Monday Mindfulness

Cultivating Strength, Joy, Peace & Resilience


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When the gates are open

I certainly don’t claim to have any part of this whole dying thing down. But I have seen enough family and friends make that transition to understand that it is not in the clinging to this life or the wallowing in the departure that brings peace. It is not in the anointing or in the fighting that we pass on but in the releasing…the letting go of the story, the belief that we are only of value in this living physical form, the fear we have somehow not been or done enough, and the pressure to continue on in something that has drawn to a close.

I believe we always have the choice. There can be fanfare and drama or quiet and stillness. Those left behind can wail and wrestle with their loss or

be happy for the soul that returns to the light, which I believe allows the departed to float more freely, untethered to the strings of our emotions, fears, and needs in this temporal space.

We need not believe in “life” after this body, but we can be sure that we are more than this body. We can be grateful for the space this body provided for us to play and learn – whether just hours or days or many, many years.

We all have within us a mysterious longing to be free, yet we spend little time preparing for the opportunity to run freely when the gates are open.

One thing that is becoming increasingly clear to me is that it seems the way to die may be to live in love, to surround ourselves with those who are willing to hold the gates open for us, and let nothing hinder us from feeling whole, content, and ready to run.


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Disintegration

I hold a piece of clay, cool, heavy, undefined.

As I push and pull upon it, a shape begins to form. The temperature, texture, and identity of that clay grow with me.

As my best efforts produce an uneven, imbalanced figure, one to which I have nonetheless become attached, I realize more work needs to be done.

To bring the work into balance requires undoing what I have created, detaching from what is currently there before me.

The chemical reaction in my brain, the visceral response in my body, and the tugging of my thoughts and emotions make reworking the clay painful.

To restore balance, I must pull the familiar apart. I must disintegrate the work. It is not without labor and discomfort that I destroy the familiar and let go of what I knew as my best work.

I tremble with fear and doubt – I cannot imagine a greater work than before.

And there it is. After the pain of disintegration comes release from what was…freedom from past bests.

Pleasure and pride arise as the new shape takes form, coming closer into balance.

With faith and perseverance, disintegration leads to evolution.


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The Snag

The Fabric 2

A stirring, an imbalance, an unthinkable happens and there I am…swirling in thoughts and emotions.

Although we seem unconnected, we are tethered undeniably to others’ experiences, their pain, their suffering, their anger.  Their division and righteousness becomes mine, even when I don’t want it to be.

And then comes the arduous task of sifting.  Sifting through the messages in all of this…not what it means to my community or the statement it makes about my society, but the fundamental lesson for me in the perceived tragedies and suffering that stand before me.

I dare not admit how my thoughts flow in circular motions…how I cannot point at the right or wrong…it all just seems to come back to me, to the fear I have that any one of them could be me.

…the “victim”…the “suffering”…the “perpetrator”…the “responsible one.”

These labels belong to my deepest shadows and like threads dancing on a loom, have long since been woven into the fabric of me.

So, I turn my anger to the scariest one in an attempt to cut that thread.  And then the story unfolds, my experience is defined by calling out the grossest attributes of others although deep down inside I know they are still undeniably tethered to me, undeniably me.

It is then that I must fill with compassion, for each of them and for me. I must allow these situations and the contrast they provide to take me back to the center of my being, to turn inward and calm the swirling from the inside.  Instead of needing the contrast to tug at the fabric from the outside as if separate from me, I turn inward to reweave the threads, to smooth the snag so that the fabric on the outside lays out more seamlessly.

Each time the contrast begins to pull and tug at me again, I slow the loom, treasure that thread, and remember that no matter what any of us have done or who any of us seem to be,  the threads are the same – it is a complex fabric that tethers you and me.


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Agency

Poor behavior is a sign of a loss of agency.

Lashing out at the circumstances around me instead of diving into the power within me.

There within I always have the capacity to choose, to “re-cognize” and bring back into my mental awareness my own tools of agency. I don’t need someone else to pick me up, to defend me, or clear the way for me.

I can feel confident, strong, and happy through my own decision making.

Whatever the story, with agency I can produce my own powerful, beautiful ending.


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Part of Me

part of me - clouds

The pain weighs so heavy on my body,

Pressing deep into my chest,

Down into my bones,

Constricting every drop of my being.

 

Yet, the breath still flows

Light and free.

There is courage, hope, relief

As I recall that the pain is just a part of me.

 

No matter how sad, or mad, or defeated I want to feel,

The pain can never be bigger than me

Because the pain is just a part of me.