Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Francis Scott Key bridge and my dear friend the Potomac River. Oh. And a kayaker.
I am standing on high ground, on a cliff close to the house where I live in dreams. I watch in horror as a tsunami sweeps over the landscape. All the lights go out and I am standing in total darkness. After that I'm in the house, trying to clean up after the flood. There's detritus everywhere, as well as the lackadaisical anonymous dream people who are (as always in my dreams) just sitting around, oblivious. There are also dogs, all of whom need walking. None of the dream people are the least bit concerned. I get mad, real mad. I open all the windows and start tossing things and people out. Wake up with my jaw clenched hard.
After that dream I was ready to launch into my shamanic dance of dispersal, the first step of soul retrieval, that is, until my spirit guides explained it is too soon for me to begin a massive campaign of healing. Some wounds must bleed for awhile, they tell me. Hmmm. When they know I'm hurting, they often pat me on the head, or so it seems. I really wish I listened more carefully to their advice. So, OK, I'll "bleed" for awhile. Bleed and clean out closets and cubbyholes, listen to music, cry some more. They have never steered me wrong. I think this time I will take their advice to heart. Why not?
It is true that pushing anything away too fast can create the boomerang effect in which whatever I was so eager to get rid of comes back to slap me around. Also true is that there's still another month before I move, so I will be living with stacks of things all around me for the next few weeks. There is no point in throwing them out the windows, eh? The anniversary of Jake's death is the 30th and though I would love to pre-grieve, you know, get it over with, apparently this is not possible.
Hanging out with great sadness, (as opposed to pushing it away) is an act of devotion. Enduring sadness with grace and compassion is almost what the sufi acupuncturist would call "saintly." Pema Chodron has taught me that the best approach to difficult emotions is to "soften" around them, rather than clamp down, get mad, or try to throw them out the window.
OK, OK. I see the path of devotion unfolding before me, and with respect for the big themes of loss and change I'm embodying, I will put one foot in front of the other. I'm no saint, oh no. God. No way. But I will try.
This is my friend Renee, "listening," in the center of the labyrinth at Georgetown Waterfront Park.