Friday, October 19, 2012

"Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting." - Judith Minty

Yesterday as Dave and I took a walk on the beach, luxuriating in the glistening beauty of October in Santa Cruz, we marveled at how much we appreciate our lives.  And this marveling was made even more striking when our conversation wandered into the territory of the dark times of our lives.

I took this picture of Santa Cruz magical opalesence
During my darkest time, it crossed my mind whether continuing to live was worth it.  Fortunately, I learned from a great therapist that those passing thoughts were my mind's logical way of striving to relieve some of the intense pain.  I learned that there were other ways to reach for relief:  hanging out in my sister's living room, communing with trees and loving friends, watching the sky, going on road trips, dancing to live music, trying new foods, and breathing through a bad minute knowing that the next one or the next one or the next one might ease up a tiny bit.  Oh, and wine.  Wine helped a lot.  Little moments of relief gave me hope that with time, I'd heal.

And indeed I did.  But more than that happened.  I came to realize that I am the creator of my life.  I had a choice:  I could become bitter about the past, or see it as a chance to grow.  Bitterness, to me, felt like facing in the wrong direction.  Bitterness is an anchor to the past that keeps you from moving forward.  I wanted to hoist my sail and cruise into all the possibilities of my future.

And now, all these years later, so many incredible things have come to pass.  Dave and I talked about how our three years together have felt like fifty.  That's not because time is dragging!  It's because, filled with the joy of creating together, we dove into a fast-moving energy stream where so much happens in such a short time.  It's not a frantic feeling.  It's a feeling of abundance and fun and celebration.


Celebration of love, aloha style!

In fact, when I think of all we've experienced in the past years, I realize this:  For the most part, we have been going with the flow.  "Going with the flow" used to conjure up images in my mind of kicking back--like perpetually hanging out in a hammock.  But now I see that going with the flow might mean hanging out in a hammock--but it can mean so much more.  It doesn't have to mean standing still.  It means fostering a disposition of chillin' so that you can relax even in a fast-moving stream! 

Even when I'm doing all the things I do in my life of loving and teaching and travel and writing and family and mentoring--for the most part, I don't feel overwhelmed.  For the most part, it feels like time has stretched out.  Like I'm learning the knack for living not only in every second but in the spaces between seconds.  In fact, it amazes me that so much has happened--and that in spite of all the activity, I have a lot of "down time."  I guess that's because I don't worry about being "productive."  Going with the flow allows me to enjoy the moment no matter what I'm doing--or not doing.

And if overwhelment does creep up, I tell myself that nothing is an emergency.  That I don't have to fix anything.  That everything is fine just the way it is.  That worry and fear and anxiety are just thoughts. That I can have any thoughts I want!  That there's no one right way to do this life.

So here's the thing:  I see now that those dark, dark times created the light.  Everything is productive--even, or perhaps especially, life's dramatic events.  Having lived through an extremely dark time, it's so clear to me how much I've grown.  And how I can see possibilities emerging in the midst of difficulty.

I'm not saying I need to go out of my way to find trouble in order to grow.  Since change is constant, life is filled with opportunities to expand my awareness, my compassion, my potential.  Every small moment in life is a chance to once again hoist the anchor and sail with the wind.  The horizons are vast and ever-expanding.



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