Sunday, June 23, 2013

Excerpt from a letter to a friend

From my current perspective, it feels like I'm only now beginning to see what this journey is all about. When it began, I very much thought it was about 'Becoming.' Although it wasn't clear exactly what I was going to become, I felt very strongly that by launching myself abroad and taking such a massive leap of faith I was embarking on a journey that would result in radical self-transformation. In retrospect, there was a flavor of desperation in the way I set out on this path - perhaps similar to our stereotypical idea of a man's mid-life crisis: he leaves his wife and kids, buys a motorcycle, and tries to forge a new identity because (for whatever reason) he can't accept the one he has. 

At this point, I think I'm beginning to see that this whole thing I'm doing is more about 'Acceptance.' I've gotten myself into some fairly unsustainable situations along the way, in many ways because I've been heavily invested in my own personal myth of 'Becoming...' 

...the idea that both my individual life and the world at large were fundamentally flawed and not ok as they were, and my self (as it was) was incapable of fixing either one of them. But by taking such a big risk I was enacting a demonstration of trust that the universe would respond to by transforming me into my new self, a self who would then be able to fix all the broken parts of both my individual life and the world at large.

In other words - I felt, deep down, and really, really strongly, that I wasn't good enough as I was. I felt I had to change, I felt I had to become something before I could be ok. Because my feelings about the world are just projections of my feelings about myself, I also felt that the world had to change, and that the world was not ok as it was. I wrapped all these feelings up into a ball and drop-kicked it over to Australia and, in my subconscious, I allowed this journey and this training program to represent the solution: by doing this, I was finally going to be able to fix myself. 

This whole time I've been expecting that big transformation. I kept looking for it out of the corner of my eye, never exactly sure what I was looking for but knowing I'd recognize it when it came. It never came, obviously, and it's not going to come... I'm still me, and always will be. There's no solution, because there's no problem - life isn't broken.

I still feel like it's broken sometimes, and I still feel like I'm broken sometimes - it's a habit I've indulged for a long time. But not I know that there's no 'answer,' there's no ultimate goal or achievement to search for, because the search itself is motivated by and built upon a flawed perception of reality. I'm just trying to remember that now, and do my best to be present to what is, as it is, and let go of the idea that life can fundamentally be fixed or improved. I mean, it can still be superficially fixed or improved: like getting a better job, or recovering after an injury, or making amends with someone you love. But what initially motivated me to begin this journey was a deep-rooted feeling that life (i.e. me) was somehow fundamentally flawed - that I was broken and no amount of superficial changes would fix me, I had to become an entirely new me before anything could be fixed. So it's a shift of perception on a foundational level, not a superficial one... which means I'll still be shouting "Hooray!" if I win the lottery.   :-)

So, that's where I'm at at the moment. I tried to give you the Reader's Digest version, but it's still quite a mouthful. You're so right about the poetry - I've got poetry-debt to quite a few people.I'll do what I can to repay yours now, with interest.

Shall we dance,
and caress 
with exquisite tenderness
whichever rhythm
we care to express -
or sit still,
and move less,
and know 
it's our presence
that says it best?

Should we move,
filled with truth of 
"Good God we're alive
and there's so much to do!"
or just be,
and be soothed
by the pulse in our veins
and heartbeat's simple truth?

Above all,
must we insist
on the choice
between either the two?

When we've stillness in movement
and strong motion in calm,
when we position ourselves
as a bridge of awareness
between moments
which used to be either
or 'FROM...'

When the fact
that there's nothing to do
erases the script
of what we thought we once knew, 
only then can life 
surprise audience
and players alike
in this supremely light-hearted
performance of: