Life

Her Real Love and How I Really Feel

207733_10151633320683047_1341535220_nEvery year on my Grandmother’s birthday I would write her a letter and a poem. Writing poems for Mimi was easy.  All I had to do was picture her in my mind and her all-pervasive love would immediately be translated into words.  This is the first year I will not be reading Mimi a poem on her birthday.  I will not be eating chocolate cake with raspberry filling.  I will not be telling her about how getting a sneak peek at the mini water guns she bought for our family trip was the thrill of  my eight year old lifetime.  But that she already knows.  She always knew exactly how I felt about her.  And since I will not be telling Mimi what she means to me today, I will tell you.  Because when I write about Mimi, there her love manifests.  After she left her body I wrote the following to share with family and friends.  In reading it, I hope you experience the love from which it was born.

It is difficult to try to begin speaking about Mimi because it is impossible to contain the vastness of her love, her life, her spirit into the confines of mere language. Speaking to the life that is Mimi is impossible, but year after year I’ve attempted to do it through poetry. Mimi was my muse. I could go a whole year with writer’s block but when Mimi’s birthday came along the words would flood right through me as I thought of how to express my love, appreciation, and awed wonder to her. I would sit in front of my computer, close my eyes, and her loving presence would flood my being, and it was easily followed by words.

Mimi’s presence has permeated my life and the lives of countless others in utterly unknowable ways. I wish I could recount moment by moment the endless sweet memories of being raised by Mimi who was another mother to my brothers and I. But they are altogether too perfect to be recreated through thought. They live within me, growing up my soul into its fullest expression. They nourish all those who I meet through the joy they continually foster within me. They inform the world I experience through the patient thoughtfulness, understanding, compassion, intellectual vigor, and fierce love that Mimi bestowed upon me generously, without end, from the depth of her being.

Mimi taught love by being love. Everywhere we went Mimi met an old friend. These old friends were people she had sat next to on a train, and taken a cab with, or crossed the street near. She loved humanity and humanity loved her in return. Wherever she went, Mimi found people to love.

I learned what love was by watching Bop and Mimi’s relationship. The love they shared with each other was so great that it overflowed from their union and created this beautiful family, and committed community of friends. Bop and Mimi’s love is a gift that will eternally give to all who come to bask in its radiant peace.

I learned how to love friends by Mimi’s love of her friends. They were a shining light in her life, as she was in theirs. And seeing her devotion and caring for her friends imbued within her children and grandchildren the kindness and appreciation that are the life breath of true, authentic relationship.

Mimi’s love for all of us is indescribably vast. But I feel it. I’ve always felt it, and I always will. Her love teaches me the essence of eternity. Her love teaches me the essence of God.   Mimi and I connected on the level of the soul. She was a human allowing the universe to live out its greatest purposes through her, and I got to be a part of that. It is the blessing of my lifetime. Her being introduced me to my own, and when we were together we got to rest in the truth of God’s love, in which we move and breathe and have our being. Together the barriers that separate human from human were shown up to be mere curtains. Together we peered behind the curtains, we saw the truth of the reality of our unity, and we rejoiced in our oneness.

Mimi’s curtains are gone now. May she inspire us to see behind the facades that seem to separate us from each other, and to see who we truly are inside our own protective coverings. Mimi is there. She rejoices within us when we rejoice in each other, seeing the love that each of us share as our true selves.

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Thanksgiving

Life

With Thanks

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Surgery

Brain Surgery Two Years Later

Pre-op 2014

Pre-op 2014

On the second anniversary of my surgery adventure I am (still) grateful to be alive. And not only to be alive, but to be sitting on a comfortable bed looking out a window at crisp blue sky bordered by colorful almost-falling leaves. I’m about to go eat a baked potato and sit outside with friends. Tonight I’ll sing along to every song as I watch Frozen while eating popcorn and chocolate. I almost cannot believe this is what I get to do today. But I can, because of what I’ve learned in this past year since surgery:

No experience is forever. And when the experience is painful, I get to know without a doubt that it will change.

I can do whatever I want. There are no rules. I just have to admit to myself the secret desires of my heart. Those desires are for my good, and are leading me on the adventure I came here for.

I am good. I am made up of pure loving goodness, and no matter what I do or what happens to me, that is permanent amongst impermanent.

Even if my mind disagrees, I am doing my best. If I knew a better way I would be doing it.

Love is easy because love is everywhere. I cannot escape its abundance, but I can be distracted from it through thinking.

I can forgive everything for being as it is, because it already is.

My body is trying to help me stay alive. It loves being my vehicle in this world, and it is always doing its best to serve me. There is nothing about my body of which to be afraid.

I love being myself. I love you being yourself. And I’m so grateful we are being ourselves at the same time.

What you think about yourself, or me, or the world is not who you are. This makes it very easy to love you no matter what.

When the present moment is happening it is never what I thought it would be like. It is usually easier. Thank you for making it easier. I am grateful for your spiritual presence in my life, and your unconditional love. May your love return to you tenfold.

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Relationships

Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing

Gus Spero PaintingFor the past few months I’ve been carrying around a ukulele like Stacy and Clinton had personally recommended it.  It makes meeting people incredibly simple.  “Requests?”

While it may come off as an endearing eccentricity, going around singing to innocent bystanders, this isn’t an altruistic musical exchange. If I peak behind the curtain, the thoughts driving these actions are not of giving, they are of wanting.

In every interaction this ego is trying to get love.

The attempt to “get” something from another person, like we’re all perusing some crowded emotional bazaar, is how many egos live their whole lives.  It becomes the subtext of relationship.

The mind made self sees other people as fulfillers of needs. While the true self, who is watching and observing this all take place as I sing “Part of Your World” for the nineteenth time, is aware that there is nothing to get.

Unbeknownst to the mind, love is not a thing, it is a state of being. Love is a reality, and it is really within me, obscured by the insatiable wanting of my mind made self.

So how can I get the love my mind made self so admirably tries to win for me?

Give up. Be with people without trying to get anything from them. Let each interaction be an end unto itself. And let that unfulfilled desire rise up and subside like ocean tides. This is presence. This is being in the actual present moment and not asking it to be something else. This is letting go of the war the mind creates with the now. This is surrender.

The state of being that then rises up, in the space between what was once a constant stream of thought, is love. Real love. It is always there in the quiet chambers of your consciousness. In silence, in surrender, it will sing to you, and you’ll realize what you were wanting before was merely a phantom of the real thing.

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Present Moment Living

Home Movies

Home Movies
Right now it looks weird. There are turkeys on the side of the road, a small aloe plant beside a telephone, a twin bed on blue carpeting, dozens of yellow butterflies, bells ringing at noon and then again at six. And there is me. Living in it. But I don’t know this story, this character. I’ve never watched this one before. 

If I were a movie, this would be the good part. When life looks strangest, let that be the good part of your movie. And if you have to keep something in mind, remember who is watching, and that at some point, before you decided to go out to the theater, you thought this would be fun.

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Present Moment Living

The Next First Step

Changes

When a Virginia leaf decays beneath my shoe change is coming.  But on the cusp of my first East Coast fall I cannot know the picture that so many hundreds of thousands of trees will create as their air cools.

My life; hundreds of thousands of unfathomable future moments. What they will look like, I do not know.  That a change is going to come, those first fallen leaves have already foretold.

If you try to answer the problem of your life with a solution from your mind, all you will end up watching are odd remakes of a better original.

There is a new story being told in each successive now. Only watch.  Only listen.  Pay no mind, rather, pay attention.  Then the author that wrote millions of leaves flaming into color will give you a sight into which you couldn’t possibly have spun any string of thoughts.

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spirituality

How To Practice Being Yourself

NatureIt is easy to believe a spiritual practice will help you feel better. But from my experience, spiritual practice necessarily cannot concern how you feel.

Today I remember that sometimes I will not feel like engaging in the sadhana which is set before me. Yet, each day I do it. Sometimes I am sleepy, sometimes I feel listless. I experience the practice with those feelings. Some days I am motivated, some days peaceful, and I experience the practice with those feelings too.

A spiritual practice gives clarity to the inner world of emotion through its consistency among the fluctuating and fleeting nature of feelings. It shows up emotions for what they truly are: not you. Anything changing cannot be you, rather you are here experiencing change. Doing the same spiritual practice each day gently lays the ephemeral at the feet of the unchanging consciousness that you are, lets you gaze upon it, and do with it what you will.

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