So erratic am I.
I have the excuse that I’ve been rising in love. What does it mean to rise in love? Yes it’s been about me learning how to blissfully meet my match, my mate, yet it’s also been about my own on-going practices of shifting vibration from fear to love, joy, and enjoyment. Maybe it’s ok that I’m doing very little else right now as this feels to be some of the deepest, most internal, & subtlest work. And it underscores everything. It’s about what tone I vibrate at internally & what drives my thoughts, movements & words in the world. My underlying vibrational tone has been based in ambition & striving for decades, perhaps lifetimes. Even in such a seemingly equanimous world as Yoga. I have been either On or Off, either driven to achieve something, or asleep.
Now that I am waking up, albeit slowly, the chance is here to be conscious. And what I can see happening is that I struggle to wake up In Gratitude, In Joy. This seems so simple, so elemental, & yet it is still not automatic. I have inspiring reminder notes by my bed, I recite my intention before sleep, I make an offering to Spirit pretty much first thing in the morning, in gratitude. Yet waking in gratitude is still slippery business for me. I wake in consternation about whether I’ve snored my man’s ears off. I wake in fear I’ve overslept & missed something I had committed to. I wake in terror from something in the night that I can’t place. I wake in curiosity about yet another yoga nightmare (Funny this. I have never had an actor’s nightmare of forgetting lines & standing naked onstage, however I have had countless yoga nightmares where I can’t control anything–people coming & going in the wrong clothes with the wrong equipment & the wrong attitude, too many of them, they’re not listening, I don’t know what to teach them, no one’s swept the floor, they leave early & talk throughout. Nightmare!)
Anyway, the most insidious & persistent way that I wake is with dread. A creeping sort of dread that cannot be pinned to something so it seeps in & out of my moments of existence, insisting it is Reality. When I’ve been driven like a race car, at full tilt, the dread is drowned out & overwhelmed by the sense of speed & accomplishment. I dash through my days, ticking things off my list like an accomplishing maestra. I feel victorious. And I have spent so many years in this identity that there’s been a definite undressing happening lately. I’ve slowed into a lovely & sometimes languorous life, enjoying the time that I have by languishing in it & fully loving it.
Yet, and yet, and still even yet, there is this dreaded dread that darkens the doors of my perception.
No matter how much I may seem to have & even when I am actively grateful & fully accepting the abundance of my life by immersing myself in it, there is this thing I’ve been calling my existential malaise. The what’s-the-point-of-existence unrest. Having been so long identified with the Me that dreams, strives, acts with determination & achieves in some form or another, then who am I when I strip that off? And I seem to go to extremes, like I said, either On or Off. If I’m not that person that strives (if I’m not the Knights who go Neeh!), then I must be nothing. Of course in these Yoga/Meditation circles No Thing is different from nothing. So many are striving for enlightenment when it is, apparently, the dropping away of striving & the acceptance of the fullness of what-is.
Here’s a poem I wrote once on that topic:
Dreamed of a journey
Then woke & found
the fullness of living
releasing oneself from desire & attainment.
So what I’m essentially doing is watching my ego have a tanty because it can’t cling to the role it’s played so well & gotten a few accolades for–been recognized for. And if I’m not recognized then perhaps I don’t exist, which is where the malaise comes in. Simultaneously & somewhat strangely, this freedom of not existing or needing to prove my existence with achievements now frees me up to whole-soul-fully embrace the gifts I’ve been given & express the eccentric & unmatchable expression of all-that-is-ness that I Am.
So, let me see if I can get my head around this enough to make any sense in words.
I can choose how I exist.
I can put on any role I like.
The dread is a choice.
The fear, the joy, the anger, the love–they are all choices.
And some of them are far bigger & easier to see than others. And some are more insistent & persistent than others. The darker ones usually, oddly. No wonder many indigenous peoples praise the sun, the giver of light. Darkness pervades & light must be cultivated to penetrate the persistent dark. We are lucky to have that star just so far & just so near.
Years into my intention to rise before or with the sun & to give thanks, I am still irregular. It is still work. Work with my lazy-ass self that relishes the warmth of bed & the narcolepsy of dreams. Work with my small-eyed self that sees only what’s wrong & by thus seeing a small (& often sinister) world, keeps me small.
My practice lately has been so subtle as to be nearly invisible. You can see it in the St Vitus’s dance I do to shift my vibration (thanks to Bentinho for that phrase & its teaching). In the drumming, singing or chanting you can see me as I work hard to free myself from my ego’s seductive pull into a role that I suspect anyone could play. That I suspect most of us play without even realizing it. That role is Victim. My father was a great teacher on this front. I saw how darkness enveloped him & his life & I’d say much of it could be attributed to this role he played.
I’ve had trouble lately recognizing–fully groking in–the brevity, & therefore, the value of life. And I’m starting to realize this is part of the drugging of dread, part of the lines that come with playing Victim. It’s the recognition of the value of what I’ve been given that then catapults me, without effort, ambition or striving, into Being in the world with gratitude & love. And lest we forget & be turned off by the new-age-ified over-use of these words, they are not a default position for most of us. They are, dare I say it, Work. When I was struggling in my life–striving to actualize a dream & wearing myself thin to do it–I took up a practice of gratitude. A moment of making an offering, in gratitude, each day (or as regularly as I could remember) seems so easy as to be almost not worth doing. Have you tried? It’s like trying to laugh when your heart’s broken. Mad skills those.
So on the other side of that struggle, here on the riverbank of relative ease, the demons of fear, dread & doubt still plague me. How is that? What am I missing? The middle path. I’m learning to dance the edge between worlds. It’s awkward. Like when I was learning piano & could manage the right hand ok on its own & then the left hand pretty well on its own, but then put them together & it all went to shit. For a while. When I dropped my concern about what others thought or had to listen to & I simply kept at it, constantly adjusting, adjusting, adjusting. Then, in one seemingly magical moment it all aligned & continued to align from there on out. In order to “achieve” harmony I had to be willing to be a loser. I had to be willing to be seen as someone who doesn’t know, isn’t skilled, can’t achieve. Not yet, at least.
I love the definition of Magic as, simply, a change of consciousness. I had to change my consciousness from disparate, dissonant & disturbing to unified, harmonious & expressive. I still do. And daily.
Here’s a poem I wrote ages & ages hence, while living & working in New York City as an actress of a different sort:
Flies & Pigeons Come In!
Love & Money don’t always.
Mosquitos & Mice Come In!
True & Sunny don’t always.
Turn yourself around
Do the hokey-pokey.
That’s what it’s all about!
Faith & Patience Come In!
Fear & Paranoia don’t always.
Miracles & Magic Come In!
Terror & Sadness don’t always.
Standing out in Outfield
do you feel left out?
When you’ve turned yourself around
and you feel inside out
And that’s what it’s all about!