In bed post-work day, post-run, post-burrito, post-bath. It’s 8:49pm. I had intended to keep working this evening but just gave in to the need to rest my brain and write and get some extra sleep.
To pick up where I left off, the phone call cleared everything up and made me like the Artist even more. I felt so silly when I re-read my reactive tough-girl emails now that I could see his true intention. A mini-misunderstanding, a mini-outburst, and a mini-resolution. Afterward, he said he found this ‘strangely encouraging.’
My behavior is new and fits with my new no-bullshit attitude. Just enough anger to cause a messy little scene plus trigger its resolution. I got perilously close to dismissing him altogether (and probably vice versa). I’m on the right track here.
Meditation was well-timed last night. I felt so wound up and totally un-grounded and worn out and stressed. I slowed the F down. I sat. Thoughts and fantasies and fear and wonder spun through my brain and spiraled on until I got quiet. And then, at the dharma talk, I heard this:
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like somebody suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side.
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
The speechless full moon
comes out now.
– Jelaluddin Rumi
When Howie recited these last lines, I was left breathless. “The speechless full moon”–so poignant, so how we always find it there. I saw it there tonight, hanging speechless in the lavender sky, above the fog.
And the running from silence–we do, we do, we do.
Meditation is an escape, but you’re not running ahead of a pack of wolves; you’re still, you’re silent, you’re (in the poem) dead. You’re peaceful. Who doesn’t crave this?
Today, there was an uproar on facebook over what seems to be an untrue rumor that old private messages were now showing up as public wall posts. Everyone, including me, freaked out. Before I could really evaluate what was there, I erased it all. And I felt mad at this entity that connects us and yet controls us. The type of escape that’s great in moderation but over time becomes addictive, that eats up free time, that can leave you feeling less-than. Running from silence.
Then Pema Chodron posted this (on facebook!):
RENOUNCE ONE THING
“For one day (or one day a week), refrain from something you habitually do to run away, to escape. Pick something concrete, such as overeating or excessive sleeping or overworking or spending too much time texting or checking e-mails. Make a commitment to yourself to gently and compassionately work with refraining from this habit for this one day. Really commit to it. Do this with the intention that it will put you in touch with the underlying anxiety or uncertainty that you’ve been avoiding. Do it and see what you discover.”
(From Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change)
For me, for now, my ‘one thing’ is facebook. I’m doing a terrible job of renouncing it (even just went there to get the quote!) but I’ll keep trying until I can get it to unlock its grip. Slide out the side.
I’ll see him again tomorrow night. Early dating is feeling much like early pregnancy; the mantra is: don’t get too excited. Stay grounded.
He came up with a good second date: Nightlife at the Academy of Science (theme: fungi) followed by one of my favorite bars with fancy bourbon drinks. But not too many.
Become the sky.
3 thoughts on “quietness and escape”
Love, love, love this! Totally rooting you on, friend.
Wig, here’s my Facebook challenge for the week: Do not open facebook–i.e. protect myself from the idle temptations of fb– for 1 hour during which I am particularly prone to dawdle and avoid: 8:30pm-9:30pm. What would your single hour be? This is an experiment. as Pema C. suggests: “Do it and see what you discover.” I’ll let you know how it went for me in one week, and I’m a sounding board (one of your many out there!), if you want to do the same, but know I am doing a version of it, too.
On a bigger note, Artist saying the resolution of the misunderstanding sequence was, “strangely encouraging” makes me strangely encouraged by him. Few people would handle a mishap like that so gracefully.
You’re on, Wig! So far, I have clicked on it so habitually and accidentally that I am realizing the extent to which it has become automatic. I am committing to this until I can remove that automatic click. Let me know how your hour of power feels w/o the fb!