October 28, 2014 § 1 Comment
A row of albums at attention across the shelf.
Automatic paintings of life lived.
Pin that butterfly, a moment in Maroon Bells,
Captured and detained, prisoners of grasping love.
Set pieces, aching in their perfect ruin.
Smile, come on.
No, the sun is in their face.
Oh, that’s a good one.
When mom left, a scavenger hunt.
Faithless scribblings from the distant son,
Knicky knacky detritus,
Even the crumpled tableau of that long dead boy.
All to the dumpster.
Frozen soldiers guarding punctuated images.
Waiting for the ruthless strangers
To render their release.
September 6, 2014 § 15 Comments
Days roll by.
I recall them as busy, sometimes even hectic. Fulfilling responsibilities. Work. Errands. You know, just what we call “life.”
And then I make those moments. Standing in the woods in the early morning, in wonder at the misty rays of light piercing through. Tasting a cup of tea. Noticing again the graceful way she moves.
All else just being busy. Dodging and weaving. Perhaps afraid to live. Easier to keep plugging, I imagine.
But the choice is a matter of life and death.
Moment by moment.
February 5, 2013 § 43 Comments
Wandering through the museum, appraising the creations scattered along the walls, I found myself before the Rothko and everything stopped. Anchored in place, rooted in the moment. That breathtaking moment.
Taking a different path that morning, I walked into the woods in the crisp morning air. I stopped, stood dead still, hearing only my breath and the faint rustle of the wind. I saw the trees arching into the infinite blue sky. I took a breath and everything fell away.
I remember seeing her standing in my office doorway, so many years ago. The way she stood, her dark hair and luminous brown eyes. Her arresting and vulnerable beauty. I knew we would be together, I knew.
In the intervening years, I have often returned to the Rothko, walked those woods countless times, and lived my life with the woman who stood that day in my doorway. All familiar to me now.
But when I return to that painting, when I step into those woods, it is like the first time. Filled with wonder, overcome with gratitude- undiminished.
We often think that these feelings- the feelings of the new- in time must leave us. We imagine we must settle for the faint shadow of those intense first moments. But those feelings don’t leave us- we walk away from them.
If we are open and ready, if we stop striving to recover something we think we lost, if we simply exist in our moment- before the art, amidst the woods, in the arms of our lover- the familiar is anew.
And so when she leaves me, I still watch her walk away, all these years later, hoping that she might turn around so that I could see her face once more- knowing I will feel again and again what I have always felt- from the beginning.
November 13, 2012 § 46 Comments
I used to believe that love was a form of relationship. I love you; you love me. That’s our deal.
I would diligently monitor my love relationships. Feeling hurt or wronged, I would ask- was that an act of someone who loves me? If she loves me, how can she not see my needs?
Or I would turn this judgment on myself. Why have I been filled with anger towards her? Why have I been so cold and distant?
When the ledger got out of balance- and it always did- I called the deal into question. Does she really love me? Enough? Or, looking inward, I’d ask whether my conduct suggested the absence of love? And in either case, I doubted my commitment. Perhaps time to back out of the deal, I’d think.
All, all, wrong.
Love, as I now seek to live it, is not a relationship or a deal. There is no ledger. Love is not earned or maintained. Love exists in my simple, full, and caring acceptance of the other person. It resides within me. It doesn’t depend on what you do, or fail to do.
If she is angry, I love her in her anger. If she is depressed, I love her in her depression. If she hurts me, I love her in her very assault.
This is the love that I seek to embody. I often, maybe most always, fall short. Sometimes hideously short. But now I know.
Seeking to love others in this way, I also know that I must begin with myself. Suspend self-judgment. Never wish to have done this or that. Cherish who I am. Only from that foundation can this sacred and abiding love for others come.
Just love. Only love.
October 23, 2012 § 33 Comments
I feel the horrific rush of self-judgment. You dropped the ball again and now look where you are? Buried and lost.
And then I think- No, this is all wrong. Don’t look back. That’s done and gone. I take a breath. I feel the calm. It’s okay now, all okay.
But soon the dark feelings return. So again, I breathe. I repeat the mantra- nothing but here and now, no looking back, no judgment. Calm returns.
This pattern repeats- distress, then calm- over and over. An endless, soul-crushing loop.
The truth is that we never beat back our demons. So long as we consciously resist the negative feelings, we will never find real and enduring peace.
I cannot think my way out of my unsteadiness and self-loathing. Nor is it simply a matter of belief in some external set of principles. I could read the Tao each moment for the rest of my life and still not escape this terrible loop.
I must return to the place where I belong. I will not get there armed with a club and a conscious striving. I will not get there at all. It is not a destination or an achievement. I will just be there. I will just become who I am.
Resistance is never the way. Simply to live acceptance, love, and forgiveness is the path- the only way home.