32. Time to Be Like Buddha

HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR SOUL—OR A PART OF IT—LEAVE YOUR BODY?

Blog 32: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, as I live in a house in Berkeley, California with five other people that seem, for the most part, discontent. Although I long to leave, and even seek out other options, my body won’t cooperate with any kind of movement. The message for me is to “be like Buddha,” so I sit and be with where I am no matter how painful.

I reflect on who I have been in my journal. I write, “I used to feel that I didn’t feel. I used to think that I couldn’t love. I would try so hard to feel love, but I couldn’t. It hurt so much. It hurt me so much to think I could not feel. I did not understand all the tears late at night, all the anguish in trying to tune into my heart.”

Now that I am injured, I feel pain (how can I not?), I feel love, and I realize that it never was true that I couldn’t feel. The truth was that I didn’t honor how I felt. I didn’t know how to listen to my heart, how to trust myself, because I was so busy being strong, proving myself, and on some level, leaving my body, not wanting to be here because it was too painful.

I continue to write in my journal, “This pain, this heat moving through my bd3f697970790656d76d951b75a139723ody takes my soul away. My soul is trying to come back, but for some reason it is scared. My soul is scared to be with me. When I wake up the next morning, I can feel how little power I have in my body. It’s as if my breathing is outside of me. And I sense that my soul has been trying to leave my body since birth. It has little interest in being on this earth, yet another part of me that knows I am meant to be here, and is bringing me back, back, to this place of Buddha that needs to feel the pain, that understands better than this.

HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR SOUL—OR A PART OF IT—LEAVE YOUR BODY?

Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, at Child of Duende website

31. Being Unloved is a Great Poverty

WHEN HAS LOVE HEALED YOU?

Blog 31: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I am sitting in the hot tub outside my home in Berkeley, California, soaking in the delicious water that calms my body’s pain. I look up at the sky, stars pushing through the clouds and past city lights that obscure a few from my view.

“You are a bloodless sky. You love without wanting,” I later write. “Let me hold you in my belly tonight. Let me feel the coolness of your touch, balancing the heat that leaves my body by the seconds. Let me feel your cool heart balancing this fast moving, fast loving belly of mine.”

For weeks now, I have been with Greg, visiting healers, and then sharing passionate evenings together. Being able to hold each other, and to bring joy, laughter, and passion to my life after months of pain and struggle is sweet relief. My pain and debilitation are bearable when I can feel love and support in my life, just like hunger, poverty, or other physical struggles don’t seem so bad when there’s love and care. It reminds me of what Mother Teresa, who gave so much to the hungry and sick in India, once said: “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

For so much of my life I have pushed people away, protecting myself from people getting too close—getting in the way of my independence, influencing me to be someone I was not. I was always so stubborn to do things my way, to find my own way, and to feel again, to feel my own humanity, because I was raised to distrust my heart, to put my head before my heart.

I came into the world with a big heart, though, and a lot of love, and it’s taken me a long time to come home to myself, to feel again, to feel my humanity. It seems my body, so broken, is reflecting the broken pieces of my heart that have been screaming to come home. Maybe this screaming has been for centuries, lifetimes.

Either way, I am here, no longer wishing to battle between my mind and heart. I am here, hearing my heart, pounding loud, heat in my body, in my soul, ready to let go of the old ways of control, of needing answers, of pushing—ready to love and be loved, to be held, to trust, to discover my way home.

(Don’t forget to check out my novel, Child of Duende, a passionate, magical, spiritual journey of coming home in Spain, at Child of Duende )

WHEN HAS LOVE HEALED YOU?

 

 

29. Woman is the Possibility of a World Unseen

WHEN DID A FEMININE WAY SHOW YOU THE WAY?

Blog 29: Dec. 1997-April 1998—The secondhand of the clock moves slowly here in the lowlands of Oakland, California. Everything is an effort: walking around the block, determined to walk again; going swimming at the YMCA; shopping; cooking.

When I go to the YMCA, I watch another woman who’s there every time, grabbing onto the low wall, painfully taking baby steps, just so she can make it to the pool. I feel compassion, and sudden gratitude for both her courage to keep going, and my capacity to have the little bit of movement I do in my legs.

When I’m done with my errands, I come back home and write my novel and articles, or I write in my journal or rest. As I reflect on where I’ve been, I realize how much I’ve survived almost 29 years of my life by pushing forward, always aiming to become someone important, driven by the outside world pushing, pulling me to be like a man, to ac8ad5b614f115dc88306f61fdd830057dcomplish, conquer, prove. Yet, here I am, having injured myself, and this pushing, this masculine way, hurting me.

I sit with who I am as a woman, inside a feminine energy that calls for another way. A woman is the possibility of a world unseen,” I write in my journal. “She is the invisible that manifests when all else has forgotten how to be. Woman is the power of all that is new in the world.

“The days of moon come and go in a woman’s body. They bring her rage and a kind of roundness that woman understands—a roundness that extends outward and inward at the same time,” I continue to write. “No one truly owns her. This roundness has no measurement, no length, no beginning, nor end. She learns, however, in the fragile skelet11366228434_971ff72196_mon of her body that once imprisoned her, that she must wait. Her fertility, in all its power, must wait for dusk before it can reveal itself.

“While there is this unbelievable surge in her belly, this
child, with features invisible to the world, will not be born to impulse again—to a preeminent death tomorrow. This child is her love, her understanding that grows flowers in her belly. She must first ride this current of self love before this river can meet the sea.”

WHEN DID A FEMININE WAY SHOW YOU THE WAY?

Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, at  Novel Link!

28. I Am Not Alone

WHEN YOU ARE ALONE, WHERE DO YOU GO?

Blog 28: Dec. 1997-April 1998—There are times when no amount of wanting, willing, or determination will bring us to that place we wish to go. The past lives in every cell of our body—whether from this lifetime or another—until we are able to hear, feel, be with what is trying to speak its voice through us so that we may, one day, be free.

This was my reality when I moved from my idyllic home in the Oakland Hills of California to a house with multiple unhappy people in the lowlands of Berkeley. I didn’t want to move, but my hips were in too much pain to function in the hills, and I needed a place without stairs that I could afford.

In this space of debilitation I wrote poems, one of which I share here:

I am no more than this, I say,

than the wind that crosses through my room,

 than the tenderness of strangers,

than your voice that at times whispers when it is afraid.

I have been there,

I have frozen my gut,

closed my wounds to the world,

too big, too outside myself.

I have wandered and prayed for love,

have forgotten so many times that I am not alone,

only to stand here,

and to feel this

this nakedness of possibility,

this breeze of flexibility,

this knowing that even in this great weakness,

I am not alone.   

WHEN YOU ARE ALONE, WHERE DO YOU GO?

(Check out my novel, Child of Duende, at NOVEL WEBSITE)

 

27. May an Angel Carry this Pollen into the World

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

Blog 27: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Living in the hills of Oakland, California, was too much heaven for my hips after months of painfully traveling up and down five flights of stairs to survive. Looking out through immense windows of my idyllic home perched above the Bay and, in the distance, the San Francisco Bridge, was breathtaking, but I couldn’t live in this paradise anymore.

Reluctantly I moved into a home with four to five other housemates in the Berkeley lowlands, by a BART (subway) station. The woman who owned the house lived there too, and despite the fact that her name was Faith, I soon discovered that she wasn’t anything like her name.

I had been weak, vulnerable, and had sought a place I could afford that would also be supportive of my disabled and painful condition. She initially pretended to be caring, but, as her true nature revealed itself, and my other housemates struggled with feeling alone in this cold, sterile home, I found myself spending more and more time in my bedroom. I meditated in front of a beautiful plant under my skylight. It was the closest experience I had to being out in nature—that, in addition to sitting in the hot tub outside in the weed-infested yard. There I sang poems to the trees, finding the courage and heart to believe in a magic I wasn’t living.

2ac3abe815ba6b1db5bb294691e01666      I missed New Mexico, being able walk and being still with the earth as I had been in the desert. I especially missed a time I had had there with my friend, Eric. We had wandered upon sandstone cliffs that looked out over the badlands in all directions, and there we sang into the land that echoed its beauty back to us inside a golden, pink sunset. About it, I wrote:

“I close my eyes and my tears wet my cheeks as I recall our moment sitting inside what seemed the infinite. There was an eternal stillness even in our echo, in hearing ourselves as part of the summer silence under the stars. Back then, I still walked with innocent hunger.

“Now I surrender, sad, toward my fate. I no longer believe in miracles, in unusual miracles that appear as bold statements I had always looked for. Instead, I expect no miracle except the miracle of surrendering to my circumstances. I have nothing left to do. Layers of proving myself have peeled off my body. My soul is resting. Now, I don’t care about the politics of living. I am a flower, rooted, waiting for the pollen within me to be picked up by an angel and brought into the world.”

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

(Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit at www.childofduende.com)

 

26. A Vision of New Life

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

BLOG 26: November, 1997—It’s not a dream or my imagination. It’s a vision as far as I can tell. I see a woman in pure white, with a baby burning in her belly. I get scared. But this lady tells me not to fear, and invites me to take the baby into my arms despite the burning, dark place it is in. I reach out and hold the child, and when I do, something happens. The fire ascends, and somehow, I become the woman in white who has embraced her shadow—who is unafraid of the fire that renews—and who, like phoenix rising from the ashes, becomes anew.

It’s been over a year since I left the East Coast, eager, anxious, longing, and since then I have lived eight months in New Mexico, and currently five months in the hills of Northern California. And I, too, hold a burning sensation in my hips that won’t go away. I write my story that later becomes my novel, Child of Duende, because it’s with words that I can now express this fire, this dance, that lives inside me, eager to tell her story.

Maybe what is happening to me is an awakening, as in my vision…an awakening to duende, this spirit of the earth inside me that the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said, “burns the blood like powdered glass” and “rejects all the sweet geometry we understand.” As I battle my pain, and ache to find myself inside the chaos of all that I have known falling apart, maybe the beginning stages of my novel are telling the story of Lorca’s duende:

“Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things.”

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

21. My Spirit Dreams a New Dance

WHAT DREAMS HAVE YOU HAD BEYOND YOUR PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS?

Dancing in the Streets,  by Chris-Lamprianidis

BLOG 21: July, 1997—I can’t keep track of time as one day bleeds into another in my home in the hills of Oakland, California. My bed is still in the middle of the livingroom, but if it weren’t for my friend Geri coming over almost every night and massaging my legs and calves, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. My body is now perpetually gripping, my muscles so tight and inflamed, my blood trying to push through the constriction, and my nerves a live wire that won’t let my legs calm down long enough to sleep. The more tired I am, the harder it is to sleep, until Geri massages me, and helps relax my body.

At some point, my friend Eric from Albuquerque just shows up at my door, unannounced. I don’t think he’s aware of the depth of my condition—of how I pushed myself far beyond my limits after injuring myself in New Mexico—but it doesn’t matter. My housemate is out of town, there’s lots of room, and I’m more than thrilled to alleviate my loneliness.

In the mornings, Eric practices his opera scales out the window of my house. I smile as I hear his beautiful voice echo into the hills. When he stops, I beg for him to continue, and in the evening, he strolls up the road to the forest of eucalyptus trees to celebrate the life I cannot. He later tells me how he danced naked under the full moon there, and I marvel at his spirit. The last time I was with Eric, in New Mexico, when I could still walk, we had stood atop sandstone cliffs at Malpaís, him playing flute and echoing his tune into the bright orange sunset. That moment in New Mexico had been eternal, all having stopped to bear witness to the breathtaking beauty of life. And now, I’m glad to experience this again with his visit.

After Eric leaves, I continue to feel the magic. While I lie in bed, barely able to move without pain, I dream of my street filling with people dancing a celebration of life. I also dream that I have choreographed a dance. I am lying on the ground, immobile, yet the power of my vision and intent dance around me and provide a different kind of dance to share with others. Despite my physical limitations, my spirit and imagination experience what’s possible in this world.

WHAT DREAMS HAVE YOU HAD BEYOND YOUR PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS?

10. Dreaming the Earth

WHAT DREAM DREAMT YOU TO WAKE UP TO YOUR LIFE?

Blog 10: October 8-10, 1996—I dream another native dream. Men dance in a Native American ceremony and pray for the spirit of my friend’s brother on the East Coast. I feel sad as I watch. I sense I am holding onto something. I have an attachment to my friend and a dance we shared and performed together before I came here. We both carried a determination that was running us, and I feel my dream is asking me to let go of this determination that pushes me.

My body still carries this energy as I wake up. It subtly reminds me of last week’s injury when I pulled a groin muscle as I stretched in Judith’s house—my temporary home during my past month in New Mexico when I stopped here on my way to the West Coast. My dream also provides clarity. As I look outside, I feel all the negativity of the world quickly becoming minimalized by this garden of earth I am living on in this desert city. The land is not just land. It is home, family, hope.  All over the world, we destroy the land, and yet here I walk outside and I can still see the stars, and the trees break the whisper of the wind, and I feel an awe to witness the power of the earth. She is a gift, and all should be done in her name.

Despite these moments of awareness and awe, though, there are days out here where I return to a space of sadness. For all that I have been handed by this universe, and especially lately, I feel my impatience and how I have, in ways, not appreciated what I have been given. I dance as much as I can to feel contented, and I tire my injured groin in a longing to feel my own aliveness. I am a caged bird that doesn’t get the gifts that have shown up to make possible my flight. Instead, I run in fear of these spirit and human helpers temporarily clipping my wings. I fear getting stuck in complacency, in a sweet satisfaction of living what I don’t feel is mine.

WHAT DREAM DREAMT YOU TO WAKE UP TO YOUR LIFE?