Well since I wrote that last email (about welcoming and being with what arises) someone (or many ones) in me got the message that they were welcome loud and clear and proceeded to throw a party for the day. They arose. They got down and boogied. They held nothing back.
Thoughts and energies of every kind were coursing though my being - all the worst, most stressful kind. Self-loathing, wordless futility, searing remorse, freaked out energy that had me shuffling around the kitchen, my forearms shaking. In the midst of this I felt compassion and wondered if this is what it is like for some people all the time. If it is, that is hard.
I sat down right there in the kitchen mid-morning and took my own advice. I sat and welcomed all of it. The sink of drying dishes, the cats crunching their food, the chair hard-backed, facing a huge mirror.
I sat with everything that arose, the energy that wanted to explode out of my skin, the paralyzing collapse that took away all motivation, the murderous anger. I sat with it all. The quaver that shuttered through my lower belly, I sat with it.
As this storm raged it occurred to me to listen to the quiet. Whether because I have consistently practiced that for a couple of years, or for some other reason, it worked. I began to listen to the quiet and a small cleft parted open in the pounding self loathing and fear. A little cleft that a breath of relaxation welled up through.
I listened to the quiet.
I listened to the quiet, and the panic and pain were still there, but there was a quiet center to it. If I stopped listening to the quiet all hell broke loose. Literally, this is exactly what happened.
After a while of listening, the storm beating above the sphere of quiet, I asked of the quiet "Are you me?"
A kiss of myself folding into myself. An ancient mother waking up. A joyful child. A timeless 'ahh'. A hint. Enough.
The benefit of the visceral dance of self-hatred, the not-good enough, the it was all-for-nothing, was that it was almost unbearable to live from the perspective of those emotions and thoughts.
I had to wondering if, in fact, I was actually the quiet, because to not consider this was to remain in hell. And the ante stayed up ALL day. If I slipped into identifying myself as the maelstrom of unconcniousnness I felt it immediately and fairly hopped back into listening to the quiet. Most days the maelstrom is not so burning hot and the reflex to hop back into the quiet is not as strong.
Blessings be Sri Maelstrom. Usher me in.
Love to you all, and to all of our Maelstroms,
ps - it is now several days later and I just reread this letter as I prepare to hit "send." It strikes me that I have no shame about the maelstrom I describe that ran through my body, it is not something to hide from my readers or clients.
I am not it.
It is something that moves through me, and the I that I am gets to be with it, observe it, give it the space and consciousness to be. I am with it. Shames comes in when we say whatever is moving though us is who we are.
I think of that as a state of being fused with the maelstrom. When we are fused shame can arise, or despair, or distress, because there is no deeper sense of the Ithat we actually are.
My love to you again,
Last weekend I spent a day in workshop with a group of people exploring our Inner Children and, when the moment was there, doing The Work with these Little Ones. One practice that we worked with throughout the day was to welcome every sensation, every emotion, every energy in the body exactly as it was. To just be with what was arising, exactly as it appeared, with no push to change it or figure out what it "meant". This is a practice I use frequently, with myself and with clients, and I find that since the workshop it comes to me many times a day, and I allow myself to be with what is arising.
Yesterday, after my kids got home from school, I had an energy move though my body that was strong and all-encompassing. Not peaceful. I felt the draw to numb it with food and screens, but instead went out and sat in the sun on an Adirondack chair. I just kept saying "I welcome you", and listening into it and energetically opening to the sensations. I did that for about 25 minutes, and when I got up I was light, energized, and peaceful inside. I was then able to go in and be with my kids and get ready for my son's choir concert with presence and flow.
In my experience sometimes the body sensations and energies speak, and then we hear their words of pain. Sometimes they don't. Yesterday there were no words. And I trust that, I trust that when they are ready to speak they will, and when they don't I can open to the wordless, label-less direct experience of them moving through my being.
To loosely quote Byron Katie - 'You are the one you have been waiting for.'
I am the one to be with the myriad of energies, pains, and suffering arising inside within myself. Or as teacher Sharon Landrith says (again loosely paraphrased) 'You are the portal of mercy without end.'
We try to get everyone and everything else to do this for us. And while there is help along the way, ultimately is it our own selves, our own presence that transmutes suffering to freedom. Outsourcing is a dead end. You are it. You are the source of peace and healing and love.