Part of my spring ( and sometimes fall ) ritual is heading off to a silent, spiritual retreat. Lead by monastics, it’s an opportunity to sit with my own thoughts, emotions and reflection.
For most participants it’s a bit gruelling, myself included. It’s not the silence that we struggle with, it’s the constant clanging of our own thoughts echoing relentlessly in our own minds.
Silent, solitary reflection leaves no room to escape one’s own bullshit, as it were. There are many silent tears, some not so silent weeping, but much joy in having a sangha to practice with.
Trying to be a better person isn’t a one-shot deal. It’s a daily effort, and a life-long journey. I’m better than I used to be, but boy oh boy, do I ever eff it all up sometimes too.
And I’m not alone in the eff-ing it all up. We all do it. Because we’re all human, and we’re all afraid of something.
Today I wanted to go get a puppy, eat Captain Crunch cereal for breakfast, and go out to stomp in the mud without combing my hair. In other words darling, I wanted to be a kid; A carefree, do what I pleased individual, immune from consequences. I wanted to escape.
Escape from what? I lead a rather charmed life, I’ve cultivated an image of independent-do-as-I-pleaseness, and lots of women are a bit jealous of it. But it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s a hard thing to change, this hard-won, Teflon veneer, (and just as hard on my sweetie), and quite frankly darlings, I’m way overdue for a change.
Alas, this morning I did not do any of those things that would have been escape-like. Instead, I made breakfast, threw a load of laundry in, and stared at my tired eyes in the bathroom mirror before sighing a big sigh and convincing myself to let it go and get on with my day.
In my previous post, Spring Road Tripping, I wrote about the rare sound of the laughter of friends. It seems that as adults, we’ve all over-packed and prepared an arsenal of protective gear for our futures, based on past wounds. Whether you’re thinking the key to lifelong happiness is building a wall to keep everyone out, blaming someone else for your own mistakes, or simply burying your head in the sand, rest assured, you’re only buying into your own bullshit. So don’t bring along a wardrobe for it.
Bullshit in a frock is still bullshit. No one deserves to be judged based on someone else’s behaviour, no matter how you tart it up. Last night I did it, and my sweetie did it, and from the sounds of it, we’re not alone.
Time to let that shit go lovelies. For me, you, and everyone.
“Can you enter into each interaction with a sense of generosity?” That was the quote of the day, and immediately I thought, “Can I enter into each interaction and let all of my fears, baggage and hurt, go?” I figure if we can let that go, there’s really no other intent than generosity. If we can let that go, there’s really no expectation.
It’s the same for a lot of people. Can we enter into each interaction without casting a shadow from the past on something unspoiled, true and good? Can we?
Fear seems to be the beast, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been letting it get the best of me lately, when really, I should be rejoicing.
Life is good. Love is good. I think that’s all I should carry with me on the next stage of this strange and mysterious journey. That, and a little bit of emergency chocolate. Pass me a match and that bag over there, will you?