Sometimes you may come to a point in life where the things you thought you liked, don’t really fill you up anymore…well, not completely. And the things you thought you were, aren’t…. completely. You may find yourself in a sort of no-man’s land of where to go and what to do and who to be… because somewhere inside you know… there is much, much, more than what you see.  So you hover around, waiting for something to happen, and it doesn’t, so you think some more, and make a new plan, and it still doesn’t happen.

At that point you may have hit, a wall. That wall is made of old, dense (but rotten) bricks.  And you may find that you are STUCK in this room you used to like (that has become both dull and restrictive)… and now, you really begin… to hate it. So you bloody your knuckles trying to hammer down that wall bit by bit, and you scream and you cry and you fight, using every last ounce of strength you have. Until you are so weak and so uncertain you may feel like completely giving up… everything… completely.

And then…when you’re down there on the floor… you finally learn what was so simple all along, you just… let go… of everything.   You let go of everything you thought you knew and everything you thought you liked and everything you thought you were.  They’re still there, you’re just not clutching their tails anymore.  And then, something magical may happen.

You may just put on your invisibility cloak and realize that you can pass right through that wall.  And what waits on the other side?  Oh, just the bottomless potential of time-less LOVING empty space.  A black hole of possibilty.  Of course you can still pass back and forth, through that wall, as you like… and you may do just that, when it suits you.  The old room is always there to re-visit and play in and tidy up as needed, but now, it’s up to you to decide when to come and go.

And the search to recover your spirit in a multi-dimensional existence is an ongoing, infinite adventure…

Sometimes I grow so lost inside the miniscule details of life that I am overwhelmed with an intense pressure, as if everything behind everything were attempting to climb inside the black holes of my eyes…. Pushing them wide with two hands and penetrating me.  It slowly trickles from eye to throat to chest as everything behind everything starts to fill me up.  All that’s behind her eyes or his or the crow’s: the secret motivations, the darkness and violence ever so slightly covered, but just bordering divinity, within.  And when my eyes and insides ache from being pillaged by this sudden obtrusive awareness I will glance out to the sea and sand and suddenly a world that existed before as a flat landscape seems to expand into multi-dimensional solidity, as the wooden chair in front of me bleeds with life, the crow laughing on its arm-rest breathes deeply with the ebb of the sea.  Everything right there, every, thing, imploding into itself and exploding back out again, bursting at invisible seams.

It’s always been like this, the craving to know all through feeling all, to take everything behind everything inside of me, because it’s already there, because nothing is not, already there.  To breathe into the dissolution until my form loosens and becomes malleable and vibratory, so then everything behind everything can pass through without becoming lodged in any covered corners.  Blow off the dust with a breath… as I lift my face to the sky and swallow the taut invisible elastic that links all things, together.  That density that presses into my dress seeking a boundary as the breeze blows through it, as drops of water from the leaking ceiling find a way to roll over my body, subtle as glass.  I am selfish for these pleasures.

And because I am selfish I chew the richness of the air, so thick I must swallow it in large gulps.  And I am content, only when overwhelmed by the enormous simplicity of all this, existence.  When it tramples me with it’s secrets and allows me just one moment, one fractional glimpse of it’s nourishment.  And thoughts only float by, dissolved as quickly as they are created.  It is a craving almost sexual, the union of everything becoming one as feeling explodes into form.  Because there is also the lie within it, a physical manifestation of this everything behind everything, inside of you, a phenomenon of the most graceful simplicity… the potential that collides when spirit meets material. This simple pleasure (the joy of just being, intimately, with everything else) and this alone, is what is missing from our lives, most of the time…and we seek and seek and seek, living inside the illusion of our separate stories without knowing anything at all, without feeling that it is already, already there.

The black stream that falls in perfect symmetry from the coffee pot, my glass of water dancing with the vibrations of the music from downstairs.  The tiny ant that runs from the napkin I write on, over my hand, the blonde hairs dense and jungle-like to it’s miniscule body, lost, the way we are lost.  And I am the source looking at it with Love as the source looks at us.   And so on and on.

Then a crowd forming on the beach to my right, the energy of some terrible act as I see blood streaming from a young girls face and over her outstretched hands.  The sea plowed her into the sand, proving its power, so we must never doubt, how quickly everything behind everything can move to violence.  As the crows feathers turn from iridescant purple to deep black, as they raise from it’s hunched back, the knife-life beak threatening to wound my eyes as it screams its song.  How all I see now both attracts and terrifies me.  I feel the girl in her pain and confusion, nose throbbing and a stiff ache in her neck, hundreds of Indian people gathered around to offer help as she falls limp into the sand.  I feel her as if she were me, and nausea overtakes my body at the breakfast table… a warning that I must be stronger in my container, more dense before I try to take in everything behind everything.  Or else like a tiny reed I am blown to pieces by the enormity of the wind with all it’s ether.

(panchakarma day two)

Kavadi Attam is performed during the festival of Thaipusam to emphasize a release from bondage. The Kavadi is a physical representation of a burden carried to implore for help from Murugan (the Tamil God of War). Devotees cleanse themselves through prayer and fasting for 48 days before Thaipusam, observing celibacy and eating only pure, Satvik food, once a day, while meditating on God. On the day of the festival, they begin a pilgrimage, carrying various types of kavadi, represented as 'burdens' to release. This may be as simple as carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with skewers is common. As well as carrying elaborate and heavy decorated canopies on the shoulders with a spear through the tongue to prevent speaking and give endurance. Yeee... (and we have Santa Claus?)

…and the scars on your heart will be worn like those on your knees, the sacred flaws that make you human, used and broken in by life’s stumbles.  For perfection is nothing but an empty glass on a shelf, up and out reach.  The cup reserved for company that never comes, sitting dusty and un-loved.

Laying in the very back seat of the minivan, my head squished into a feather pillow and the ‘bear blanket’ cross stitched by mamaw wrapped around my shoulders (before my shoulders knew knots.)  I rested in that heavenly cocoon of childhood, blissfully untouched by the claws of anxiety.   You must remember, when naivety sheltered you from the weighted bags life eventually lends you, like hand me down sweaters.

I was a shameless little piggy, eager for the adoration of my elders, parents, any grown up with a real opinion.  Those my own age often seemed crass and self-centered.  It was torture at times to be forced to join in playground games, that roughness I could not fake.  Anyone younger became practice for the five children I’d someday have, vulnerable ones to protect and defend.  And lugging around babies almost a big as me, my tiny frame would bend, like a reed in a thunderstorm.

But piggies and know it alls and mother hens may also hide a vivid imagination.  If we really go back, the key to our souls could lay in childhood, where our identities have already made their imprints into the clay, never really changing shape as we age, but rather expanding, allowing more and more notches to be carved into its base, more space to hold water.

It was these moments that are most memorable to me, and I see them again now, on the same drive we made then.  The memories that no one could see.  In the farthest back seat, pressing play on my Walkman, five hours through Alabama, Mississippi, and onto Nana’s house.  No one asking questions, nothing to do, or say, no games to play or babies to coddle.  Free to sit tucked away in my cocoon, to listen to a tune, and dream time away.

Every hill we passed, I rolled down, the grass raising welps into my sensitive allergy ridden skin.  The miniature Statue of Liberty in Birmingham was a goddess, beckoning us forward to say, ‘Don’t give up!  You’re almost there….’  Each blanket of kudzu covering the trees, I would climb, allowing it to catch me like a net once I finally decided let go and fall, my stomach doing somersaults.  And I did.  Staring into the other cars on the highway, the red ones were my favorite, so novel, nothing like the bulky mini van that carried us inside her.  I’d stare at those other people, smelling the scent of their necks, my favorite scent (besides ta-ta), and pretending they were my other parents, my other sisters, wondering what they ate for dinner and if they preferred toilet paper or baby wipes, as I did.  I sucked my thumb with abandon because  back there, no one could see, what a baby I was.  The same thumb I hid at school, tucked into my palm so others wouldn’t catch sight of the callous, swollen, damp and ugly.

In my imagination I was everything all at the same time, and everywhere I could see, interwoven with each stimulus to my senses.  Some moments the music would pull me back into the car and guide my meditations.  I would enter the songs the way I entered the trees, and the fifties were my favorite.  I was the Shangri-las crying over ‘the leader of the pack’. And I did, sadness surging through me as I too watched the love of my life being smashed off his motorcycle.  I was seven. I understood.  I was ‘the great pretender,’ wearing my smile like a second coat of deodorant.   And I would, masquerading, just to see how it felt. (Kind of like dodgeball did.)

Sometimes I would fall so deeply into these musings that hours would pass without breaking my concentration.  Unless of course I needed a pee break, which I had been trained to do in cups, in the back, so we wouldn’t need to stop eighteen times in one journey.  (I still practice this method.)  And even then I could be back in my cocoon within minutes, back to my free space, where all the dots seemed to connect and disperse simultaneously, and following one thought led to another and another until where I started had long been forgotten.

Then I wouldn’t even notice Mallorie hanging over the edge of the seat in front of me, blonde corkscrews popping out of head, her lips and chin bloody with kool-aid.  Not until she reached over with her stubby tanned fingers and grasped at my feet, lifting them up so the bottoms became frames for her round face, squishing her cheeks.  I could see her lips moving and her mouth gaping with laughter to show her baby teeth, as she’d throw her head back, still holding tight to my ankles, her chewed fingernails scratching the skin.  I didn’t need to take out my head phones to be able to hear her voice as it lisped, ‘I loooove your theeet!’ The joke that never got old, and was never that funny.  But always brought me back.  And I love her for that.

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