Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Broken Open"

Some snippets from "Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help us Grow" ... by Elizabeth Lesser:

And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom ...

And no one can tell when each one will come to that tipping point ... or even IF they will come..

"You are afraid to feel your real feelings. You are afraid to want what you really want. What do you want? What you want is waiting for you in your own heart. The time has come."

We have been systematically taught to ignore, suppress, despise and even *fear* what we want, and how we feel ... and we, and the world, are much poorer for it ...

How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be. You may be at the beginning of a transition, feeling only a vague mood of restlessness or a nagging nudge in the direction of something new. Or maybe you are in a full-blown period of change; what you thought was your life is now over, and where you are heading is unknown. Perhaps you are coming out of the woods of a difficult time, finally able to take a breath and make sense of the journey. Or maybe you have become aware once again of the obvious yet startling fact that nothing stays the same for very long; that things like the body, relationships, children, work, towns, nations, and the very earth that sustains us are fluid and fleeting - dynamic systems fueled by the breath of change.

I find myself on the precipice between the full-blown period of change/unknown ... and coming out of the woods, beGINing to make sense of the journey.

To be human is to be lost in the woods. None of us arrives here with clear directions on how to get from point A to point B without stumbling into the forest of confusion or catastrophe or wrongdoing. Although they are dark and dangerous, it is in the woods that we discover our strengths. We all know people who say their cancer or divorce or bankruptcy was the greatest gift of a lifetime -- that until the body, or the heart, or the bank was broken, they didn't know who they were, what they felt, or what they wanted.

Noticing ... and wondering ... why we humans, all of whom are prey to getting variously "lost in the woods", make such sport of ridiculing, shaming and punishing others, who also get lost ...? It would appear that such a "misadventure" is necessary for many (most? all?) of us ... and yet we insist on telling another story. Interesting ...

Before their descent into the darkness, they took more than they gave, or they were numb, or full of fear or blame or self-pity. In their most broken moments they were brought to their knees; they were humbled; they were opened. And later, as they pulled the pieces back together, they discovered a clearer sense of purpose and a new passion for life.

Yes ... I can attest to this. And so it has happened ... and so it is happening. May I show others the mercy, grace and understanding I wish I had received ...

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

I read this late last night, while unable to go to, or stay, asleep ... and for reasons I don't entirely understand (& yet which my heart seems to know), I cried ...

(actually this entire book is speaking deeply into my heart ... and the tears come easily, unbidden ...)

I am fascinated by what it takes to stay awake in difficult times. I marvel at what we all do in times of transition -- how we resist, and how we surrender; how we stay stuck, and how we grow. I have made note of how fiasco and failure visit each one of us, as if they were written into the job description of being human. I have seen people crumble in times of trouble, lose their spirit, and never fully recover. I have seen others protect themselves fiercely from any kind of change, until they are living a half life; safe yet stunted.

Yes ... fiasco and failure do indeed seem to be written into our job descriptions ... it's how we expand, how we grow ... and we must. And how terribly, horribly sad when people live that safe and stunted half-life ...!

Honestly, it's the worst thing I can imagine doing with this life...!

Some are sick and dying ... other are merely dealing with the terminal condition we call life.

This made me smile ... :)

How can I stay awake? What will it take for my longing for wakefulness to become stronger than my fear of change?

Ahhhh... the question of my here and now.

This book was written for
those in search of that shining soul - those who are willing to enter the woods of self-examination in order to retrieve what was never really lost...

Ohhhh yes!

The experience of change and transformation is never complete. something bigger and brighter always calls us to shine through us. We are continually challenged to change and grow, to break down and break through. The first big change made in the name of awakening can be destructive and traumatic. I wondered if so much pain could ever lead to anything good. Some of us need a cataclysmic event to find our way toward "the center of our own existence."

I've kinda-sorta lived a show-and-tell scenario of that one ...

Many of us feel uncomfortable revealing to others - and even to ourselves - what lies beneath the surface of our day to day consciousness.

And I would not be one of those ..! ;)

When you do something from your soul,
you feel a river moving in you,
a joy ...
~ Rumi

You can also feel that river flowing when you reach out and help someone in need, when you are in love, when you come through the fire of a difficult endeavor, or when you finally surrender to a painful situation -- when you stop fighting the fear and heartache, and you give over the reins to something greater. When you tire of your own constriction and you open, come what may, to the flow of life, you and your soul become one, and you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Yet so often we resist the pull of the river. We tune out the call of the soul... Perhaps if we quieted down and asked the soul for direction, we would be moved to make a big change. Maybe that wild river of energy, with its longing for joy and freedom, would capsize our more prudent plans, our ambitions, our very survival. Why should we trust something so indeterminate as a soul? And so we shut down. I know that feeling of deadness; I know how the river diverts itself and breaks through in other ways -- as a desire to blame, as an emotion of anger, as physical illness, as restlessness, or weariness, or self-destruction. The soul always speaks, and sometimes it speaks the loudest when we block its flow, when we live only half of a life, when we stay on the surface.

If we don't listen to the voice of the soul, it sings a stranger tune. If we don't go looking for what lies beneath the surface of our lives, the soul comes looking for us.

Oh wow ... what can I possibly add to that...?!?

Shalom & Namaste ~

1 comment:

MysticBrit said...

May Rumi's river bring you back to where you are, Dena, and may the scenery delight you:)