I am trying to move back to California. I have been trying to do this since I left. I left nine years ago to be near to my mother who was at the end of her life. We had a very magical time together for a few years until she died. Once she died, I was frozen into a state of wax museum status. I couldn’t move either way, east or west. The thought of another cross country transfer was too tiring to consider. I waited and waited for some sign, some presence, transforming me into a knowledgeable creature. I was and am tired. I realize as people get older they resist change yet perhaps it is the very thing they should welcome. Change brings an ultra awareness of an environment and the need to adapt,seek information from it, and decide what to do. How to interact within it.Married people don’t usually change their environment at my age because they are settled within their own world. It is tiresome and tiring to change.Single people sometimes hold on to what they have and where they live as they feel letting go will deprive them of the dream they have held on to for a long time. The dream is safety and security and companionship. They don’t realize that this dream can only be actualized by learning to live safely within oneself. A happy life is one in which you feel nurtured and if you are nurturung yourself you are in control. That seems to be the most portable existence imaginable. I am yearning to be in California as it speaks to my soul and nourishes it.
After a holiday with friends and family I feel almost guilty writing about abandonment but I can’t help it. I am so blessed with wonderful family I shouldn’t complain. For those of us who live alone life can feel incredibly lonely at times and then again almost euphoric at other times. I struggle with abandonment a lot. It is one of those things we are not supposed to mention particularly in mixed company. It is not appropriate to speak of those harsh nights when you come home from work and know there is no one there to share your day with. Sometimes you go over in your mind your attractiveness quotient: how smart you are, lovely, sexually appealing, compelling, and still come up short for how could you be alone if all the previous categories were ranked on a high level? It is embarrassing to confess loneliness to anyone as it is an embarrassing condition. The world expects single people to remain silent on their condition. The world knows people who have partners are happier, healthier and generally more competent yet half the world is single. That is the interesting figure to me. Somewhere out there are many, many people who live alone and feel the same things I feel. That is what keeps me going.I think to myself I may be alone forever yet if I remember to remember there are so many other people who are living alone just as I am I feel comforted. I have to believe that someday I will find my heart’s desire: just like the beach in Robert Haas’s wonderful poem, he will arrive on my doorstep and I will know him. The trick is to continue to believe this will happen.
actually that phrase isn’t what I mean…joyous new year would be more appropriate. We have been living with so much anxiety even our daily family lives are not serene. Everyone is waiting for someone to decide we are safe once again in our world.Spending money seems very risky and trusting our financial system even riskier. I feel stuck in my life and have felt stuck for almost a year. Perhaps it is because I don’t know where to live and have no sense of which way to move: east or west. When I make decisions about my life I make them internally without any conscious thought. Some people make decisions rationally by making lists of positive versus negative and then tally the columns. Were I to do this it would be a waste of time as no matter what the columns added up to I would just do whatever I had instinctively felt all along. The frightening thing about this time period is that I have lost faith in my own instinct along with many others in the world.What we might have known and believed in a year ago seems irrational, false, shaky or just plain unclear. I am meditating on fiinding my own instinct again and following it. I feel more hopeful these days that I will make a good decision and find joy and peace within it. Sometimes a little forward motion gets the car in gear.
There is an article in the December issue of Tricycle Magazine on the concept of “Lenchat” which is described as the attachment we feel in certain relationships in this life which are painful or stressful and come from a relationship with this person in a past life. I found this article to be very helpful as the principle of Lenchat is to understand the connection we had with others in past lives that reoccurs in this life and causes us pain, and bewilderment. When we are caught in the dynamic of Lenchat we have a relationship in this lifetime that repeats patterns learned in other lifetimes. We feel the same bewildering pain and worry and do not have a rational approach to this person.It could be with a man or a woman: it doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is we replicate the pain. We jump to the aid of this person feeling anxiety about fulfilling their needs, not really understanding why we are connected so strongly to someone we barely know, or, in many cases, someone who is causing us pain by their treatment of the relationship. Lenchat explains to me the people I know who have caused me to use caller ID. They call me and I rush to see who is calling, knowing it is the person whose needs I can never meet and who will always seem angry to me. I peer nervously at the readout and see the number of the demanding one who I feel bound to and somehow believe I must obey, cater to, respond to, etc. The chase goes on. The pressure continues. The pain in my gut becomes more constant. I know that avoiding or ignoring the lenchat person will solve nothing. Eventually I will give in to this need of mine to connect, to believe once again in the power of change and goodness in this lifetime. I will be unable to let go of the feeling that only I can help this person be happy or safe or healthy.The author in Tricycle explains that in order to surmount Lenchat we must separate ourselves from this demanding dynamic and view it for what it is. He describes the origin of the term in Tibet by telling a story of a lake where every year on a certain day the seals in the lake collect and offer fish to the owls flying above. No one knows why this happens but it happens on a regular basis. The owls expect to be fed and are never satisfied, and the seals compulsively collect fish for hours offering it up to the skies, and exhaust themselves. I wonder if we all play an owl or a seal from time to time and I wonder how we stop. If identifying the problem is the beginning, the end might be noticing immediately the pain in my gut when I hear the voice of my owl, and understanding the fish giving will continue until I swim away.
The idea of a surplus of goods was not present in my family so even as adults we bicker and fight over who has more in their pile. At Christmas when we were kids we would each carefully count our pile of presents and then compare the number to other siblings instanting creating familiar pain inside ourselves. Many in my family are so angry and hurt they live their lives in this same way: still looking to see who has the most gifts in their pile. Sometimes I buy into this behavior. Sometimes I don’t. Things have gone so far down the road that many of us don’t even speak to eachother. One family member is in charge of this non speaking policy and carefully monitors all the others to make certain it is obeyed. I am always curious as to where her power comes from and I often see it is all of our fear of abandonment. Like animals, if we are fearful, we are vulnerable and lash out and try very hard to be the one who has the biggest weapon. I doubt there will be a disarmament policy in my lifetime and I pin my hopes on the next generation. This time of year when our hearts are open some in the family look for weapons and some look for love. I know that is why I work as a healer and isn’t it funny I have no power to heal the childhoods of my family?
No matter how I try I can’t escape it! That abandonment demon that sidles up to my shoulder, places her hand on my head, whispers ever so softly in my ear, ” You are alone again!”. Each time I realize I have again involved myself with another person who is incapable of intimacy, who is an alcoholic, who is emotionally removed, who can’t truly love me, I have to look at the amazing wall I have created around myself. I am actually a very creative builder: I use any raw material I can find: tears, anger, hate, joy or even ectascy. Like the little pig who built his house of bricks, mine is impenetrable. As I become “an older woman” , I am taking down the wall. It takes time. I have to move each piece far away to a recycling place where other defensive woman leave their debris. I have to carefully choose which brick I can remove without making the whole wall tumble. This work is tiring. Sometimes I give up and rest in the shadow the wall creates. Sometimes I am so excited at the deconstruction I race to the finish. Mostly I try to look at each brick and imagine who made it, how they did it, and if there was any joy.
Last night I had dinner with an inspiring man. Actually a well known, inspiring man yet I knew nothing about him prior to the event. I found him inspiring to look at from the moment he walked into the room and when I was seated next to him at dinner I felt as if I had known him always. Now, some people might find this a fanciful statement, yet I believe there are those people we come across in our lifetimes whom we have known before, in other lifetimes. I knew I had known this man before and wanted to take his hand and walk out into the city and sit somewhere in a cosy corner and find out what his life had been like in this lifetime as I felt I knew about the others. All of this in about one minute came and went in my mind and I think I am lucky to be able to believe in dreams and other lives as in doing this I am able to understand these odd situations I sometimes find myself in. A connection with someone is magic and a great gift and I am content with that. In the light of day I have learned the man is a well known hero of sorts, a great negotiator, as well as a passionate healer in the world. I am not surprised. I am glad I am traveling these days with an open heart and a path that seems to direct itself.
When I began to watch the news last evening about India I was transfixed: it seemed so frightening to me that a place like Mumbai or a hotel like the Taj would be under attack. The video’s of people struggling to find a safe place and the recorded sounds of gunfire and explosions were terrifying to watch. At first it seemed unreal and very far removed from our daily lives, but then a reporter who was from India stated calmly that the attack was as if a band of terrorists had entered time square, shot our civilians and forcibly entered the Plaza Hotel(or the equivalent as it no longer exists). When I heard her say this I was almost paralysed by the understanding that she was correct. The world we live in today is not safe anywhere and nothing can be taken for granted. Just as some day, when I have grandchildren, I will tell them of the time when we were able to stand under running water in the shower for hours if we wanted, I am certain we are watching on television things that will become more and more common. We are living in a world where differences seem monumental and borders , though blurred, create rage and fear among groups of people. Just as water will become a luxury we can no longer waste, so will the assumption that peace and safety are a natural and deserved part of our daily lives. As Americans we have been sheltered from war but not terrorism. As Americans we have been less than mindful in spreading our peacemaking philosophy throughout the world. Now is the time to try harder to do this by developing compassion towards others and spreading that compassion to everyone around you. There is an article in the New York Times this morning written by Nickolas Kristof about the bravery of some woman called “The Bravery of Heroes”. I think everyone should read this piece as it inspires those who do to get involved in unjust and violent behavior. I think we need to begin right now.
The funniest thing about life is the jokes you don’t get for a long time. The funniest joke to me is the fact that we really have no control over anything, least of all ourselves. I have spent so much time worrying about what I said or did and how it would affect someone else. What that other person thought of me, how I could change what that other person thought of me. Tonight I was reading Warren Buffet’s new biography, which is very interesting by the way, and he spoke of how one is scripted in life: whether it be from the outside or the inside. If on is scripted from the inside one lives life for oneself: the achievements are noted and taken in by one’s own psyche. Most parents raise kids to be scripted by the world in terms of what achievements mean and what is important. We praise our kids for accomplishing things that are meaningful to the community rather than encouraging kids to find what is meaningful to them. Many really successful people I have known are interested only in what they look like to the world: they have little inner life nor have they developed real relationships with others. They are always moving on from successes looking for the next thing they “should” do for their lives to look really good. I am really trying to learn what makes me proud of myself and then enjoy it when it happens.