Have you ever had someone speak something that when it landed upon your ears and registered in your consciousness the immediate burst from within was, “Thank you, I have been wanting to hear that my whole life!”? Perhaps we must hear things over and over again until it lands when and how it needs to land.
In the rare freezing temperatures of the desert, with the beautiful darkness before sunrise, I sat for a short meditation. I lit my candle and sat down with a prayer that I could begin anew with another day.
I sat. And then before moving into a new day I prayed for forgiveness that my impatience, and my fear, and my aggression that spilled out before sleeping did not need to become my identity. I prayed to feel connection to myself and to love.
My dear child has been sick. Everyone gets sick In fact, the stomach bug she seems to have is one that others have as well. And like others, she had it, seemed well, and it returned. Perfectly typical. What is not typical is the recovery time, and the implications that it has for sweet girl’s well being. She is a tiny human that has been getting tinier in the past year. We are scheduling for her to get a feeding tube in support of her nourishment and existence in her perfect form at this time.
So, when she is vomiting, and not able to eat, I get terrified. And in my wanting state, my begging state for her to be well, for me to feel competent, and like a good enough mother, and like I can protect my child from her own devastation, I can become untethered. And I turn away from my child. My wanting for things to be different has me wanting her to be different. It is as if I become swallowed by my own fear that I narrow all possibilities for help from sources outside of myself, and within my own grand universe.
A random Tuesday night, reading to her and my son, and she vomits again.
I yell. I yell at her and then at my son. And worst of all, I yell at myself as if I am the worst person in the world. Shame becomes a bigger storm than the sickness, and the doctors appointments, and the tubes, and the wanting.
Before sunrise, with a commitment for reunion, I went to my cushion.
Meditation led me to plugging in my headphones and listening to a podcast from a rockstar of a teacher. I self-soothed from the mayhem of days like this with cleaning my bathroom floors, preparing school lunch, and for another day home with my still sick girl, while listening to Tara Brach. She was giving a talk on desire, which happens to be one of my most favorite subjects.
I love desire, and all that it can create. And I have made a commitment to stay attuned to how being attached to desire can create so much suffering. And yet, in my humanness, and in my wild grasping, I have become my own greatest source of oppression. I burn zillions of energetic cells wanting to be different than I am, or for life to be different than it is.
I have had a desire since my special child was born that it could be different. Early on I would wish for her to be different. Then I would wish for the world to be different. If no one else had an issue with my child, and did not stare, or pity, or say horrible ignorant things, or have these expectations at all, then we would be okay. And then I began wishing to understand how to just accept it all, especially who my child is, in her perfection. Finally, I have been wanting to embrace myself so that I may be unbound to love her without any condition.
Those desires and that wanting mind also plays out in most every aspect of my life. That fear mind was not born with my child, but grew out of my own cracks and wounds from long ago. My if only list is expansive. If only my ex-husband would just talk to me being a parent would be easier. If only my blended family just fit more seamlessly than I would belong somewhere. If I somehow could make more income than life might be easier. If I could commit myself to more runs, harder practices, longer sits, I would feel more comfortable in my existence. It is amazing how much wanting mind I have. And it is amazing how much I suffer because of it. When I am unable to fix things, or quench what I am grasping and fill my false sense of security, I contract and cling, and then I solidify my separateness from all beings. I have no home, not within, nor without.
The sooner I can land inside of myself, the more I can soften into the blessing of my life, and receive the bounty that is always offering itself to me. I can come home to the other side of what is dark. This is not easy. Not any of it. However, it is not impossible. In fact it is very possible.
The work for me is in recognizing how much wanting I have. The awareness of my desire to belong and to feel a sense of a whole is the the wound I must allow to arise, and then gently clean, blow upon, and tenderly place the salve over.
This balm is applicable to nourish what ails me. I can continue to learn to sit with myself and what is at the core of my unmet needs. Rather than get lost in the grasping, and the attending to false and fleeting defenses I can become intimate friends with my truest desires for connectivity and spaciousness. It is from that place I believe refuge awaits.
Listen to the talk on desire by Tara Brach