It's after 2am in a living room that is not ours and he says I am a bitter, miserable person. Angry. If I could stop crying in his presence during the previous days, I would muster the energy to argue. I lean against a doorway, not in, not out, held in place right there.
"The only way I get through any of this is to put God at the center of my life. That's the only way. Look at you, you're so angry. I think you're angry at God. All you wanted was a home and a family, and it's not working out for you.....again. The suffering isn't over and you're pissed off."
Insults mix with salt saliva and I swallow them. Loneliness like those birds on a wire in the rain - staring, silent. I think how my ex-boyfriend, after reading my blog, emailed to say that I've never been satisfied in any relationship with a man. Never replied to that one.
It's frightening to look. Sometimes I think that the fight is the only thing that keeps me here. Looking back, I cannot find a time when that was not true.
"Where is God in your life, Prema? Huh? I don't care what you call it, how you define it, where you go to honor it....where is God in your life?"
I don't remember ending the conversation, don't remember laying down next to River, just the opening of eyes inside and the sensation of total wakefulness. Awake.
Hours pass and I lean against another bedroom wall, strange room, and that doesn't matter, I'm arriving. Opening. Attentive eye, inside, fire from the center warming me, rousing all the sadness. To the loneliness, get up now, time to wake up.
Sadness shifts to compassion, sad only for the leaving of myself, the way I have always been completely seduced by the promise of companionship and home. And that's the wound of a child. Now I'm an old, old woman with a shawl wrapped around her. Helping her open her eyes and find her balance.
Hours pass. It's so mystifying - how we are at once so ancient, at once so young, altogether wise, and often so ignorant. And that's how we become the art, how the lines move through our skin, maps of how we traverse the two.
If there is one thing in this life I have learned it's this: There is a pivotal choice.
We can align with the one in us who is awake, whose very consciousness is awareness of the Self, the one who knows her connection to spirit and to the thousand iterations of how spirit becomes form, the one who is available to listen to signs and teachings. Or we can choose to align with the wounded one, whose very nature is to forget her essential nature, the one who designs her life to mimic the core dilemma, whatever it is, so that she can resolve it. But she forgets that it's a practice for growth, forgets that it's resolvable. She confirms her karma in repetitive fashion through all the external reflections in her life.
I crawl into bed with River at dawn, the flu dissipated into a moving cold through my lungs. In the warmth of her back, soft wisps of gold around pink cheeks, I whisper, "Om Namah Shivaya," into her ear. I hum the melody and let it wash over our embrace.
A few hours later I sit in a beautiful meditation hall and wonder how I managed to find myself here on New Year's morning. On one side of me, a dear friend, long-time devotee, so full of light. She brought me here, she made it possible. On the other side, my oldest friend, twin sister, beside me again and again and again....so many years of journeying.
The lights dim and a few hundred people chant, so sweet to my exhaustion, so familiar, so far from me for too long. And then, in meditation, deep stillness, I hear the sound of her voice and burst into tears. My teacher.
I found my teacher when I was 21. She has found me again and again, in this corner of the world and that, and brought me back home. Home. To the center of my own breath. To center of the pulsation of my own heart. Home to the central seat behind eyes, which reside just behind my eyes. That seat, home. Everything seen from that place, home. Every cell, home. Nothing other (not even my husband), everything, home.
She hasn't spoken publicly for several years and so this was most auspicious and my great, good fortune. How do we make it from the depths of hell to the depths of awareness?
Grace. Grace in many forms.
Thank you, Jess, Holly, Carrie, and Rebecca, for holding me in the distance.
Dear Gry, thank you for your incredible spirit of friendship!
Thank you, dear Seth, for your homemade chai, for singing the dream to me, for cooking, and for singing beauty to River.
Carolyn, you are an angel in my life. In your light I remember mine.
Pam, thank you for an amazing dinner, laughter, and for all the live Bruce.
Christine, for enduring devotion. Linda, for your willingness.
Steve, thank you for your honesty.
Happy Birthday to me. I'm 41 today. Packing my bags, making my way back home.
Happy New Year and many blessings.....