Trouble in Paradise

TMI alert. Do you ever have — wait, let me rephrase — I am having one of those spells where I’m just feeling disconnected from Self, from the love I know is always all around me. I’m traveling in a beautiful warm faraway place (“Thailand! Yay!”) and I realize I am so freaking lucky and blessed to have this opportunity, but in truth, inside, I am feeling rather lonely, disconnected, isolated.

I’ve been flying solo for so long (most of my life, in truth), and while that often works for me in profound ways — leaving me feeling free to connect authentically with the world around me as it presents itself, unrestrained by that which is not me — I am beginning to feel like it’s been too many years since I have felt held in the warm embrace of loving relationship, something/someone I could fully lean into, be fully vulnerable with. Flying solo means an awful lot of responsibility, taking care of myself at all times while often caring for others too, as I often deeply love to do. (Though as I re-read that, it seems to apply to flying partnered too, so I guess nobody gets out unscathed.)

And even though I truly feel amazingly connected to a world-wide tribe of incredible people and communities, and feel deeply blessed to travel the world offering my brain, my soul, my healing gifts and being touched and moved by people and life all around the planet — well, there’s a shadow side to all that, there really is.

When I return home — to my gorgeous, quiet forest retreat in the hills of rural New England — I often return to reckon with the reality of having been gone so long that, while I’ve been off nurturing and being nourished by my global community, I’ve missed big pieces of what makes life worth living: sharing with my oldest friends the marriage ceremonies of their children, the deaths of their parents, the daily comings and goings that comprise the foundation of so much of the ongoing depths and intimacies of life.

Oh, and by the way: here’s the to do list of homesteading stuff that’s been demanding your attention while you’ve been away. Welcome home! Um, cool, I’ll try to get to all that while I’m home this week, before the next tour or road trip starts. Ack!

Lately, I’ve been feeling again an inner yearning for partnership, at the deepest and most profound of levels. In recent years, that yearning has been tempered by the sheer brutality unleashed by/experienced with my former partner in the wreckage of my last attempt at doing that with one other person. The sad truth is, I don’t *entirely* trust people anymore to not be selfish pricks when the chips are down — I’ve seen it, felt it, too many times. I live and engage with the world with, in some ways, a deeply loving, open heart — but in ways difficult and mysterious to truly understand, I’m afraid my heart is much more protected, even closed, than I can even see, certainly more than I wish it was. And part of my own cross to bear is, I seem to pre-emptively protect myself in ways that are, no doubt, partially causative of the very isolation I am feeling in moments like these. What a pisser! How my own conscious or unconscious moves toward self-protection are partially (largely? entirely?) responsible for the very loneliness I most desire relief from. Fuck!

It’s like a perfect storm, all conspiring to hammer the point home. In a way I guess that’s great, because it does rather focus one on the work at hand. But still.

Anyway, I hope those for whom this was TMI peeled off paragraphs ago, and only those readers remain who might have a drop of compassion, not just for me but for all of us who wrassle with the inner tigers of loneliness, depression, despair. We are not alone, no matter what it sometimes feels like on days like these. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, Mama.

Onward, through the fog…

stairway to heaven?

stairway to heaven?

Into the Jungle

I just returned from a healing journey to the Peruvian Amazon. I’ll share more soon about that, but here is something I posted to Facebook mid-trip about the reasons for my trip:

I try to keep it real here, so here’s what’s real for me in this moment: I am in the middle of a week of medicine ceremonies here in the Peruvian Amazon, working with some Ayahuasca curanderos that a close friend has been highly recommending for years now. I am here in search of healing, specifically for some very old childhood trauma I took in my belly as an eight year old kid, a strange wound that I have never understood or resolved, or really found much insight to at all. This wound is in the core of my body—opposite my long-herniated L4/L5 disc and source of some of the worst of my semi-debilitating lifelong chronic pain—and seems mysteriously yet centrally related in some fashion to my most personal challenges in intimacy and vulnerability in my relations with my fellow beings, especially regarding lovers and life partners.

I have been on a healing journey in this belly area since I was a teenager—but I have never really made much progress in healing it, or even understanding it past a certain point. For years, based partly on the truly miraculous stories I have heard from others, I have sensed that this ayahuasca shamanism work might hold a key for me—or somehow be stronger than my self-protections and resistances, at least, and therefore able to help me crack the code on this piece of my healing work.

I’ve never been drawn to the various analogues or ayahuasca ceremonies offered sometimes in the US, though I’m sure many can find healing and transformation there—I have always known that I wanted to come here, to the Amazon jungle, to the place where these plants grow and plant spirits live, where these native shamans live and have practiced this healing work all their lives, to the source of this transcendent work.

So far, halfway through the work this week, there have been no miracles and few real insights—I feel like I am knocking on the door, and receiving little or no response. There has been some solid purging each night, though, and hope springs eternal that healing and resolution are within reach. On the other hand, perhaps in the end this strange unknown wound at the core of my being will remain unresolved through my whole life, and a deeper understanding must wait for another day. Either way, I’m glad I came and have been willing to face the fear and darkness and shadow within, well beyond my comfort zone.

One bright side of this mysterious dynamic has been how it has for years sensitized me to the hidden struggles and challenges that everyone carries deep within. Any of us may look all shiny and healthy, perfect and integrated from the outside—and the world encourages us to show this side of ourselves publically, especially on social media—but the truth is, many of us are carrying deep loss, hidden wounds or profoundly difficult shadow work inside of us, and the world doesn’t often encourage us to share that in a real way. Knowing what I have been carrying every single day of my life since age eight, it helps me to feel compassion and offer a gentle love to others, not often knowing what their wound or suffering might be, but knowing almost all of us have something, deep inside, that humbles us and keeps it all very, very real along our journeys through life.

May we all find the healing we need, and may all beings be truly happy and able to bask in the communion of true love and connection with life and love.

Living Alone

The Self Purifying Fire

The Self Purifying Fire

27 December 2014

There are some days when it hits me, hard:

No matter the quality of our work, or the lovers or children or partnerships we may enjoy; no matter the sense of connection and communion we can sometimes access in our best moments, there is an aspect in me which is utterly, ruthlessly, incontrovertibly alone in this world. There’s a certain depth of connection achievable in our community and interpersonal relations; that depth can be sublime and transcendent, and I rejoice in that! Beyond that depth though, we are on our own. Nobody can empathize their way fully into my own heart or self, nobody can truly know me 100%, all the way—it is entirely up to me to know myself, to find my own way, to evolve or stumble as only I can manage.

I actually do believe that there is an aspect of my eternal soul nature which is in truth always entirely bathing in the cosmic amniotic fluid of my pure oneness with all creation, with Sat-Chit-Ananda, the entire truth-consciousness-bliss radiant Love Soup that is the dynamic eternal silent still pulsing core of Life.

Yet at the same moment that my oneness with life is real and ultimately truer than anything else, there’s a shadow side that I live with here in the world of four dimensions: it may or may not be ultimately as true, but it sure feels true sometimes that at an excruciatingly deep level, I feel entirely alone. Starkly, harshly, bone-crushingly bereft of companionship or communion or cosmic succor just when I need that feeling of connection the most. Instead, here I am: twisting in the galactic breeze, just me and my thoughts and my broken heart, pleading for love, for healing, for communion. Jesus, sometimes it gets so lonely that I’d even settle, almost happily, simply for a little kind company, for God’s sake. This feeling in it alone part hurts, bad.

Maybe it’s rooted in something as basic as my all too human need for understanding, for acceptance of my whole being–not just the parts that are strong, or competent, or taking care of the people and the world around me. I love doing all that, and more—I love giving generously to people where I can, and throwing a great party, helping build and offer lovely environments where good things happen. I feel nourished in convening gatherings of depth and nourishment, embodying a strong container within which people can explore and access important healing spaces. I love singing devotional chant with people, and feeling the holy communion that lies in wait for us all in that sacred space. I love all this and more, basking in the radiance of this amazing natural world and creation.

But when I go home, I go home alone.

I’m not certain that there is a cure for this. As I age, I come closer to accepting my own self and nature, warts and all. This allows me to hide less, and self-reveal more. Perhaps by continuing to cast myself into the fire of truth, I might burn down the subtle, crafty internal walls that in spite of my desire for connection I seem to construct to keep people away—or, just as functional, keep them focused on a shinier, better-looking, more successful or integrated looking version of me than the one I fear lies deep within. Perhaps a commitment to that level of self-examination and egoic-self annihilation might eventually free me into the full communion with life that I seek.

I’m not sure I’ve found a better strategy yet. So I guess for now, on this post-Christmas dawn redolent with high and low emotions, I’ll simply keep singing, and self-revealing, and walking alone among my companions along this crazy journey called life. Anyway, I still feel part of me wanting to build those walls, so I reckon it’s time to throw a few more logs onto that fire.