I am sitting in my home this weekend, facing myself. I’m uncomfortable, I’m tired, and I’m in pain. I wanted to say that I am hiding from the world – but the more accurate statement is that I am hiding from myself.
David Deida summarizes this well in the final chapter of his book Blue Truth, Be Alive as Gifting:
If your true gifts have become lost in the struggle with life’s demands, then you are in pain. Ungiven gifts hurt. Unoffered love sears the heart. Unexpressed insight sucks the strength from your bones.
I know I write this not just for myself but also for many of us. I have been sharing my personal journey with many of you, and I keep hearing – yes, me too. The world has shifted – more so in the last two years than in any two years of my life. Politically – call it what you will: the great reset, wealth transfer, rise of authoritarianism – yet I view these changes as a painful gift at a personal level. We are being prompted even more strongly – WHAT ARE MY VALUES? WHAT DO I STAND FOR IN THIS WORLD? WHAT ARE PURPOSEFUL AND MEANINGFUL WAYS TO LIVE?
These past two years have coincided with me entering my forties and surviving a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Life is finite. We all know this from an early age, but I didn’t live as though it was finite in my twenties and thirties. There’s always more time, another opportunity. Now I have a different perspective – this may be the only opportunity, and there may not be much time. The world may be getting better or worse, but that is no excuse not to work on my relationship with it and with myself, right now.
Two timely books have crossed my path recently that I have recently finished:
The pathway of surrender was something I learned about and slowly began understanding a decade ago through my teachers of yoga and specifically Sahajananda at Hridaya Yoga. However, I realize now that I have not fully grasped its potential or true meaning. There are layers upon layers of letting go and surrender. From letting go of being overcharged a few dollars at the store, letting go of the frustration at oneself for missing a flight. To forgive others who may have harmed us significantly. To forgive ourselves for our misdeeds. And the most significant surrender may be letting go of one’s life, accepting that we have very little control and choice in the grand scheme of things. The only legitimate choice may be to resist or not to resist the constant change of life.
“When you meet a person of greater openness, your closure stands in stark relief.”
Deida writes about this specifically in terms of how when we are in the company of someone more open than us, we naturally receive an invitation to open ourselves – masculine openness being clear, intentional, and integral action, feminine openness being radiance, and flow. In this sentence, what comes up for me is the importance of community, specifically sangha, where people are committed to understanding and living these questions. And the remembrance that while I am constantly being inspired by my teachers and guides, I’m simultaneously inspiring those that I have walked the path ahead of. I notice the tendency of myself and others to surround ourselves with those at a similar level of openness – as the presence of those with much more openness can feel confronting and dangerous to our egos.
And again, this theme of not being alone in this. Knowing that as I write this, my habit energy is the deeply stoic approach of figuring this all out on my own, solving the problem, and finding the solution. Yet, I am trying to soften into the actualization of the interdependent life that we exist in. I have written before about the crux of finding purpose before or after a partnership, seeing that these may not be linear, they may be complementary – as well as trusting the shared experiences of close friends, strangers, or guides that may appear in my life, ever so briefly.
“Feeling the choices you have made of security and self-guardedness, acutely aware of your yearning heart, lost time, and ungiven gifts, you can either surrender open and embrace the force of superior openness or fortify your closure. Suffering is only your refusal to open. You are alive as gifting
This feeling of those choices made for self-preservation and safety are the source of the pain. I see the tendency and energy while in this painful place, wanting to leap forward with: Here are my gifts, world. Receive them and me! I also see the necessity of the slow reckoning with myself, the painful process of building up the pressure of this yearning heart, lost time, and ungiven gifts such that the actual gifting comes from a place that includes and acknowledges the pain rather than as a means of avoiding it.
Thank you all for being with me this morning.