***Emergence and Other Plumbing Problems***
May was for molting. Shedding every last scrap of paper, every relationship, every object, every place that didn’t belong to my becoming. I did not like this. I did not want this. When I wanted it to be different, I suffered.
So I kept showing up, like the diligent ass I am. I asked for help, which was gratefully received.
Which brought the inevitable realization (again): “Oh shit, life isn’t against me, it’s just teaching me how to edit (again).”
I listened for the next right action and did it, kind of like me writing this now. I should be pulling weeds, but no, this first, then that. Thanks, rain. There is an order to things, and my preferences are irrelevant to it. Weather talks too. Listen.
As Dogen says in the Genjokoan, when you’re out in the open ocean, it looks like a circle. It’s not really: our senses limit. What we can see holds clues to the vast motion of the whole ocean (even enough to navigate!) but what we see is not all of it. It’s enough to realize we are part of it, we are held by it.
When trust in that wavers, suffering slips in between the ripples. This is usually my first clue that I’ve wandered from trust. I feel paralyzed and can no longer listen for the next right action through the clench. Then the freeze deepens, and a stagnant cycle begins.
There is always a next right action. Sometimes it’s stillness. Non-action is sometimes the cleanest expression of our life force–we realize there is nothing to force and lots to notice. Most obstacles disappear in time. The broader system dissolves blockages if we soften the clench. The holy plumber is always on call, especially when there’s a flood about.
When it’s time to mop, mop. Mopping is very simple and we can all do it when not future-f*cking ourselves into catastrophe. Just mop.
It’s not the outer circumstances, it’s my response to them.
Repeat: It’s not the outer circumstances. It’s my response to them.
At least two of you will bring up the holocaust. Noted. Now you don’t need to.
I love that when I say things like this to clients, that it’s not the outer circumstances, and your response is your becoming, life then serves up a hot dish of, “Oh yeah? How about now?”
And at first I’m like, “I don’t wanna.”
And life is like, “That’s why.”
And the roots of my practice grow deeper.
The less I resist, the more ease comes. That seems obvious, no? I would like to add here, that people will often think you’re batshit crazy as you metabolize their deepest fears with aplomb. A lot of people won’t take it as, “Hey what’s your secret?”
But rather, “Holy shit you must be totally out of touch with reality because that’s a nightmare!”
When you’ve alchemized a lot of trauma to the point where it has flattened into biography, it sometimes disturbs people, what you can report from joy. Meh. Boundaries.
When I teach boundaries, my fundamental point is that we move away from what denies life toward what is more fully alive. NOT JUST WHAT FEELS GOOD BUT WHAT IS MORE FULLY ALIVE. Boundaries aren’t a negation, though “No” can be a very good place to start realizing differentiation. Yes, we’re moving away from something, so sure, that’s a loss. Let grief open the cocoon. Not your twitchy hands, but grief itself.
There’s no need to knock on closed doors. There are open doors a little farther down the hall. Always. Even if the hall looks dark. Get down on all fours if you feel wobbly. You’re fine. You’re needed. Keep going.
This is slippery when the closed doors are in my own mind–When I point my head toward loss instead of turning my whole body toward emergence and adjusting my position to where I am enveloped in love again.
When I feel the clench come on, I ask myself: “Where can I stand in relation to this person, place, thing, sensation and feel love?” Stand there. Are you backed up all the way into a stand of birches? Fine. That’s the spot for this moment. Touch them. They love the feel of your cheek.
Where can I stand in this moment to be enveloped in love? That feels very different from “holding a boundary”. The only relationship it’s seeking to shift is the one between me and my life force.
Where’s the hairball in my pipe keeping me from that free flow? If I say, “But that’s my hair, that’s ME! Those are precious hairs from MY HEAD! You can’t touch that hairball!” Well then, the holy plumber is not going to stop by because it’s hard to work with toddlers around.
If I can humble myself enough to say, “Yep, that came from my head. That was mine once. That hair looked all good and shiny and pretty and went ping in the sunlight, but I don’t need it anymore and now it’s just blocking the flow. I’m ready to release it.” Then the holy plumber will get to work, spit spot and there you are, quenched and flowing. When this is my sincere request, the result is often this immediate.
We have all manner of trauma responses/habits/hairballs in the pipe. They share our DNA, but they are no longer us. Can we withstand being engulfed in not knowing quite who we are or who we’re becoming long enough to emerge in good form, without pushing pulling and putting our energy on that emergence? Are we going to require forceps and vacuums, or do we trust our body already knows how to do this? Can we not slash open the chrysalis and righteously declare, “See, I told you there was nothing in there but goo!” Can we remove all distraction and dishonesty and attend with humility to the task at hand? That’s all we have to do. Just this.
If you’d like support in this process, I’m a pretty handy plumber’s assistant. My Pocket Coaching program (it happens mostly via What’s App) is open again for June. DM for details.
Now to the weeds, give beauty room to grow.