more to life than this."  And when my loves are not fully awake, I take that on and take it in. 

How do you tell people you love that they are walking dead? 

My impatience is my enemy. I want it all to happen now. Go. I have spent the majority of my life being impatient. As a young kid always wanting to be older. As a teenager wanting the future to come now so I could live on my own and make my own decisions.  In my 20s I just wanted a real love, a true lover and marriage and to be settled, even though I was not ready for that, I so desperately wanted it. Once I was married, I wanted the hardship of early marriage and childrearing to end and give way to the middle of marriage where everything felt settled and when your kid could make her own breakfast. Until now, I wanted to be somewhere else in my life. Always looking to that place and never looking where I presently stood. 

Now, I want everyone to wake up and be with me in this space, where for once I feel happy and light and free. Maybe this is progress? Maybe this is part of my awakening. I am not looking to the future or rushing into what's next, but I'm impatient for everyone else to come with me now. To grow instantly and meet me here. (It's funny because there are plenty of people in my life who have been "here" all along. Thankfully, they never rushed me. Growing pains, sigh.)  Why am I rushing you, as if this is a thing that could be rushed? What's my hurry? 

I don't want you to miss out, that's true. But, my hurry is simple: I don't want to be alone. I don't want to live in this new space by myself. My old fears of abandonment and being alone are still here, smaller, more tame, but those fears are like lightening bugs lighting up in the darkest night, small but very bright and flitting all over, tough to catch. Can I be ok staying here by myself and then continuing on alone? 

There are many signs of how my growth impacts me and the people in my life. My kid meditates and smudges the house when she's feeling off. She took her meditation CD to school and had them listen to it during resting time. Half of my old friends do yoga now. The other half want to (I can feel it.)  Communication has improved between me and my mama. We are all in this together. 

All of this has been swirling around in my head for awhile. And then I read Mark Nepo today: August 2 from The Book of Awakening 

We want so badly to share our innermost experience with our loved ones, but often, like the mermaid, we forget that not everyone can go where we go. Indeed, we all share this mysterious fact--that no one can go into our depth completely. We must travel there alone. It is where we commune with God.


Never was this clearer to me than when wheeling Anne, my partner of twenty years, to the operating room where she would have surgery for cancer, I went as far as I could and watched her grow smaller through the glass doors. I realized then, that whether it be our quarrel with God or with dead parents or with the limitations of our humanity, each of us must go beyond the glass doors of our experience alone. And the work of compassion is to guide our dear ones as far as we can and to be there when they return. But no one can go beyond the glass doors for us or with us.

Leave it to the call-and-response swirling energy to send me just the thing I need to read today just in time, just before I set my thoughts, words, and actions into the cast of my heart. Mark Nepo made me feel just like him and the mermaid and then I'm not alone. And yet, I can't go where you go. You can't come with me. Glass doors.

Today I will be a student, patient with myself. And then, patient with you. You will be where you are today. I will be where I am. I will love you where you are (haven't I always? My impatience is way more about me than you.)  I will hold space for you in my depths and be here when you return. I'll be the one bouncing up and down with a bottle of champagne and balloons ever so happy to see you. 

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