there is a situation in my life that causes me deep pain, has been causing me deep pain for a very long time. i have gotten caught in the trap that if i just could fix this, i would be free at last to be happy. i could finally let go my frustrations, my longings, my weariness, my fear.

perhaps my deeper wisdom has known that this is not true, but i can’t seem to live in and from that deep place as much as I’ve thought that i could.  of course, my love is tangled up in that pain. it seems that is always the case. again, my deeper wisdom knows a deeper Love that can hold it without getting hooked into the spiraling chaos.

i slept fitfully last night, after having gone to bed early to get away from it for a while. my dreams were plagued by starving children and unforgiving adults. there is no escaping it, i suppose.  so, here i am with my journal, seeking the wisdom she so often reveals – beneath it.

i see that i need to stop hooking my happiness upon others, whether it is upon their happiness or their understanding. likewise, stop blaming them. look to myself for it. not in a self-centered, armored kind of way, as in ‘i’m going to take care of myself from now on’. but in a looking within- to how it is that i contribute to my own despair. how is my own behavior – thoughts or actions- harmful to myself and to others. what unskillful patterns have i taken on as model ones. it is hard to see myself clearly, both in the somewhat impossible way-from within the blindness of my conditioning, and in the painfully difficult way when i do finally glimpse the truth.

of course, the trick is always how to go there without slipping into self-hatred or self-condemnation, with the resultant popping back out of that place with a determination to atone my humanity. humility is needed to simply acknowledge my self- my blindness, my striving, my clinging, my fear, my flaws – and stop trying so hard to be perfect, or frantically fix what i perceive to be broken.

this going within is one kind of way, of course, to separate myself from the drama. move into the eye of the storm. sometimes that feels like escape, like running away, like not addressing the problem that keeps spinning out of control. i have learned, however, that i am quite small and powerless in the force of that storm, and i am learning what is not mine to fix. i need to step away from that.

of course, sweet companions of mine (we who eat of the same bread), you know that stepping out of the fray is also what i experience when i escape in another way into the woods and the water of the wilderness.  i hold dear to my heart an explanation given by a psychotherapist on the process of individuation, those passages in our lives when we are shedding old roles and ways of relating and growing a new way of expressing and being our selves. clearly, she said, there is a necessary break away that is a part of that becoming in order for the new self to emerge, outside of the tugs, pulls, hooks, that dismantle one’s identity before it can fully take shape. i see a caterpillar inside it cocoon here, hidden and protected from the beaks that would consume it before it had wings.

the classic example of this is a young adult leaving home for college. but I’ve often been taken by the Hindu life stage referred to as ‘the forest dweller’, which honors this need in the older adult as well, as she moves away from the householder stage. separation is a valid way to transform oneself and one’s way of relating with the world. we have similar stories in our culture, most often something like Cheryl Strayed’s experience on the Pacific Crest Trail.

the test of whether the change goes deeper than the surface, or whether it is also simply escape, can be when one returns to one’s ‘ordinary’ life. just as daily prayer or meditation practices, which invite one to access a deeper wisdom within from which to live, can so easily erode over time, so can the sense of deeper identity one finds out there.

metamorphosis cannot be hurried. wings cannot be forced open, or the butterfly perishes before it becomes.

time. deep time. i need.

in order to see who i am.





1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Apr 01, 2018 @ 16:00:53

    Reading your posts has been very therapeutic for me. It is helpful to know that, although circumstances are probably far different, there are times that others feel as I do. STruggle as I do. Thank you for being real in your writing.



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