A Mantra of Strength and Acceptance

I am worthy
Of love, happiness, and fulfillment.
I am powerful
Enough to endure any hardship.

Everything will work out
In its own manifestation of change.
Through positive thought and action,
I can achieve *anything*.

Worry and fear bring nothing,
While faith and intention grow wonders.

I am but one infinitesimal speck in the universe,
But I instill my existence with gratitude and meaning.

Come what may,
I am flawed yet beautiful,
And so is the divine, changing nature of All.
Paradox—
Perfect as I am
AND
Benefiting from the work of self-development

Gassho.

Change and Continuity

A journey back, a return,
To a former home and old friends.
So much change in a place
Once familiar, and yet…
An underlying aspect
Remains the same.
Friends too! Different lives,
But something about them
Still beats the same rhythm.

Awash in a sea of discontinuity
With a few undulating waves
Of continuity. I look back
Over the years.
“I” have changed—another person.
Yet again, somehow the same.

What changes? What grows?
Or withers away?
Our thoughts? Our souls?
Our bare nature—
Merely biological shifts?
Yet something abides…

Everything changes, but our choices
And actions
Are ours.
We continue on as time-beings,
For the time being,
By committing to what we value,
What we want to continue
Into the future.
Sometimes, experience leads us
To new values—new projects,
Commitments, and masterpieces,
But we also have the power
To make the future
Through our commitment and choice,
Through our love.

Forgiving Your World

I thought to myself today as I went to work that we are always people in a world, in a situation. As such, who we are and how we interact with others is due to that situation in part. One of the most difficult things about forgiveness is just that: forgiving the world, your life, the networks of dynamics with others and your situation. Recognizing that the world is not the way you want it to be doesn’t call for pushing your own agenda harder or trying to realize your freedom anew. It’s important to be able to forgive the world for being hard, for not being the way you want, and to continue on in it anyway. Otherwise, life will be one long road of victimhood, one long story of how things aren’t the way you want, how it’s unfair, and how every time you try it’s just hard again.

A Scab

I pulled a scab off my knee today.
The red, irritated skin underneath
Breathed with fresh life.
No longer a tingling itch
Behind a brown carapace.
No longer a patch of “skin”
Lacking the intimate
Sensitivity of touch.
I felt renewed, yet vulnerable
And aware of my frailty.
The skin was scraped away
In a moment – blood
Suddenly seeping out
Of an aching hole,
A surprising, spontaneous lack
Of a piece of me,
So minor and present
Merely moments before.
Now, two weeks later,
The red of the blood
Matches the newly born,
Red skin…

I now have a scrape on my heart,
A place of lack, ache, and emotions
Seeping through to fill the wound.
How long will this take to heal?
When will I peel back
The crystallized feelings
Finding a renewed, yet vulnerable
Heart underneath?

Partnership

The lesson I’ve learned about love in the last few weeks is the wisdom of “love the one you’re with”.
You can either appreciate and affirm the partnership you have, or you can look for another.
The seduction of wanting another is in thinking that there are other people who complete you—people who readily match with you in all the important ways and with whom you have a deep connection as though the two of you were one twinned whole. This, however, is pure fantasy, the undying yearning of Aristophanes’ myth, yet human, all too human. It’s another iteration of the human desire for the completion of God, this time in the form of relationship.
Other partners, no matter who, will always have flaws, points of disconnection as well as connection, and all relationships will take work. None will be fully easy, and in my experience, even easy ones get hard over time – yearning for it to be otherwise is yearning for this easy completion, the twinned souls looking to become one. If you are looking for someone to make you feel this way, you probably need to work on your love for yourself.
Loving the one you are with, on the other hand, is not waiting for someone who will *make you feel* perfect, rather an engagement which acts out the feelings, acting your reactions—spilling them over into a hyperabundant embrace of the other person’s virtues and faults, warts and all. Only in enacting this embrace, this full, loving affirmation, can one truly see the beloved, enabling the ecstatic dissolution of I-You into real depth of soul. This is how one finds and enacts a deep soul connection with a partner. It’s not a passively felt emotion. It’s an ecstatic and compassionate act, not a feeling—an embrace beyond I and you, not a completion of you and me into one.

Control and Letting Go

I found the following in my writings of a journal about a spiritual experience:
“The other thing I learned from all this was that there is not a simple duality of “in control”/”letting go”. The relationship is more dynamic than that. In my experiences, one still has control of one’s reaction and engagement in letting go. It is being in a situation, accepting it, and engaging with it in a manner fitting with that acceptance. It is NOT a complete loss of being in the situation. You are always *here now*. You can accept this or not: embrace it as another changing moment of nothingness (here meant with Buddhist resonance) or fight against it in the desire to be somewhere else – whether spatial or temporal. This also means that the power trip we get from being “in control” of our situation is another illusion. Seeking to “lose control” is oddly just as worthy of a smile as seeking to grasp onto control always. This does not mean that I’m saying we have no choices or that our actions are determined. I’m merely pointing out that we are in a world which presents different situations for us all the time. We are in relationship with these situations and cannot control them, merely accept our relationships with them and control ourselves insofar as we act in a way that shows that acceptance. Thus, it is not a dichotomy of active/passive – being passive requires a certain active engagement, and being active attempts to disregard and fight against the passive position we have in the situations of our lives – like rocks in a stream. The most control we have in our lives is precisely that I still think we do have choices and that those choices matter. We choose the situations our life brings (this is not meant as any form of blaming the victim), just like I chose to come here. Sometimes, perhaps often, we do not know the repercussions of our choices, but we choose one path or another, nonetheless.”

Narratives

The telling of our own stories—
we’re experts at this.
Narratives twist and unfurl,
in our minds and from our mouths—
Arachne’s weaving on an equally epic scale,
the scale of our lives.

Yet no matter how exciting,
dramatic,
or depressing the tale,
the big picture is the same—
All is.
All changes,
and I am not separate from All.

My life, like the waves in the ocean,
rises and falls,
ceases to be distinct
as it crashes down into the water of the whole.

No matter how good the yarn,
how dashing or clever I may be as a hero/ine,
such is life.
Such is the Universe.
I can either see this with gratitude,
affirming every moment of this eternal return,
or continue to wrap myself
in the blanket of story.

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