Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yesterday I Was Alive, Today My Heart is Beating Me Awake

How many yesterdays have I had at forty years old? Looking back at yesterday, ignoring the present, smothering the future. 

Yesterday, I went to the rec center pool with my daughter. It was crowded with other parents and children. Winter break, the week after Christmas, and all of us hanging on by threads - anticipating the future return of school's starting bell. Bye, I love you, have a great day. [quiet sigh] 

The indoor pool is beautiful. Mostly clean, open, lofted, ceilings with huge wood beams, and low lights. The din is roucous. Windows from floor to ceiling. On the southwest side of the pool, the windows look out to a wooded area beyond the playground. Yesterday, the sun was brilliant, the sky blue. I rested my arms at the edge and turned my face to the sun coming through the southwestern window. My view all trees and low golden light.  The usual piped-in music was off. The pool water lapping through the deck drain. I could feel the sun warming my skin. 

I was present. I was full. Happy. I marked that moment. Come back to this. Back to this breath, this calm in the wild, this sense of equanimity, this peace. 

We rush to remember all the monumental moments, the births, matriculations, firsts of everything (tooth in, tooth out, potty, crawl, walk, run, swing, dance, sing, knee scrape, birthday after birthday - marking each new year),  holidays, graduations, anniversaries, new births. We like remembering the big stuff. It feels big. Take a picture. 

I want to remember the small stuff. The little finer moments. The unhurried. The uncaptured. To document the undocumented the mundane the ordinary the extraordinary. 

I finally figured it out after all these years. I am special and I am just like everybody else. I am paradox. I am human in the most beautiful denotation of the word, meaning that I am full of feeling, thought, insight, foibles, comedy, desire, life. I am fully alive. I want to remember the moments when I feel alive. 

I will write to this. 

Today I woke to hear my heart beating. The thum-and-drum. Breathe in. Breathe out. I slowly filled up with breath and exhaled. Listening to my heart. Fill up. Let go. Beat. In. Out. Beat. 

Meditation is deep listening. Mediation is not the absence of anything or the addition of anything. Meditation is just listening deeply, acute listening, listening and nothing else. Enraptured listening. What will happen next? I can't stop. I must know. What is happening now? It's a metaphysical cliffhanger. Who knew mediation could be so stimulating?

Beauty in every day, beating me awake. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sometimes it's too heavy for Superman to lift. [replace "Superman" with "me"]

I've been very hard on myself recently. Blaming myself for all that's wrong with this world. As if the hatred and disgusting politics and water wars and racism and sexism and missing pieces are all my fault. As if all the light and love I've sent out was going to be enough to fix all this. My actions cannot be measured by the results. 

A few weeks ago, I took my daughter to a pet shop. We fell in love with a puppy brought her home. My heart filled with love and then dread. Another mouth to feed. Another creature to love. Another creature to hold, and help, and play with, and clean up after. A loss of freedom. Another living thing that I am responsible to and for. Dread. Panic. Delight. Love. Despair. What had I done? Haven't we lost enough freedoms this year? 

I knew that I could raise a puppy. I know that I can do anything. Haven't you seen me do everything? Haven't you seen me do anything? Why do I hold myself responsible for all the weights of the world? How can I be accountable for every thing and everyone in it?

I can't. I won't. I'm not. 

I can't get time back and last week I spent time in my head admonishing myself for rehoming a puppy. A puppy that a bought to make my daughter happy. A puppy that I thought would fix something broken in my kid. My kid feels alone in this life. My kid has single separated parents and no siblings and no pets. My kid loves dogs. She loves people. She loves animals and wants to play with one every day. I wanted to give that to her. She is perfect. The puppy is perfect. I am not. 

I am overwhelmed by my living right now. I am overwhelmed by my monkey brain and how the dark the slips in even when I'm working in the light. I notice myself feeling grief and loss and exhaustion, self-pity, self-hatred. I spent too much time judging (thinking) myself for feeling and not enough time feeling my feelings. It's okay. I'm reminding myself. Feel the stuff. See it there? Feel it here? Ok. Then those feelings move on or sometimes just hang around. Can I sit in my discomfort? Yes and no. Can I add in more self-love? Yes and no. 

Keeping the puppy was too much discomfort. Many years of me being alone in my responsibility for a living creature. Re-homing the puppy is yet another source of discomfort. How could I? What kind of shit mother am I? What's the big deal, it's a puppy--can't you at 39 years old handle mothering a puppy?

As I sit in my truth and wear my discomfort like a cute new scarf, I know the answer. I want to give S everything. I cannot. I hate myself when I cannot. I need to love myself when I cannot. I'm practicing that now. It's a tough practice, let me tell you. 

I want the world, this country to be great, peaceful, healthy. I'm despondent when this world is so ugly - hate groups, local terrorism, people turning against each other. I cannot fix it. I'm practicing loving myself knowing that I can't fix the world. It's a tough practice. 

I have been working with individuals and with my daughter to hold space, to give love and light. To have hope for myself, for my kid, and for this world -- or at least for the loving people in it. I'm pouring in the self-love hoping that that alone will drown the self-hate.