Ahhhh. That is how I feel right now. Accepting what is. The ups and downs. The flowing, changing world inside and outside of my being. My heart is stretching and finding a new shape. A softer path before me, a home inside the world.
The storm of the weeks after the Summit has subsided. In its wake, I found something I’ve sought for a long, long time: peace. Ironically, the peace I’m experiencing is not a state I have attained. It is not a state at all…it is a surrender. A letting go.
There is no longer a sense that I have to be some way, or some one, that I have to show up in a good-looking outfit with my hair just so, in order to be liked. I finally understand something crucial: the more authentic I am in any interaction, in any moment—the more people respond to me, appreciate me, know me and are moved by me. It is one of my roles in this life: to speak of the struggle and to bring it into the light. Everyone struggles. Everyone.
Welcome to the struggle of life. The peace we seek is within us, yes, but not like we generally have thought of it. It cannot be earned, like a good grade; it cannot be controlled. Peace is the boat on the ocean. It goes where the ocean goes.
Hafiz, great sufi poet, said: “Where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.”
Trust the living map of life as it unfolds before you. Know that the life you are living IS the “spiritual path.” Whether you recognize it or not, whether it matches your pictures or not. There is no where to go, no clothes to wear, no practices to adopt that will make you enlightened. Getting enlightened is not the goal, which is a good thing, because it, like peace, is also not attainable.
Surrender. Breathe. Come home to the heart, and live there. Let the heart listen to the soul, the connection to the god of your understanding. Let the heart be the instrument of seeing, and let the body-mind be ever in service to the heart.
This may not make sense, you may not have read this far. But if you have, thank you. I hope these words reach somewhere in you, that they bring you some amount of rest and peace. For me, the journey continues. I’m in search of a new home, and will be house sitting for the next 3 weeks or so in some lovely places. I am blessed; truly blessed.
I have followed my heart to Austin and here I am. I don’t know what the future holds; I have no plans beyond December. The only promise in following my heart is that I will then dwell in my heart. Which is plenty enough reward for this one.
The Global Youth Peace Summit was amazing and also incredibly challenging on many levels. I can’t even quite explain it, to tell the truth. But in the two weeks since it ended, I’ve spent a lot of time alone (nothing new there) and I’ve been pretty depressed. I have been weaving all kinds of stories about what people think of me and what a fucked up person I am. And although I know that these are not true, that in fact these same people like and even love me very much, and in fact I’m not fucked up at all, I’ve found it really hard to get out of the story.
In addition, I’ve hardly had any work lately, because my company just doesn’t have any work to give me, and since I’m paid a very good hourly wage but not salary, if I don’t have work, I don’t get paid. It also gives me WAY too much time alone. And when I’m alone, I get depressed. The one just sort of follows the other.
The time after the Summit is generally tough for everyone involved. The village that we create there is a powerful space of love, acceptance and healing for everyone, no matter what role they play or how they show up. It just happens. And leaving it is generally hard and can often be a letdown. It’s kind of like what happens for many people after Christmas. This year I had hoped that since I live in Austin now, it would not be as hard. In fact, I think it’s been the hardest post-summit experience yet.
I find that I’m embarrassed about what’s been going on for me and resistant to blogging about it. However, at the same time, I feel incredibly pulled to do so. In fact, I even started a new blog the other day, just so I could shout out without reservation how I feel and what I’m going through.
But, since I made a commitment a while ago on this blog to not hold back anymore, and to reveal the “deep, dark shit,” and also because something in me tells me that this is part of my service and what I have to offer the world, I’m going to write about it here. Basically, when things get bad, I hate myself. I honestly truly HATE myself. I think that I am a terrible person and that I really don’t deserve to be here. I think that other people don’t care about me. I think that I should not have come here to Austin, that the people at Amala Foundation don’t want me here, that they wish I would leave.
I think of past arguments with random people and past situations that were hard and I get stuck obsessing on those situations also.
I think about being single and that there is something innately ugly about me and that is why I’m single. I think about how hard it has been for me to do work in general, and how much I procrastinate, and how I don’t stay focused on creating photographs and writings, and it spirals into a truly ugly internal put-down session. It is just insane. Truly. Insane.
The thing is, I know this stuff isn’t true. I KNOW IT’S NOT. But I can’t believe that when I’m in it. I just get sucked down, like it’s a huge deep-ocean whirlpool from some 50s horror movie.
Let me say this, also, the good news: It’s shifting. I’m climbing out. I went to a volunteer appreciation thing at Amala last night. It was sweet. We did a sacred pipe ceremony (native american style) and then had a talking circle where we passed the talking stick. One of my friends and I went together and we both have been feeling very depressed and horrible and we both spoke up during talking circle. It was great to just say out loud in that community: “I am doing terribly, I hate myself, I think you all hate me, I don’t know who I am or why I’m here,” and then just pass the stick! It was awesome to do that, actually.
I truly didn’t want people to come up and get all huggy with me after, and people were very sensitive and kind in that way, but I felt a lot of love sent to me without direct contact. I did get a bit of very solid loving feedback from some people I feel very comfortable with, and then someone else who I respect and care about immensely, and was one of the people I had really convinced myself did not like me anymore, sat and talked with me for a while. He’s so real and so sweet and was very solidly rooted in knowing that everything that was happening is FOR me and not TO me, and that it’s all serving my evolution. As soon as he said that, I knew it was true. And I also realized that he indeed still cares about me and likes me, and that nothing at all was wrong.
Then I spent some more time today with someone else I care about a lot but who I have stories about that cause me pain. We had a sweet conversation as well, and we just kind of roundabout got into some of these stories I have made up. As we talked, I again realized that all my stories were missing big huge chunks of information and that when those were filled in, then the whole story shifted and my confusion was evident. Which felt fantastically freeing.
So, now, I feel like things are on a more even keel. I pulled a tarot card from the Osho Zen Tarot deck (online) and it was “Trust.”
“Trust life. If you trust, only then can you drop your knowledge, only then can you put your mind aside. And with trust, something immense opens up. Then this life is no longer ordinary life, it becomes full of God, overflowing.”
That resonated so fully and completely.
Oh and the reason I named my post “shaking my fist at god” is because I’ve been fully doing that lately. If you know me, you know that the god of my understanding is simply the universe, all that is, the pattern and love that underlies, permeates, creates, sustains and destroys all that is. Generally, I cultivate trust that the life unfolding is the exact right life for me. But this past week in the deepest muck of this darkness, I have denied and resisted, shouted and sworn, “why have you forsaken me?” And it felt like an important part of whatever this process is. To just say, NO, God! WHY ME, God? Fuck you, God!
and now…the other side of the mountain…the downhill side. for a while. [like the old Donovan song: “first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is”]
A few weeks back I posted a few photos from this carnival in Oakland. I was on my way home to Santa Cruz from a memorial service and feeling very sad…the sky was dramatic, threatening, and somehow extremely precious and loving.
This is the second installment of photos. Eventually, there should be one more. Click any photo to open a gallery you can scroll through.
It’s late. Later than usual, for me. Outside, the full moon transits over my house. And yours. Everyone’s house is covered by the moonlight tonight.
I sit at this desk, in this house, typing on this keyboard. There is a sudden clarity, a clear light, a relief. Miraculous, instantaneous. I am ok.
It sounds like a 70s self-help book. But it’s not. It’s just the lifting of darkness, the rising of the moon, the startling recognition of the simplicity of being. When the sun went down, I was confused. Now, in the middle of the night, that confusion has melted and all that’s left is all that is. Moonrise. Sunset.