Tidal Basin

Germination Detail Part III, by Leslie Shellow

contemplations about what stays in the net

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How Observing the Comings and Goings of Emotions can Lead us to Joy

Today, I stand in wonderment at the ephemera that are my emotions. I just learned of this word, having suspected its existence all along. It means "a person accommodated, a house guest." I add to this definition my own meaning: one who visits for a moment, just passing through, unable to be fully caught, like silk slipping through hands. I think of Rumi's poem, "The Guest House" (see below this post) and watch again and again my emotions knocking on my door, begging to be invited in, sitting for a while (and sometimes up-ending the furniture), and then leaving just as quickly as they came.

Today in my healing, I followed the contemplations of The Pilgrimage of Peace near Harper's Ferry, WV, led by Br.Stefan Andre Waligur. This is a beautiful three week rolling retreat  (come when you may, bring what you can, offer what's inside.) http://friendsofsilence.net/event/2013/08/09/fifth-annual-pilgrimage-peace

I am following the lessons on-line until I can be there in person next week. I am particularly drawn to a contemplation of the Beatudes. Here's a clip that captured me:

"Again, there is the movement through the beatitudes, which are each a gate of initiation. And this deep knowing and learning to know, is part of that journey through the gates. First: the gate of poverty, of inadequacy, of loss, of possessing nothing. Second: the gate of grief, of letting go. Third: the gate of releasing the anger and grief and being transformed to gentleness (notice, this is not a gate of meekness and wimpiness — it is a fierce gate, but a transformed one—the lion that chooses gentleness) 

I am moved by the third gate.I know how very hard it can be to release anger and grief and alchemize it into gentleness. For me, it is a choice to remain still when my instinct might be to lash out.The feeling in my body is one of melting. A sudden warmth that permeates breath, muscle, memory. A decision to sit with what is being offered. What am I learning in my stillness and willingness to sit in discomfort and watch the ephemera come and go and come again?

My last entry for me had a twinge of anger in it. Perhaps at the time I felt it was righteous anger. And I belive there is such a thing, but when I sat with my feelings and became still, I discovered grief instead. There was no right being wronged. My friends who had reached out despite their family obligations, were only trying to be helpful. That I feel an outsider here is true. That I try too hard to listen to others here and watch their lives unfold in the service of being supportive, yes. And there is an imbalance, because I don't talk about what scintillates my mind and my heart. I wonder what holds me back. But today, I found a way to tilt the balance so I wasn't falling off. Today, and this is a day with more physical pain than most, I turned my focus to my dreams. The question was, "How do you know when you are ready to help?" and my answer to myself was, "You feel alone because you are looking outside yourself for someone to talk about the topics you enjoy. Now, is the time to reengage those conversations inside. Now is the time to step beyond the idea of helping yourself through juicing and physical therapy and meditation, though all are necessary and good. Now is the time to write with one hand, to build a business, create a website, point your heart directly into the center of this luscious glowing pulsing energetic earth, pull the trigger, and shoot.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
    translation by Coleman Barks

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