This blog has been quite silent for the past two years, but I’d like to change that, use it as a space to start walking again, exploring the worlds inside and out. I’m going to post something every Sunday, just little thoughts or stories, little journeys. A way to hold myself accountable to the continued miracle of simply being here. A way to show up to the questions and complexities that float my way. So, a little discipline. We’ll try every Sunday and see how that goes.
For today, an inward trip:
It’s fascinating what comes up in silence and solitude, when all that’s left to distract you is your own mind. Nowhere else to go. Nothing else to do. Just being here and watching what comes up: the flash insights, the long shadows, the interpretations and the reinterpretations. Close the eyes and there is a roiling cosmos in this stillness, thoughts and opinions contradicting each other, inexplicable images of untraceable origin, a cacophony of memory and fantasy. Driving all of it, for me at least, is the longing to understand and belong, to love and be loved, and the occasional whisper that this longing might remain a longing forever, unanswered, unrealized. Sometimes, it’s better to just get lost in Youtube. Forget the roiling cosmos for a while.
But whenever I tune out like that, I miss the little one-liners, those diamonds from the deep. No other way to get them but to tune in. Turn in. Listen. I found one yesterday morning, or it found me, the curious experience of saying aloud to myself, “I will never abandon you.” Writing about it now, there’s an added layer of self-consciousness that colors the scene with some silliness, but in the moment I was alone, experiencing it, and it was nothing if not gravely serious, backed by the understanding that it is indeed possible for me to abandon myself. That I have abandoned myself before, many times. Every time I said “yes” even though I wanted to say “no.” Every time I said “no” even though I knew “yes” was the way. Every instance of shame and the resulting shut down. Every moment of judgment and comparison, of rejection in all its subtle forms, and the almost inevitable outcome of these inner movements: a rapid running away. Tuning out. Lost in the Youtube of mind, or the actual Youtube.
One of my mom’s greatest one-liners is this: “You are the love of your life.” Yesterday morning, I spoke to myself that way, as if I were speaking to the love of my life, with a fierce tenderness: “I will never abandon you.”
For a second, there arose a sense of great relief, as if I’d been waiting to hear this for years, anxious it might never come. I felt free, the kind of freedom born out of a complete (if momentary) needlessness. No need for anyone to promise me anything, or to concern myself with what they might think and why. No need to walk on existential eggshells. No need to edit or enhance whatever happens, or fix it or break it or change it in any way, because no matter what, “I will never abandon you.” Feeling, for a moment, the strength of someone willing to let in the fullness of every experience, someone who doesn’t run away when it gets painful or terrifying or even just awkward. The strength of an unconditional commitment to really being here.
How to remember that feeling? I guess that’s the idea of a mantra. You say it over and over again, countless times, until you become what you are saying:
“I am here.”
“I am here.”
“I am here.”