Nourishing the Soul

Many years ago, I purchased this book called Nourishing the Soul: Discovering the Sacred in Everyday Life, it is an anthology of essays by various writers including Jack Kornfield, Thomas Moore, and Joan Borysenko.  I was looking for some non-fiction late last night an picked it up again.  I read through some of the essays I have read and marked up, it is yet another book I started and never finished.  I wonder sometimes about this arrest of my spiritual growth.  I remember at one point saying ah this is all bunk.  I don’t exactly remember why.  I want to blame it on my ex saying I was crazy and then going into therapy.  (That therapist eventually quit because in her own words she had reached a point where she really didn’t care much about her patients problems anymore and she was not doing a good job treating them.   I have said over and over how wonderful the one I have seen off and on over the last two years is,  in many ways he is the one that brought me back to this book, to this journey of the soul.  Both have said unequivocally that there was something not right about the ex though, the former word for word, the latter who met him was more diplomatic, and more specific.)  I have to accept this I guess as a mystery because for the life of me I have the idea that the “you are nuts you need therapy” comment said in the heat of an argument about his emotional absenteeism is what precipitated it, but I cannot pin it down in my mind.

I read this that I had not underlined “…the investigation of the nature and meaning of life’s difficult passages leads them unrelentingly and directly to the locus (soul-home), this archway through which lies the original land of the soul itself.  Disillusionment about a person or an idea,the suffering of a great loss, an ongoing torture or injustice these are the most well-defined passages that lead, push and even force us to remember “soul” home. ”  further that “Life is the teacher that shows up when the student is ready.” and that “Life is often the only teacher we are given that is perfect in every way.”

I am struck deeply by much of what I have read, the idea that we have a second life that we can choose to live, that is difficult and not an easy path to take.  The path of the soul journey.  In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he talks about the secondary roads, like Frost’s The Road Less Traveled, this life breaks away from the main trail, from the straight and narrow.  We all have a path to walk, and many of us are stuck in the urbanized and enculturated chasm of emptiness, not the empty satiety of sunyata, but the emptiness of soul, of spirit, the leaking vessel, the broken and unrelenting ugliness of a shallow shell of beauty that hides only darkness, emptiness, hungry ghost like wraiths who are but squirming worms.  I find myself awakening to this self that has always existed.  I find that my life has taught me this.  That I already knew.  It is beautiful this lesson.  As it comes to me, I see it beautifully and with perfection.  I want to call my ex and tell him thank you for bringing me this gift.  You were the teacher, and I was a faithful student to this lesson.  I won’t though, I cannot, he would not understand.

There are those in this culture who embrace a false beauty of the external.  No wonder people turn from this path, this path of inner beauty, of repudiation of external perfection.  It goes against everything the media, our friends, our lovers, our children, our neighbors and really so so many people wants us to embrace.

I remember how confident I was once on this alternative path.  Then when I met the ex something shifted.  I was never good enough on the outside, I was supposed to color my hair, wear nail polish, wear heels and fancy sexy bras.  Before that I was a tie dyed bra-less hippie chick, barefoot, and carefree.  I look at his coiffed and polished new woman and I can never compare.  But I have met her and there is a deep ugliness in her soul.  I actually was pretty adamant at one point that we no longer spend time with this group of people because they were bad people, lying, selfish, self absorbed, one of them was named Damien and I likened that person to the one from The Omen.  But I still tried to fit into this image, this external idea that has never been me.  And I lost myself there for a long time.  In thinking of this I find myself realizing that is why he always bought me brown leather bags and shoes, brown dresses and polka dots.  He never saw the real me, only some image he had conjured for himself, something that fit in with some other world, a culture of people that do not match up with what is inside of me.  I know that everyone in this world has their place, but I cannot help but see that so many really are lost.  They actually believe this illusion of self.  This idea that they are separate and that external beauty is what really matters.  This path of working on the inner beauty seems so much more rewarding to me than salons, tanning beds and fad-ish clothing.  It is not that I don’t want to look nice on the outside, but that I want the work of my life to be on what will truly satisfy my eternal self.

I see it so clearly now.  I know I am back again and again to this ex-husband, but if feels different today, rather than crying out for understanding I am crying out IN understanding.  I get it now.

I know now what I have to do.  I have been experimenting with the empty calories and empty things, in empty alteration of my consciousness too.  I have to nourish my body now.  I have to keep myself from those little experiments too, the ones that numb my pain.  It is time to embrace this beautiful life.  It is time to embrace my inner perfection.

The Power of God

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The morning was brisk and cool but I was sleepy and didn’t feel like heading out so early.  As I drive my daughter to school I notice that the leaves are starting to change.  I decide to read another chapter of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance out back with her as she does her homework.  Wow it is really hot out here.  I go to the high school where my friend Joe has been hired to teach Photography and 3-D art.  I can see his tension.  He is quiet actually for once, reserved.  I look at his wife bug eyed, he is really stressed I say, I have never seen him this way.  We all go out for pizza.  It is mid afternoon but I really want to hike so I get the dog.  On my way to the park I see a dump truck.  It is rusty as all get out, and moving slowly up the steep hill.  I take out my camera and snap a picture.  If that represents the power of God we are in some seriously deep trouble.  At the park I look back and see the sunlight at the top of a small rocky rise.  I think this is more like God how I see it anyway.

There is a small chipmunk on the path and he slowly lopes off as we come around the corner.  I walk on but notice the dog is not with me.  I am calling him thinking he is pestering the chipmunk.  Come NOW! I command but he isn’t coming.  SANCH! Come Now!  Nope.  Huh that’s weird.  I back track and find him stuck with his hind legs down inside one of the cracks.  With two hands I take his neck by the scruff and give him a very slight tug and he pulls himself out.  If he had to he would have done it on his own the big baby.  I pat him and give him the dog version of the hug.  Pull him against my knees and pat him.  He won’t look at me.

On the path headed back to the parking lot, there is a patch of puffballs.  They are pretty small the biggest maybe tennis ball sized.  I remember the one I saw when my daughter was little. It was about the size of a basketball.  I went home and told my neighbor.  He made cajun puffball.  It was the texture of soft tofu.  I didn’t really like it, but I would eat it if I was hungry enough.

I am hot and sweaty.  But I feel great.  I feel really great.

Today is the first day

I like that expression, today is the first day of the rest of your life.  It feels like tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of my life.  But not so much today.  I think tomorrow I will go hiking, tomorrow I will actually eat something that takes time to wash and prepare, tomorrow I will put on a little moisturizer and mascara, tomorrow I will engage in my life.  But I actually engaged in my life all day long.  I am not eating much basically because everything I eat is disagreeing with my stomach.  I haven’t felt great for about 5 days.  Not sick, but like my belly, let me amend that, my terribly sensitive belly, is off.   I am about to go downstairs in a minute and make homemade peach crisp with lots of oatmeal and sunflower seeds.  I think I will make my favorite salad of cucumber slices and kidney beans with raspberry vinaigrette while the crisp is baking.

I talk to J. today too.  It was not a deep conversation by any means but it made me smile. I was annoyed talking to my Mom.  Sorry Mom, I know she reads my blog.  I want to teach her how not to talk to me.  I want to ask her how is your husband, have you talked to your brother recently, how is your friend, how is your neighbor.  I guess she is like Ben who thinks in terms of space, this person sat here this person was over their and this other person had gone for a walk when such and such happened.  Maybe my Mom only relates to people in regards to whom they have interacted with recently.  Me I relate to the world with things created, thoughts thought, and hopes and dreams, even when I think my dream feels nightmarish.

I wrote a few more pages on a story I am working on.  I have had it in mind for a long time.  But now here I am writing it bit by bit.  Later I went outside, said a three rounds on my prayer beads, apologizing to Morgan for the huge argument we had, apologizing to RT for what I did to make him not want to talk to me anymore.  I also ask the Universal Being to guide me, to help me to see the signs, and to accept my life with gratitude and surrender.  After I say the prayer beads, is it 98 times per round?  I have never counted.  I sit quietly in the chair watching pieces of black walnut rain down from a sycamore branch, watching the birds at the feeder.  Waving away flies.  Watching the squirrel scamper by with another nut. I think, what was that book I was reading earlier, I want to get back to it, I wonder what is going to happen next.  Maybe I am only writing this story for myself, I laugh out loud when I realize that is the story I am thinking of.  Then I start to reread Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, which I last read 21 years ago.  It is mosquitoey out back.  Which annoys me.  And since I have had a handful of lemon wafers, about 15 french fries, two boiled eggs, two beers and a pot of coffee today, (plus one bite of Utica-greens) I think I should probably start that dinner.  I come in thinking yes tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.  I become tangled in the dog’s leash, and realized that right now is the first second of the rest of my life.

It has been a good day.  I think I will ride my exercise bike and then knit for a while between the salad and the peaches.

Feeling Fierce

I re-met this guy recently.  Lets just say that I am floored by the way he acted too.  He was relentless in his pursuit, calling me, texting me, asking me out, I kept saying no.  When I finally said okay, lets get together, things went great.  He is wonderful, really we have much in common, he isn’t perfect by any means.  I am definitely smarter than he is, I think I tend to hang out with people that are of a better class, which in the end doesn’t matter much to me, he has some issues too hasn’t had a great romantic experience, is in long term recovery.  Whatever, I accept him as he is.  He loves art, music, nature, his kids, he works hard, takes care of his family, doesn’t drink or use drugs, never cheated on a partner.  Okay good so far.  But the minute I welcomed him in and said sure lets hang, he immediately started to pull away.  Withdrawing, canceling on me, snatching his arm away when, as I do, I touch it.  Wow.  Okay.  Later a:  I really like you Meg you are special to me, but jeez I cannot talk to you now blow off.  I reacted in a way that I can only sum up as:

“Any insistence that people or circumstances meet our exact expectations is not faith but another effort at control, bound to end in disappointment.” Sharon Salzberg from “Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience”

Okay so I did over-react, like if you are interested then be interested, if not seriously leave me alone.  I guess I got what I wanted because he is seriously giving me the kiss off.

I feel really fierce right now, like a how dare you act all so interested until I returned the interest.  Thinking he is a man, but he isn’t he is boy still.  Give me a break.  He says he still wants to have the opportunity to hang out with me but refuses to speak to me for the most part.   Be honest with people, you aren’t protecting my feelings here, you are just seriously pissing me off.  Well good because suddenly I find myself in this new place.  Which I will sum up as this:

“I am a handful! I am strong willed, independent, and outspoken, I make mistakes, sometimes I am out of control and sometimes hard to handle, but if you cannot accept me at my worst, then you sure as F___don’t deserve me at my best. And my best is spectacular.”

– because truly I am spectacular.  And I know from my experience with J. that if a man truly loves you, he will love you relentlessly and without condition, there are no regrets at all and no matter how much of a shit I may be in reaction to something that pisses me off, seriously, like a major blow off, he comes back for more again and again.  Would that J. did not drink himself into oblivion more or less daily but at least he taught me this small lesson.  I call him late at night.  He makes me laugh and he is laughing too.  But sober which is how I like him best.  I remember his lesson in this moment and I feel even more fierce than ever.

I take this lesson from this boy: If you don’t want what I have to offer, which really is something wonderful: faithfulness, loyalty, and unconditional love not just for you but for the people you love too, then fine, go off by yourself.  I am fierce today, and your blow off brought me to this place which I already had built, thanks for helping me find the door.

A damn good knife

I am finding it difficult right now to put everything that I am going through into words.  I find that only songs can express what is inside my soul, so many little tunes that are floating in and out of my mind, weaving through it, like the fine hairs of wool twisting into a long cord of notes.  Knitting a scarf of song that wraps around cozy and warm and flows out behind me like a long train. I close my eyes and the fabrics in my cluttered collection form themselves into little animal visions.  My hand finds a pen and it winds itself across my page thick and thin the black lines and white spaces like sitting in meditation the white the space between my thoughts, my thoughts scattered around the blank page in long flowing patterns that have no meaning and then form themselves into tiny pictures that pop out and then are gone again.

Tempered Steel.  He says it and it forms a small cocoon around my body.   You have become a damn fine knife he says.  I am a good knife forged in a very hot fire.  We joke about zombies being “life impaired”, but my mind is wrapping around that idea, tempered steel, I am unwrapping the words like a hard candy, popping it in my mouth savoring them tasting them.  I tell my friend who is still in the forge, that this is what will come of it for her, you will be tempered steel, a good knife.  Being able to counsel her is like polish on my knife.  I think I might be getting it.  Which zen master was it that found enlightenment in the smell of an incense stick?  This candy is wholesome tasting in my mouth.  It isn’t enlightenment, but it becomes a lit incense stick.

I have this recurring dream that I am walking through the woods and I come to a stream I realize I have been here before but it is also my first time in the way of dreams.  I dive in knowing the current is strong, I come to a long tunnel under the water I take a deep breath and I am scared that I won’t make it through to the other side before I run out of air but then I wake up and I never see if I make it.  Tonight I want to dream that I have come out the other side, and I want to stand up and throw the water off my hair in sparkling droplets in the golden sunshine.

You ask me what would give my life meaning, where might I find the right companion, and I have no answers for you.  I know that I am searching for that laughing place, the briar patch.  I know it involves being outside, that perhaps there is music involved and art.  I know it involves intellectual conversations with people that read.  I know that my companion will be willing to put aside the wasted time in his life to be with me,  that I will turn and he will be there, that he will seek me out and I will willingly travel to be in his arms.  That I will have faith that he cares for me I won’t have to ask.   He must be strong and tender and a man, he would do anything not to let me down, and will find my quirkiness to be quaint and lovely.  I know whom I am and know I will be a good woman for him.  I ask the universe to send it my way and when it doesn’t come I cry.  I know that sometimes the universe’s answer is no.  That is what makes me cry the hardest.  What have I done wrong?  I come up with nothing.  I love my people freely and willingly, I am a good person, I am strong and funny and pretty.

I have to dive in, I know the tunnel is there and the current will carry me through.  I can almost feel the sunlight on my sparkling face.  I am a damn good knife.

Make your own sunshine

The rain is pouring down.  I am so cold, I am shivering under my blankets, it is night.  Earlier today I felt so tired that I just lay down on the hardwood floor.  It was comforting.  Now my pillows are not soft and fluffy the way I like them, just hard and awkward.  I reach for my phone and try to think whom I should call.  Really I shouldn’t call anyone.  I am just a stupid girl.  I need to get beyond being a stupid girl.

I delete names and numbers from my phone.  I don’t want to call this person or that person.  Why must I be a perpetual cornball what the hell is wrong with me.  You are only supposed to show a heart this big to people who have your back.

The rain is flooding the streets and the cellars.  I am supposed to be building an ark but I think it might be too late.  Besides I only have one dog and three cats.  How can you make an ark with that?  I think I might be crazy.  I realize I probably am.  The decking of the ark feels good against my body.  Its cool but somehow warmer than the air.

How do you make sunshine out of rain?  How can you create light in the darkness?  I withdraw into the shadows satisfied for some sick reason with my prison.

This empty vessel

Ambiguity is another word for uncertainty.  I find myself seeking certainty in one small area of my life but I am not really sure why.  I tend to let things unfold as they come, I tend to do things not so much spontaneously because that implies, at least to me a certain bubbleyness that really isn’t me.  I tend to let the cards fall as they may.  It works.  In its own way.  But I am at this place in my life where I want it to have meaning.  It doesn’t have to have a long lasting meaning, I don’t have to leave my mark on the world.  I just want it to have meaning to me.  But I am struggling with this, it feels meaningless.  And the thing that I think will give it meaning for some oddly ludicrous reason is love.  But the thing is I know love doesn’t give it meaning, I know love is just a distraction, but the distraction, the other is to go places with and do things with, to look forward to.  It is something other than just spending all of your time alone making choices by yourself.

So what do you do?  You find yourself realizing that romantic love is or at least has always been a futile exercise for yourself.  And you are stuck in this place where all you do is work and pay bills and dick around.  You know you have to stop dicking around and do something, but nothing in this world is free.  And you’ve been doing it alone so long that the aloneness is boring.  And at this moment  I realize that I am bored with myself.  One of the problems of an underused intellect, or the fact that  you can only search inside yourself so long before you realize yep okay.  Thats me, I am not going to change too drastically from here on out.  What do other people have to offer? Problem is other people are exploring themselves still or whatever, there is no obligation or desire to spend time with little old me, so I am here.  I meditate do yoga, it all seems so pointless.

Volunteer they say, but I volunteer for my work.  Yes I get paid, but at the end of the work day I have given so much of my emotional self that I have nothing left, it’s like the rough dregs of camp coffee, there are bits and pieces floating in my emotional reserve but it is basically undrinkable.  So what comes next, aren’t you curious?  I am not really curious at all, because what appears to come next is further working, sleeping and paying bills.  Alone.  And I am just not interested in that next.  It bores me.  There is certainty in it.  They say that uncertainty breeds creativity.  And here is where ambiguity separates from uncertainty.  Ambiguity is so non specific.  It holds back with intention the purpose.  Is it to teach you something?  Why does it hold itself in reserve?  I think of the esoteric teachings of Zen and I am wondering if in fact it is trying to teach you something.  Here is my question though.    Can you not just experience it live or love  full and not have it carry a lesson?

I am an empty vessel, and I have a rather large hole in the bottom of this vessel.  Nothing seems to fill it up.  I want to shatter the vessel with absolute aplomb and move on.  It is after all leaking like a motherfucker and it is basically useless to begin with, after all, all it does is work and sleep and pay bills.

From Ryeder’s Weblog

“The Ten Axioms of Choice Theory

1. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
2. All we can give another person is information.
3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
5. What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World.
7. All we do is behave.
8. All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology
9. All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.
10. All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.

The bottom line is that you and only you determine the quality of your life by the choices you make.  Continue to dream and to reach for what you want in life.  If your dream is strong enough, you will reach your destination.”

http://ryeder.wordpress.com/  This blog is one of my favorites.

Sign Post

I am wordless, for more than a day.  I find my mind is trying to wrap itself around something that has appeared on this hazy path I have been on.  There is this voice inside my head, inside my heart, it is telling me something but I am plugging my ears and saying lalala I don’t want to hear this.  lalala. I trust this voice, but I also don’t trust it.  Sure there have been other sign posts.  Passers by that said they knew the way and I took their hand for a few steps and said no, I don’t think you do know the way.  It is maybe a deeper issue of trust.  Maybe they do know the path but I cannot trust that they do.  I see and hear what is being said, I hear it and I say maybe for once it is the right thing.  I ask my dead father and my dead grandfather to intervene.  I ask God to point me in the right direction.  Then I say screw that and ask the Goddess, because God doesn’t seem to be listening to me these days.  Maybe he has better things to do.  Like help my ex husband and his girlfriend or something.  He just isn’t sending me what I ask for, not guidance, not surrender, not hope, not even faith.

I can do this alone.  I can.  I just want to do it with something real standing by my side.  No apparitions, no zombies or sheep, I have so many wonderful friends, and my family too.  The men that hold me and protect me and tell me how beautiful I am, inside and out.  Those men who do not want to make love to me.  I bury my face in my pillow. I am this person. I am right here. My eyes are closed but the apparition is still there.  It is hard and real.  There is no mist and no shadow.  I reach out my hand.  The apparition turns and leaves.  I am a black swan, silently floating on crystal waters.  I am the apparition.

Eat, Pray, Love, or Lean Cuisine, Drive, Work.

I have had this on my mind for days.  Someone was blogging, a feminist which I once considered myself, about how we all hate Elizabeth Gilbert or whatever her name is because we secretly hate women…or some bullcrap.  This is why I hate this book and I haven’t even read it.

When real women get a divorce, they don’t go to Italy and eat, they go on a diet because they realize that most men trawling for women won’t date you if you aren’t athletic and slim, or slender, or I guess emaciated.  Real women don’t go to India to visit an ashram, if they are lucky they might be able to squeeze in a few days at church a year or maybe yoga, if the kids are young enough to not complain or old enough to leave at home alone.  Real women don’t find love again right away, their ex’s do.  Usually before their dicks are dry and the bed is cold.  Generally while their dicks are still wet and the pillow still has your hair on it.

Real women don’t have the option of traveling around the world on a fabulous book advance, we usually have to sell or refinance a house, are scraping by to put boxed mac and cheese on the table, forget fresh pasta in Tuscany.  I want someone to write a book about how real women cope with the loss of their marriages.  How real women struggle with figuring out whom they are while taxi-ing kids to dance lessons and getting to work even though they can hardly get out of bed with their grief.

I want to know how real women find love when the single men over forty are single for a reason.  They are broke, dead beats, porn addicts, losers, , drug addicts and alcoholics, at least the one I have met with nothing but the highest of hopes have been.  There is no Mr. Right waiting for me in Bali, or in my driveway, at Barnes and Nobles, at Match.com, or in the park.  And no matter how hard this woman tries I will never be athletic and trim or slender or emaciated. I am voluptuous, curvy, strong, fierce and I can go non-stop for about 18 hours.  And yes, I eat.  I like food.  And believe it or not I have been eating for years, I didn’t just start to eat when I won a fabulous trip to Italy.

I love Italian, but usually I make it myself.  Spaghettios are good for the kids too, if you are out late being Taxi Mom (cape not included).

I adore India, in National Geographic that I view while sipping lemon water at the bookstore.  Oh and look porn addict drop your pants on the third date, in the public park, “just kiss it please”,  just left me his phone number on the cafe table.  How charming.

I think Bali are the best bras and I wait til they go on sale for half price or better yet hit the clearance rack (which is why I have two baby blue bras, a puce one, and one that is an odd shade of yellow, mustard? ochre?  all for only 20$, cause I cannot afford Victoria’s Secret.  And by the way the Secret Victoria has is that she was fucking my husband while he was still married to me.

Want to know why I hate the author of Eat, Pray, Love?  Because all I have is Lean Cuisine, Drive, and Work.  woo hoo.

By Meg Posted in Rants