Thursday, May 15, 2014

Threads of Sorrow & Joy: Giving Birth to This Blog

“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping
for that which has been your delight.”
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

I’m so happy to be starting this blog. It’s been in its birth
process for a while, taking shape, but stopped by one small but serious stumbling block: What to name it.

Now, that step might seem simple. But the name is the one thing you can’t change later, and it’s so key to presenting a clear and enticing invitation that can be heard amidst all the online chatter.

Plus there’s a chicken/egg thing here, where I was trying to name something that hadn’t been born yet. But so much will only be known in its unfolding, in the many micro-choices I make, how others respond, and how I respond to that. I know that I’m not the first to wrangle with this.

So that’s how I found myself stalled in the “what to name it” iterative-loop limbo, unresolved by the brainstorming and clarifying. I sighed and accepted that this blog’s creation just hadn’t crystallized yet, and put the idea once again on my back burner, that dark and overflowing place in me where so many ideas rest and ruminate and sometimes find their way out into the material world. And hopefully won’t die with me.

•  •  • 

And then I had a loss. At the private retreat center where I go for healing and nurturing, the gracious historic century-old building was largely destroyed by fire. I was horrified, crushed, thrown off balance. Watching a guest’s footage of the building in flames was heartbreaking and surreal — even more so because I’d just been there two weeks before, staying in one of the rooms now aflame in its rafters. I knew the experience was much worse for the folks on the front lines, so I looked to honor their experience first. (Thankfully, everyone got out safely.) But still I was feeling spacey and distracted. Why was this news impacting me so much? Hadn’t I had much bigger and more personal losses? Wasn’t it just a building, after all?

But then I saw that, no, this wasn’t just a building to me, but a foundational piece in my life’s structure, a sacred gateway, a secret place where I knew that I could go to connect with nature’s wisdom, and, through that, access the profound eternal that so deeply nourishes and guides my life. No wonder I was feeling unmoored by its disruption.

As I sat with this truth, my process came to another turn, and I realized that, through this event, I was being shown that impermanence wasn’t just about the people in my life, our aging and death, or even the ordinary structures of our culture. No, even this sacred spot was impermanent, merely a portal to the infinite ephemeral that remains.

Now, I’ve noticed that seeing the transient reality of our lives can lead some people to disconnect from caring about people and places on the material plane, and I understand how that might seem safer. But I think it causes us to miss out on so much of what’s amazing in this life experience. Plus it can result in people treating others as merely disposable pawns, and shrugging at the harm and destruction they’re causing.

So, I think the event’s message to me wasn’t to care less, but to see both edges of life’s double-edged sword, where we are both infinite and finite, and cherishing anything is always intertwined with the risk of loss.

But how exactly are we supposed to really hold the tension of both truths? Certainly, learning how to do this is one of life’s more advanced challenges.

And in that moment I knew, in that deep way of knowing, what I wanted to explore in this blog: the dark/light edges that underlie all of our lives, the essential dynamic conflicts and tensions of life, the core experiential truths, and how we can authentically and effectively be with them in our everyday lives. Certainly, it’s not like I have the definitive answers to these questions, but I’m fascinated by this vital exploration.

As I sat with that, my blog title suddenly clicked into place — Life’s Sacred Remnants. Ooo, I love that sweet tingly feeling when something from my heart precipitates out into manifestation.

Then a piece that I’d read recently came to my mind. It had really struck me as authentic truth. Where had I put it? Ah, here it is. I hope that you also find it of value.

•  •  • 

A Prayer from the Dark Side of the Year
By Jeff Foster 

You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.

But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realising this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence.

Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude.

Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.

•  •  • 

Ah, how achingly brutal and beautiful is that? I hope that that you savor its truth-telling resonance as much as I do. I thank Lauren Darges for posting it.

And I thank you for visiting here, and for holding a space for what I’ve shared. Please let me know if you found it of interest! :-)

Many blessings - Patricia

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And, if you want to read my next post, here it is - Littered Bones Along the Way.

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