Sunday, November 28, 2010
There are so many things about my life today (well, almost all of it really) that if you’d told me three years ago would be this way, I’d have thought you had either gone completely mad, or were from another planet entirely. And now, here’s the latest: snow twice in one week, AND in two different states. Yep. First at my home in Sonora, then on Thanksgiving when we woke to the most beautiful snowfall at my daughter and her boyfriend's in Washington. It fell all morning, a good two or three inches of wet, fluffy, powdery, beautiful white stuff, more than enough to be excited about and grateful for.
In fact, this Thanksgiving there has been so much awareness of what there is to be grateful for. Maybe that's the gift of loss, and having to let go of so much; traditions, ways of being, structures, securities, things that have been usual, customary, counted, on; all that’s been taken for granted for decades. When stripped down to the raw, bare essentials, it is truly simple to see what remains, what has never actually been lost, what is the core and foundation of everything, and the only thing truly meaningful.
My teacher Isaac often speaks about the Beloved, which he says is the strongest and most pure love that can be felt. Like the love you feel for your daughters, he tells me, unencumbered by daily life and issues that arise; the purest, most unconditional love imaginable. For the past few years, deep in the dark forest of so much change, the words had no way to reach me. But this holiday time, by some grace or magic, and for the first time in a long while, maybe ever, letting go of agenda, expectations, sadness, grief, and longings has happened, and in their place, has slipped a soft, natural, unefforted, profound feeling of love. Try as I might, I can't begin to describe it. The best I can do is to say it feels like a swelling and opening of the heart, a stillness, a deep appreciation, a vast acceptance, a sweet and gentle vulnerability.
Most often I have found love encased in a solid shell of worry, fear, grief, and leftover defense mechanisms, desperate to break out, but not knowing how. Though my guess is, that just like consciousness, it is ever present, and all that is required is to soften and surrender, to get out of the way. Yet even that seems not to be in our power. It happens if and when it happens.
For the past couple of months, it's been pointed out repeatedly that the healing path for me is all about vulnerability. Just writing the word, I feel the energy of it, of anxiety and excitement, flow all the way to my feet and toes. It might just be the scariest thing I've ever faced; far more frightening than leaving my marriage, going to Moloka'i alone for three months, moving away, because the hard shell is how I learned so long ago to protect the helpless little one in the face of need, abandonment, abuse, and I've dressed it up, fixed its hair, and worn it all these years like an armor. Though piece by piece it seems to be falling away and this weekend I was aware of the tender exposed places, and the love that was there, ready and waiting to fill them up.
When something is rare, it becomes all that more precious. For us, it's time together. It's been ten months since my daughters and I have all been together. Our awareness of that, our joy at being in each other's company, opened something palpable in each of us, and I felt our bond as I've rarely experienced it in the past.
My youngest daughter and I flew into SF late last night, a plane full of others returning from long distances to spend those cherished hours and days with loved ones. Katie was met by her new boyfriend, whose arms she practically flew into she was so excited to see him, and him her, so much so that he parked and walked as close as he could get to our arrival gate. I was picked up by Ex, who drove all the way to the city at night—something he hates to do, the city and the night—so I wouldn’t have to make the long, tiring ride on public transportation.
Another thing to add to the list of all that I am grateful for: that we walked through the dark and unknown separately and together and have come out the other side officially uncoupled yet more grounded than ever in deep love, caring, and respect.