Thursday, October 28, 2010

That (Stinkin') Journey ...

Learn the alchemy
true human beings know.
The moment you accept
what troubles you've been given,
the door will open.
~ Rumi

Soooo ... how does one launch into that journey from Once-Born to Twice-Born wisdom...? Where's that covert courage required to make a big change ...? How can we tap into the power of a challenging struggle, in order to fuel growth?

I find that it helps to remember that I am not alone in this endeavor. The feeling of isolation is an illusion -- albeit a persistent one. Most often a self-imposed one.

I envision all of us walking around, imagining that our struggles are unique ... that our pain is shameful (& therefore must. be. hidden.) ... that our eccentricities and "failures" and longings are exceptional ... we compare our insides to others' outsides, and we surmise that we ought to work harder at measuring up to some imaginary (egoic) standard.

So, we hide out -- and we miss out.

I love how Susan Lesser articulates it (oh she is a sublime word-artist!):
We become voyeurs of the kinds of experiences that our own souls are longing to have. We have the real opportunity to live fully, with passion and meaning and profound satisfaction. It is our birthright to uncover the soul -- to remove the layers of fear or shame or apathy or cynicism that conceal it.

When I read this, I had to put the book down, and just breathe ... I had to allow the welling-up emotions to overflow out of my heart, and onto my lap ... and as I gazed on them, as I felt them, I then became acutely aware of far-deeper emotions ... seemingly lodged in the depths of my gut -- as if locked away in the dungeon of my subconsciousness -- banished feelings, buried where no light can shine ... except ... every so often, the words of another can serve as a permission-catalyst ... coaxing them out, into the open, to be witnessed, experienced, and released ...

Why do we hide ourselves from others? From ourselves? Why do we imagine that this is a secret, when we're all doing it? Rumi calls this the "Open Secret" ... our secret underbelly ... our fears, shames, pains, weaknesses ... but each of us has this "shadow self" ... this bumbling bozo side ... that bad-tempered "evil twin" ... that unkind jerkish reactionary "part" ...

Just like you, I wonder if life has meaning; I worry and fret over things I can't control; and I often feel overcome with a longing for something that I cannot even name. For all of my strengths and gifts, I am also a vulnerable and insecure person, in need of connection and reassurance. This is the secret I try to keep from you, and you from me, and in doing so we do each other a grave disservice.

I am that. I am both open and vulnerable. Strong and insecure. Self-aware and in need of reassurance. Solitude-craving, and connection-hungered. I am a walking dichotomy. Coming together, and falling apart.

Ohhh, for a world (or even a relationship!), wherein people can get downright real. Where permission is given, and received, to just BE. Messy and all. Thick in the middle of sloppy processing. Free. Accepted. Seen. Loved anyway.

Most of us pound on the door to freedom and happiness with every manipulative ploy save the one that actually works. If you're interested in opening the door to the heavens, start with the door to your own secret self. See what happens when you offer to another a glimpse of who you really are. Start slowly. Without getting dramatic, share the simple dignity of yourself in each moment -- your triumphs and your failures, your satisfaction and your sorrow. Face your embarrassment at being human, and you'll uncover a deep well of passion and compassion. It's a great power, your Open Secret. When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you both can walk through the open door.

I don't know how else to live ... I got excommunicated from my old ways of coping, and there's no going back.

So, on I go, into the fearsomely-alluring wildness of the uncharted territory ... onward through the woods.

Anyone else in here with me...? Reach out your hand in the dark ... if only for a moment.

Shalom & Namaste ~

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