Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Passive Rebellion

It’s been well over a year since I’ve posted in here and a lot of life has happened. I’m spending so much time in present moment awareness that I rarely take the time to reflect in writing these days.

I won’t lie. The last month has been brutal with the passing of my beautiful cat, Ceili…and a few medical events that have spurred my elderly mother’s decline. But even before those things happened, I found myself in a challenging place mentally and spiritually.

I was fed up. More fed up than I’ve ever been in my life. After countless years of exploring all the useful and marvelous tools provided by teachers, authors, indigenous cultures, modern psychology, self-help, and all walks of spirituality…after healing all the broken parts of myself, learning to love myself and others unconditionally, getting down to the deepest core, elevating myself to the highest realms, learning to let go and be mindful and present...and STILL not seeing certain lifelong dreams coming to fruition (and I’m talking ones I’ve waited years and years for—ever so patiently)…I suddenly found myself revisiting an old impatience and hopelessness I hadn't felt in a long and blessed time. I suppose it's because I trusted that things would happen when they were meant to happen, and then suddenly eleven years went by and they still hadn’t happened. That is a damn long time and chunk of life.

I still had the spiritual tools. All organized nicely in my spiritual tool box. But I simply didn’t feel like using them. I felt that they’d let me down. I was tired of being blamed for causing the blockages and not "allowing" things to come into my life. Sick and tired. I felt like just rebelling against everything…but in a passive way. I was suddenly reminded of this picture that I took of my niece in 1986, in the middle of Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.

I remember that we had dragged her all over the place that day, and she was getting weary. It seems to me there might have been some little thing that she humbly (because that’s how she was and still is) requested and wasn’t getting, or maybe she just wanted to be done with touristy things for the day…but her solution was to simply lie down on the floor and refuse to do anything.

I thought about how very much I could relate to her in that moment. Feeling stubborn about getting up, brushing myself off, and moving on--because I wasn't getting what I humbly requested. Rejecting the "balloon flower" consolation prizes of life. Feeling weary from the journey. Just wanting to lie there and do nothing for a while in passive rebellion.

One thing I’ve learned about “down periods” is that it’s critical to validate all feelings and not judge them. If a child that I'm particularly fond of came up to me upset and frustrated, I would treat that child with great empathy by acknowledging her feelings and reassuring her that everything will be okay. And even if she didn’t seem at all convinced, I would still be kind and patient with her. So it should be with that inner part of myself that is having huge feelings.

Mine was definitely throwing a passive rebellion on Ghirardelli Square for a good month or two. But I acknowledged the feelings—yes, I see that you’re more frustrated and weary of this than you’ve ever been, and it’s okay. No judgment. No trying to nudge and force it to stop. Maybe doing nothing is just what I needed in order to move forward. Everything passes, eventually.

And as I waited to be ready to stand up again and keeping moving, I continued a daily practice of showing up, staying as present as I could to what was happening in each moment, witnessing--not identifying with--the “story” in my head about why I should be fed up, and therefore making all changes and improvements from a place of grounded Presence and not from a negative, hopeless place of lack.

Today, I feel I’ve weathered another storm. I’ve stood up, brushed myself off, picked my trusty spiritual toolbox back up again, and walked on. Non-metaphorically speaking, I’ve reached out to people I greatly trust and they have given me even more tools. But best of all…I am once again able to gently release thoughts that creep in and cause suffering, and to make way for the peace that is always there to move through me.

I am up off the floor and back on the trolley.