Sitting at my altar today communing with life, the energy of the magnanimous now came to me. I reached for what was available, Post-It notes and a pen.
What does that mean, the magnanimous now? For me it is the vast space of the open road. It is the beginning, the creator of all that is and the potential back of manifestation. It is also the resting place of quiet, like a pond in the early morning when the fog and mist are one. It is the place of contemplation and receptivity to what reveals itself. It is true. All things are to be found in the present, in the magnanimous now. How do we go there? How do we slow ourselves enough to go, and where is it that we go in search? Within. We each carry the magnanimous now within. There is no physical place. There is no need to go anywhere or do something that feels a task, another thing to list or ping us to remind. No. Life is designed to support us, to hold us, and to carry us along the way, wherever we go, regardless of the path we travel en route. It simplifies the steps reducing the many to the one: turn toward.
Turning toward, or leaning in, asks only that we pause, close our eyes and acknowledge what presents to us in that quiet clarity, be it our alignment or resistance or gratitude or our behavior or the overwhelming gamut of our thoughts. Turning toward is but consciously taking a moment and allowing the Holy to enter. God. Who is God? You are. I am. We are the manifestation of the very breath of the Holy, which means nothing separates us from that Essence. Further, that with the practice of going within and sitting with the Holy, we have access to vast awareness; we have access to the answers before the question has been asked. We are magicians who sit and learn from the truth of life until the alchemy creates the One.
Lean-in to yourself and hear the message that is being offered in the space of the magnanimous now. Often that is the impetus behind our unhappiness or suffering or discomfort: to turn us toward the within and to be there, fully so. This impetus is a gift—sacred—and one small enough to pocket and carry, yet vast enough to turn water to wine.
I am sitting exactly where I am meant to sit in this lifetime right now. Cruisin’ by Smokey Robinson just came on. I’ve got a window lounge seat-view of the street, across which beautiful people dine, drink, laugh. It paused me. Still playing, taking me wherever I am to go on this road of my journey. The light is on. The wheels roll by, like skates in motion going nowhere, yet experiencing the All. I’ve been writing; been writing my way through my life changes, the journey of the way of me: chosen and not chosen. I must leave space for that which I do not know and cannot see. That is how we arrive at our full and complete self. Nothing is missing, yet easily we forget, skip beats, start poking and prodding at that which needs to be left alone. I’ve learned that. That’s why I take flight. That’s why I am okay with leaving it all behind, because I take it all with me. Everything that I need in order to move inside of my lifetime, I have within. This is a gift to us all: the quiet of within. The external abundance shows up, like magic. I live inside life’s magic. Layer after layer, peeled back like an onion to show the way of the journey. Life is not without grooves, no, and those grooves are not always carved smooth, but catch our skin with the pinch of splinter. It’s about how we participate in those grooves, how we see them, allow them the room and space to be, and how we stand ready with tweezers to pull the pain of the pinch back to the quiet.
Been thinking about my father lately. Been thinking about my mother, too. Been thinking about myself and how both of them run through my veins. Been thinking about keeping some. Been thinking about letting some go. Been thinking about how I’ve kept some and let some go. No one is perfect. Yet we can choose to take the perfection of each and shape a self, add to the mix of who we are outside of them, apart from them, and create someone wonderful. Been thinking about how I let it all go. Been thinking about my time sleeping on my best friend’s couch. Been thinking about how far we’ve come: from being a couple to being friends; going from there only being us to there being others. Been thinking about Mexico. Been thinking about school. Been thinking about all the things I’ve been thinking about and how I am living most fully inside these complex onion layers and how at times they burn my eyes and the tears fall. They’ve been caramelized though; no longer burning eyes or smelling to stink. Been thinking about love, too, moreso about connection and what that looks like at forty-two. It’s not the same as thirty, thirty-five even. I’m different. Connection doesn’t just connect, it builds and grows. Been thinking about how that’s not true for some and remaining in the knowing that it’s what’s true for me. Been thinking about what’s true and what’s false. Been thinking about being here in Long Beach and how like home it feels on this weekend visit. Been thinking about saying goodbye to everyone. I’m leaving. Been thinking about that. Been thinking about packing. Been thinking about buying a house in Mexico. Been thinking about traveling with God and feeling Its breath upon my skin. Been thinking about the Yes I’m saying to life and all of the good that comes with my receptivity. I’ve been thinking, and my thoughts guide me always in the direction of Oneness. Been thinking about that second glass of wine I just ordered and the meter that has ticked near time. Been thinking I should be on the road heading east to my going away party—my mother is throwing it after all. I’ll have a few more sips then dash before time ticks to its end. Sometimes we have to stop and give things some thought. Been thinking about that, too.
I only know to change. It is the process of my evolution, of evolution itself. Yet, I can’t say that I am moving toward middle class so much as I am moving toward the essence of life, which, if we have to compare, places me in the upper of the up-up of the upper class. Where else is there to go when you’re sitting at the hem of the garment? Is that not the path, its way and the way of? It is for me and others out there chiseling their life by design. It, life, has a way of bringing us back to ourselves in every moment that we step too far away, perhaps out of reach or the vicinity of our true self. How easy it can be to hop on that train and ride, especially when the view grants us distraction after distraction. That is the role of the mind: to go, and ego is an instigator. Fist raised in air chanting, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” But we all know what happens in Vegas, so maybe we should weigh the risks and hope this time we’ve gentrified, that we’ve become more refined on the inside.
I enjoy nice things, going to nice restaurants, being surrounded by life’s beauty and abundance, and shoot, let’s not forget the luxury of time. Call me a hedonist. I do enjoy satisfying my senses. I have a donut almost every Saturday, and red wine is a staple next to water. Above all, I enjoy doing absolutely nothing, which happens to be amazingly full and I think that’s because they’re more complete and real, more tightly woven to my truth, a gift offered the moment I quit my job and exchanged one gentrified life for another. Continue reading “A Twist on Gentrification”
I lose days. It is a thing, and not because I am mindless and move mindlessly through. On the contrary, I find myself falling into the rhythm of the creative life. It is consuming. It is full. It shows me how quickly one in the morning appears. It was just six. I lose days while gaining every minute that passes. It is possible to live in the perplexity of the conundrum. I do. I have to check the calendar on my phone to confirm both the day and the date. The event reminders there are a saving grace, and I appreciate them so much that I stop everything to key in the responsibility of my needing to be somewhere, and because I am no longer working, it’s always social, a responsibility nonetheless. It is challenging to leave home. I am a lover of quiet, and of solitude and aloneness, and an introvert with a haunting need for deep and authentic connection. I am a contradiction. Continue reading “The American Dream Isn’t My Dream at All”
“To be “sociable”—to talk merely because convention forbids silence, to rub against one another in order to create the illusion of intimacy and contact: what an example of la condition humaine. Exhausting, naturally like any improper use of our spiritual resources. In miniature, one of the many ways in which mankind successfully acts as its own scourge—in the hell of spiritual death.” – Excerpted from Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings, Pg 63
There is something about sound that brings comfort even when a false sense or when dressed in chaos. It becomes the backdrop of life, the white noise that soothes when the room goes dark and quiet and we are alone there staring at the ceiling. To whom do we reach for in the dark when there is but the sound of our own breathing, the rise and fall of our chest quickening in motion chasing after a Monkey Mind running fearfully afraid of being abandoned.
At early ages, we are taught to socialize. One’s natural inclination to sit and discover the body, the mind, and the extremities overridden by the voice of parentals with their well-intended guidance that too often suffocate and stifle. They keep an ear out for sound, and when the backroom where the adolescent is housed falls quiet, they call out afraid that they’re up to something. They don’t know you well enough to know that you can be left to your own devices, and that you secretly crave the quiet. Continue reading “Markings by Dag Hammarskjöld: A Response”
There is much inside of life, and even though we often try to control things, there is more unknown to us than known. This isn’t always easy to accept. Some resist only to have that resistance spiral out of control toppling onto other areas of life creating more to control, to fix, and to deal with. The cycle can be vicious, though not impossible to end. All things are available to us in every moment that we choose to turn toward rather than away; that we choose to flow with rather than be the salmon swimming upstream. There is purpose for them, there is no purpose for us. It is the mind reaching for something, anything to resolve the discomfort of now. It is the ego taking us by the hand like the rope of a tetherball, swinging us around and around until something abruptly stops the spinning. We are that something. We are masters of both mind and ego, and with practice we will be on the other side.
The precariousness that any moment is capable of bringing may leave you feeling like a boat lost at sea in the cold brought on by the night. You’re alone and afraid of the unknown in the blue-black of the sea. There you are sitting in your boat with your arms wrapped tightly around your knees, shivering, teeth rattling. Are you cold? Afraid? It’s hard to be certain when you are barely able to find your breath and keep from hyperventilating. Then you hear a voice that reminds you of the bag you’d taken for the journey. Inside there’s a pair of socks, your funny owl beanie, water, a sandwich, a pen, and a book with a book light. You start to feel lighter, less cold, less alone. Then again you hear the voice telling you to open the book. You do, and it says: Soon you will be on the other side.
Because this day is unlike any day before. It came with the sun of sound and left with the chill of night. I sat at my altar today. That’s what I do when I want to connect or when I feel that I need to connect, because something is amiss. The feeling is easy to spot because it wears the face of all things external, and is the first cousin of discomfort. The mind has a way of running with anything I give it, so I limit its access and return to mindfulness when I forget.
Even when I’m not sitting, I like looking over at the candle, how it sets confidently inside a lotus attached to a metal Buddha adorned by Rudraksha mala beads. The light, the way the flame flickers when the air touches it. Wax has poured over at times creating a sense of things being permanent, even though that same hardened wax would transform the moment heat touched it. It runs down the side where the heat can’t change it. It stays there in place like a memory written down. There’s a yellowing black and white picture of my father as a young child held down by a rock I collected while out on a hike at Rodeo Beach in Sausalito. There’s a deck of Osho cards, a tarot of sorts, and a twenty pesos bill. Each serve a purpose. Each serve me in a way that creates an opening for me to learn more about myself and the path inside of the journey I’m on at any given point in time, should I choose to turn toward.
Today, I sat and opened myself up to the highest vibration, to the magnanimous nature of Life and all of its bounty to be gifted me again and again. I understand that nothing separates me from greater access, from the magic, from my ability to walk on water. The mind is the only barrier, but the practice of leaning into the mind enough to understand it, offer it compassion, and then transform it in order to be available to receive, is the way. It is found in the quiet, and we have to be willing to turn down the noise of the world in order to manifest a life breathed on by God.