Friday, July 23, 2010

The Pendulum Swings

Reading my blog postings over the last few months, I suspect I should have called this blog, “Lisa-on-ego” rather than “Lisa-on-purpose”, as I spend so much time talking about ego! However, this week I had a very powerful experience, which led me to the conclusion that I have not been completely correct in my assumption that ego is the “enemy”. This assumption is repeatedly presented in many New Age, Buddhist or other spiritual and philosophical texts and so I am aware that I will be challenging some very entrenched beliefs in the following posting. As usual, I simply present my personal journey, which is true for me. If my story rings true for you too, then I hope you will find value here. If not, then simply discard.

For over a week I had been struggling with bad heartburn and a painful, uncomfortably bloated, inflamed feeling in my stomach. At first I thought it was simply a case of mild food poisoning possibly due to insufficient washing of veggies but, as the symptoms lingered, but did not worsen at all, I decided that this could not be the case. I know what an ulcer feels like and this was nothing like that. Besides I have absolutely no stress in my life anymore! As I had not changed anything in my diet or in my normal activities, I suspected that there might be an emotional or psycho-spiritual component to this malaise and so I decided to do a meditation to discover what that might be. I chose to do Zingdad’s meditation on visiting my sacred temple, as I knew I had always found immense healing in so doing.

As I followed the instructions on the meditation track, I found myself in a beautiful, lush forest, filled with massive, ancient trees festooned with “old man’s beard”, enormous tree ferns, mosses, lichens and brightly coloured bracket fungi, with a crystal-clear stream winding through and the whole populated with a multitude of frogs, birds and other wildlife. I could see my stone temple in the distance, but I found myself unable to go there. Something was holding me back. Gradually I became aware of a small walled garden to my left (somehow it was inside the left side of my head!) and I found that I could not move up the hill to my temple until I had explored this garden. I found a door in the wall, opened it and stepped through the doorway. What a shock! In contrast to the beauty outside the wall, inside the walled garden was dark and dank and all the plants were either sickly or dead and decaying – it was rapidly becoming a stinking wasteland.

How miraculous that our subconscious offers us these incredible insights if we simply pay attention for a few minutes! I immediately knew what the dying garden signified. It was in my head on the left side, which would seem to indicate a left-brain problem, or a problem associated with the masculine side of my being. It is this masculine side of myself which is most expressed in my ego, in Do-ing. It also dawned on me that the ego center is located in the solar plexus chakra, which was exactly where I had been experiencing distressing physical symptoms.

I moved my consciousness to my heart chakra and from there I questioned my ego chakra to find out what the problem could be. I immediately had a sense of an unloved and unwanted child rebelliously “acting out” in order to attract some attention. I realized that, for some time, I have been demonizing my ego; making it “wrong” for simply wanting to do that which it is best at doing. In every single moment I have been thwarting my ego and preventing it from finding a useful outlet for all the energy it had previously used for non-stop Do-ing. So, this energy turned inward and started to cause damage to the ego, which manifest as physical symptoms in my body. I also realized that I have been terribly ungrateful to my ego, which, after all, was the part of myself that did all the doing required to move myself from my corporate job and city life, to my current amazing dream-existence in our forest paradise.

I visualized the small, unhappy child in my ego center and then I focused on sending it gratitude, recognition and endless love. I pictured myself picking up this child, cradling it in my heart chakra; holding it and loving it and giving it everything it could possibly want and need to be happy and healthy. After some time the child was no longer unhappy and I placed it back in my ego center. Then I turned to my left to look at the walled garden again. To my surprise, the wall was gradually disintegrating and beautiful, healthy vegetables were starting to grow where previously there had been dead or dying plants. This too, was a message for me. The ego is that which allows us to DO in this world. We would not be able to get out of bed in the morning without the ego. Everything beautiful and useful we experience (as well as the things we may perceive as negative) is made possible through the action of the ego. The ego WANTS and NEEDS to be given something to do. The problem comes in when we let the ego run the show. The ego needs to be managed, needs to be given useful things to do (hence the vegetable garden, which will nourish and support the functioning of the whole being).

I informed my ego that henceforth it would no longer have to function alone and unsupported. It would become an invaluable member of a team, under the direction of the heart, which would allow me to create my perfect life and my perfect expressions of love. When I finally left the garden, I could sense that my ego was feeling happy and purposeful and I knew that my physical symptoms would soon pass.

And I was right! Two days later I feel healthy and well. Now, I know this all sounds a bit far-fetched, but I have experienced this type of imagery before in my delvings into the subconscious and I know the unbelievable efficacy of dealing with psychosomatic illness in the imagery with which one is presented. By the way, by using the term, psychosomatic, I definitely do not mean that the illness is imaginary in any way – the pain and discomfort felt are very real indeed. Rather, I mean that the soma (or the body) is made ill by problems encountered in the psyche. It is my belief that almost all illness is actually psychosomatic. We can literally think ourselves ill and think ourselves well again.

So, what have I learnt from all this? Well, firstly I have to marvel at the incredible mind-body-spirit integration and at the fact that we are given all the tools we need to live healthy, fulfilled lives if we would but stop and pay attention for a few minutes.

Secondly, I have realized, yet again, that ego is definitely not the enemy. I believe that, whereas the path outwards, away from Source is all about differentiating myself - defining who and what I am in opposition to the Other; the path back home to Source (the Ascension path) is about realizing that all is Love and that the Other is, in fact, me. We are all One. There is nothing anywhere that is not love and that is not Me. And so, even on a very local level, I simply cannot differentiate myself from my ego and make it wrong or evil. I am love and my ego is me. Read Zingdad’s excellent blog posting about this topic.

My ego is a wonderful, useful tool for expression of Self, if properly guided and managed by my heart.

And so the journey continues…

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finding meaning

Seeing as this blog is all about finding my purpose, for this week’s posting I have decided to take stock of where I am in the process, 7 months into my “Grand Experiment”.

I know that I have spoken ad nauseum about dealing with ego issues in this blog. And yet I discover that, despite my best intentions, my quest to discover my true purpose has once again been motivated by… yes, you guessed it! EGO! The starting assumption for this blog was that there is some great and wonderful purpose for my life that I will find and, in so doing; uncover my “gift”, thereby making a huge and important impact on humankind. It’s actually ALL about ego! All about the need to be recognized as being special and different and therefore worthy of love. In retrospect, I’ve actually always been rather susceptible to such grandiose visions of my purpose – when I started studying science I had ideas of myself finding a cure for cancer or AIDS and thereby “making my mark” on the world. I smile indulgently at the naiveté of my 18-year old self, but actually I don’t really seem to have progressed very much from that position, have I?

I suppose we all want to feel that there is some meaning to our lives; some reason behind the toil and hardship, the boredom and sacrifice and, for some of us, this becomes some noble and lofty goal that could possibly raise our lives up from the mundane to some glorious, meaningful heights. Often this is merely a hedge against the deep, often unexamined, fear that perhaps this life is simply random; a meaningless struggle on an inexorable path from birth to the ultimate annihilation of Self. I choose to believe that there MUST be more to my existence than that, simply because it makes my life far more joyful if I hold this belief and because the alternative is simply too dreary and depressing to live with! But what if I’m simply deluding myself, I hear the pragmatists ask. Well, in that case, I suppose I’d rather be happy than right! But I have found some support in the literature for my need to find, or create, meaning in order to live a happy life.

I’ve recently read Viktor Frankl’s excellent book, “Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy”, in which describes his experiences as a Jew in Nazi Germany’s death camps during the Second World War. These experiences led to his developing Logotherapy, which describes mans’ “will to meaning” (in comparison to Freud’s “will to pleasure” and Adler’s “will to power”). Frankl discovered that those prisoners who had a sense of purpose, those who could therefore find (or create) meaning in their suffering, had a FAR better chance of surviving the inhumane conditions than those who did not. It would seem that a sense of personal meaning and purpose is actually vital to the ongoing survival and well being of a human.

Perhaps it’s important to differentiate between “meaning” and “purpose”. For me, purpose is an endpoint, a goal to be achieved, whereas meaning is something personal that I derive on an ongoing basis from the day-to-day activities of my life. I suspect that one could find a lot of meaning in even trivial, minor activities and events if one had a sense of overall purpose and direction for one’s life. But what if, like me, you’re not sure about what your life’s purpose could, or should, be? How do you then find meaning in everyday life whilst discovering your purpose? Well, I have recently started to think that by deliberately choosing to create and express meaning in my daily life I could actually be directly led to my purpose. Let me explain:

I am starting to discover that I can choose to experience a great sense of meaning in doing really small and seemingly insignificant things. For example: I find the time I spend physically toiling and sweating over the removal of non-indigenous trees on our land to be deeply meaningful and fulfilling. I find meaning in baking homemade goods or in preparing a beautiful meal for my partner. I even find meaning in cleaning the house or brushing the dog or any number of other previously boring chores that I rushed through in order to get them done so that I could move onto other “more exciting” (read: more ego gratifying) activities.

What all these activities have in common is that they are actually tangible, active expressions of love. Love for Self, my partner, our dogs, the land, Life. As such, they are deeply meaningful and valuable, important things for me to be doing. Each small task or service that I do in love leads to a sense of my heart opening just a little bit more. I guess I’m finally starting to understand why I was told by my guide to “Ask how best might I serve Life in this moment”. Doing service definitely leads to an opening of the heart, which is, I believe, the portal through which we can (and will) access our unique spark of the Divine, our spirit. Such access to spirit will inexorably lead to a personal experience of divine union with God, which is surely a worthy purpose for any life. In addition, a direct experience of my own divine connection MUST lead me to an understanding of my unique gifts of love and service to the world and to humanity. Note, however, that it starts with the heart connection and NOT with the grandiose visions of ego gratification created by the intellect.

It’s all about intent, I believe. A person could do amazing and far-reaching works of philanthropy, which are recognized by people all over the world, but if the intent is the gratification of the ego, these works will never lead to a personal sense of true meaning and will not, I believe, be to the ultimate good of humankind. In contrast, I believe that the smallest (even invisible) act of loving service can make the biggest difference in changing for the better the reality we inhabit. I suspect the measures of spirituality are very different from those of this illusory world.

So, my current understanding of my purpose is as follows:

1. I am here to experience this unique reality in which I can choose to experience not-Self in order to discover my true Self, and thereby, experience divine union with God.
2. My purpose is then to express my true Self in loving service in order to co-create with others a New Earth while I am still incarnated in this reality. By joyfully and effortlessly expressing my true Self I will naturally give my greatest gift.

So, for now, I will continue to seek out, and gradually discard, all false concepts of Self and consciously strive toward an ever-clearer concept of true Self. Through meaningful service I will continue to open my heart, a little bit more every day. In daily meditation I will bring myself always to the portal of the heart where I will joyfully anticipate the moment of clarity, the moment of blissful knowing that I truly am one with ALL THAT IS. Perhaps if I listen very carefully I will hear that there is a knocking on the other side of the door to my heart…

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelations 3:20).

And so the journey continues…

Next: The Pendululm Swings

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Zen of Tree Popping

We’ve been spending a couple of hours every day gradually removing alien vegetation from the land we are in the process of purchasing (photos at end of post). This is all we can do at the moment, as there are some delays before the land will be transferred onto our name, and so we cannot start building our home as yet. The biggest challenge we face is an overgrowth of Black Wattle, which is an alien invader of the Acacia species from Australia and a HUGE problem here in Knysna. Wherever land has been cleared it takes over, growing very rapidly, depleting the water table and spreading its seeds everywhere so that, even if one removes all the wattle trees and saplings, next season there is always more. The only way to permanently deal with the problem is to reclaim the land with indigenous species, which obviously takes a lot of time and concerted effort. However, our vision is to eventually eradicate all non-indigenous species and to fully rehabilitate the land.

We have purchased a piece of equipment called a “tree popper”, which combines muscle power with the power of the lever to remove trees of up to 5cm in diameter, roots-and-all. So, every day after breakfast, we pile the dogs and the tree popper into the pickup and drive the 2km to our land for the kind of exercise you’ll never get in the gym.

In the first few weeks, I found myself becoming disheartened at the sheer magnitude of the challenge lying ahead of us, as, after a few exhausting hours spent “popping” over 100 trees daily, it hardly seemed to make much of a difference at all, and I could only see the massive task that still lay ahead. Then I decided to change my perspective. I realized that I am doing this work as an act of service and love to the forest and so, every tree I remove is one less tree that will spread its seeds in future. This is all about the PROCESS and not about the end goal of having the land completely cleared. As Zingdad commented to me, this job will actually never be done, as this is not a perfect city garden, but rather a wild piece of land that will constantly require work. If I make the shift in my mind from goal to process, then I find that I can actually get into the “zen” of tree popping, as it were. And, ironically, then I can actually start to see my progress – as we gradually chip away at the job, ever larger pieces of land are starting to become clear of invaders.

The larger invader trees will have to be cut down and the stumps treated with a fungal biological control solution to prevent re-growth. We have decided to plant 5 indigenous trees for every large invader tree we remove, but it is still a sad day indeed to cut down a beautiful big tree. Hopefully we can use some of the wood to make our kitchen cupboards and the rest will either be used for firewood to heat our home or will be chipped for compost, so at least the trees will not have died in vain. And we will leave a legacy of hundreds of indigenous trees, shrubs and ferns for future generations.

Of course, many people have told us that we are crazy to be doing this ourselves by hand and that we should simply get a bulldozer and clear the land in one day. But we feel that this would be a huge waste of a valuable wood resource and also, this is exactly the kind of approach that leads to the establishment of invader species in the first place.

As our soft, lily-white city hands gradually become calloused and strong and as we start to find all kinds of new muscles gradually making their appearance, we are slowly, but surely making this piece of land our own, through service and through love, not to mention, good honest sweat!

Archimedes is reported to have said that he could move the world with a big enough lever and a stable place to stand. Well, we have our stable place to stand on this magnificent piece of land and, by applying the lever of our intent, we are gradually moving our world to create the heart-centered reality of our dreams.

And so we discover that it’s not about tree popping at all; it’s actually about love.

And so the journey continues…

The Intrepid "Tree Poppers"

Zingdad and his BIG

Pulling up those suckers roots-an-all

Lisa popping on purpose!

Next: Finding Meaning

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Big Con

After 4 weeks of watching sunrises and sunsets, breathing clean, fresh air, being woken by the rooster crowing and listening to birdsong all day, being surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and doing exactly what I please in every moment of every day, I have come to the conclusion that I have been the victim of a gigantic con my entire life!

We are taught from early childhood to delay our gratification, to set our teeth and “grin and bear it” for a reward to be received at some future date. These rewards are mostly tangible “stuff”, which we are conned into believing that we need in order to be happy, in order to be acceptable. And so many of us become big, greedy babies, constantly demanding more-and-more, and bigger-and-better possessions to feed our ever-growing, insatiable hunger, none of which ever makes us feel really happy or acceptable and all of which is actually a vain attempt at filling the deep vacuum we feel inside. Of course, in order to afford the “stuff” (ie: to pay off the debt, which will actually never be paid off because we keep buying more stuff), we need to work even harder and longer than ever before. And so we find ourselves trapped, going round-and-round the hamster wheel of materialism, becoming exhausted, depressed and ultimately unfulfilled and very definitely “ungratified”!

Some other very enticing rewards we are conned into delaying our gratification for, are intangibles. These intangibles include: a sense that we are being somehow “noble” and doing “The Right Thing” by sacrificing our happiness for others, such as our family, our employees, the Company or simply, The World. Other intangible rewards are a sense of meeting (and exceeding) others’ expectations, “getting ahead” in the world, or the good old ego polishings associated with being “The Best” or “irreplaceable” or “climbing the ladder”. Somehow these rewards are even less satisfying than the tangible rewards and invariably lead to a sense of disillusionment or resentment, as our sacrifices can never be valued enough by those for whom we are doing the sacrificing, and the ego buffing just never seems to satisfy our deep hunger for love and recognition.

But, if not for some future gratification, why do we need to work? We are told that it is a way to make a contribution, a way to create meaning for ourselves. But I reckon that there are very few people for whom that really is the case. I think that most of us work because we believe it is expected of us and because we believe that we have to have money in order to buy the stuff we have been conditioned to believe we want and need. Most of that stuff would not be required if we were not trying to live up to some expected lifestyle measure or if we were not requiring to anaesthetize ourselves against, or compensate ourselves for, the pain and frustration of living a life that is not congruent with our deepest being; not congruent with our heartsong.

Living in this beautiful place I have realized that I actually really don’t need the fancy clothes, the car, the gym membership, the expensive entertainments, the overseas trips, the fine restaurant meals, the jewellery and all the other tangible and intangible trappings of “success”. Most of what I need is given absolutely free of charge by God and the rest is easily obtainable by spending a tiny fraction of what I thought I needed in order to survive in my previous life.

I just have to stop living my life in comparison to, and in competition with, others, and find my own measures of value, meaning and purpose. I have to find the courage to listen to my own heart and follow its calling. And, suddenly, a life of magnificent abundance ensues. Abundant health, abundant happiness, abundant time, meaning, connection and beauty.

I would like to suggest that we stop delaying our gratification. I think we have to IMMEDIATELY, AND IN EVERY SINGLE MOMENT, move toward that which we most love. Don’t delay it for even a second longer.

The trick is getting to the core of what it is that we love the most. I might think that what I love the most is beautiful possessions, more money, bigger and better toys, recognition, titles, status etc, but if I get really honest and become still and listen to my heart for a moment, I realise that what I most love is to feel connected: connected to God, connected to Nature, connected to others, connected to my Self. What I really want is to feel that there is real meaning and purpose in what I do and that I am making a real difference in someone’s life. I want to feel that the world will have been a better place for my having passed this way. No amount of “stuff” and no amount of ego buffing is ever going to provide me with this. The only way to find this is to go within and listen carefully to my heart. And then all I need is to have the courage to follow what my heart tells me to do.

I believe that each of us has a very special gift, a God-given purpose, which we have to contribute to the world. When we find this gift and start giving it, we will never, ever, ever have to work again. We will simply be playing – it will be effortless and fun and will give us a sense of meaning and purpose in every moment and true abundance will ensue.

Of course, I can hear you say: "All this is very easy for you, as you have the time and the space and the leisure to find your heartsong". But just a year ago I would have said that it was impossible for me to do what I have done, as I had FAR too many responsibilities and there was no way I could afford to leave my job, to move to the country and to spend 2 years finding my purpose. And yet…. Miraculously… Here I am!

Somehow, when I was ready to listen to my heart, the impossible became possible and the way miraculously appeared.

I definitely don’t have all the answers yet. But I am starting to discover some very interesting questions and I am starting to see a little more clearly and I’m DEFINITELY starting to have a lot more fun!

And so the journey continues…

Next: The Zen of Tree Popping

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adapting to my new reality

Up till now I have spoken a lot about all the amazing and wonderful aspects of living my forest dream. And all of this remains true. However, for the sake of honesty and a balanced perspective, I have decided to report back on some of the difficulties I have been experiencing over the past few weeks.

I suppose the first, and least significant challenge, has to do with the lack of externally imposed structure, boundaries or sense of purpose. It is surprisingly difficult to decide what to do when faced with a completely empty day with nothing which one HAS to do, when one is accustomed to having the entire day mapped out in hectic activities, responsibilities and general busy-ness! Also, because we are really “off the beaten track”, it’s simply not realistic to jump into the pick-up at a moment’s notice and rush off to town to find some entertainment or distraction. We plan our trips to town so as to ensure that we don’t waste fuel and time and we always have a well-stocked pantry so that there is food for at least a month in case the river comes down in flood and we need to survive for a period of time without a visit to the supermarket. In any case, the town of Knysna is really small and does not offer big-city entertainments. However, I have started to discover the joys of vegetable gardening, baking, stargazing, walking with no destination in mind, photography and just simply chatting and connecting in front of the fire with new friends and my dear partner. Also, there is the odd excitement, such as a helicopter flip with the neighbour this morning and the need to rake the driveway of our 2ha property or pull up alien vegetation from time to time! So, this challenge is actually a minor one that I am starting to resolve for myself.

By far a bigger challenge is the nagging sense of discomfort I have that something HAS to go wrong soon. I guess that somewhere deep in my programming is a hidden belief that it’s just not permissible for humans to have this much happiness and freedom to do EXACTLY what they want in every moment. Somewhere, somehow, there has to be a payback. Could it be that I find it easier to believe in a reality that is an uphill toil rather than an easy, fun, relaxed reality?

This belief is also manifesting in a fear that I am, due to some external calamity or something I have forgotten about or miscalculated, going to have to leave here before I want to. It’s almost as if I can’t relax and fully enjoy this amazing place and experience because I am afraid that it will somehow be “taken away” from me or end abruptly before I am ready, or before I have fully experienced all I wish to experience. This is actually spoiling my enjoyment of this incredible reality I have worked so hard to create.

My dear Zingdad helped somewhat by reminding me that living this perfect, beautiful life in this incredible place is not what my journey is actually about. The journey is actually about following my heart toward my purpose. It is important to remember that this is a journey and NOT a destination. My life in this magnificent place is simply the current manifestation of that journey. It is absolutely guaranteed that we will not stay here forever and that things WILL change, even if only because we are currently renting this place and will soon start to build our own home on our own piece of land! If I attach myself to this place then I am guaranteed to experience pain and suffering when I have to leave. Change is inevitable.

Attachment causes suffering. I know this. And yet I keep feeling the temptation to attach myself to something external to myself. I suppose it’s because I have really cut myself adrift from all my previous ties. Even if I found them extremely constricting to my growth, they were comforting and provided a sense of being somehow anchored in the world. I have the most disconcerting feeling of lightness, of disconnectedness, of unreality. How surprising it is to discover how dependent and even, addicted, I have been to externally imposed structures, routines, expectations, restrictions and definitions of Self! It seems to be a frightening thing indeed to create ones own sense of Self with no external input. However, every time I try to create a routine, boundary or restriction in my new reality, I find myself kicking against it, despite my uncomfortable feelings of being adrift.

Perhaps it’s necessary to simply sit in the fire of these challenges for a while without rushing to try and find quick-fix solutions.

It has not escaped my attention that I could interpret all this as me creating problems simply because my life is so free of any real difficulties or challenges! However, I think a more appropriate interpretation would be that Zingdad and myself have created this reality without any real troubles or worries so that we can spend our time and energy focusing on our real journey toward Self instead on focusing on any perceived lack or difficulty that might serve as a distraction.

And, in the vast, magnificent stillness of this place, I detect the quiet unfolding of some new, and fragile, and infinitely precious thing within my heart.

And so the journey continues…

Next: The Big Con

Friday, June 4, 2010

The first 10 days in Paradise

What I love the most about living in the “wild”:
Being woken by the rooster crowing before dawn
Watching sunrise, sunset and Venus setting every day
The brilliance and exhilarating infinity of the stars
The unbelievable vastness of the silence
Spying with binoculars on the multitude of birds feeding on the fynbos
The overwhelming friendliness and helpfulness of small-town people
No rush hour traffic, no noise, no pollution, plenty of parking in town
Time and space to breathe, to think, to BE
Watching the ecstatic happiness of the dogs running at full speed for as long and as far as they wish
Falling into bed by 10pm, bone-weary from physical work
The breathtaking, heart-stopping beauty of this place
Leaving the doors open at night and feeling safe in a way I have never felt in the city in a cage of burglar bars
No car alarms going off in the middle of the night, no streetlights, no drunken revellers shambling past our house, no beggars, no city squalor, no ugliness anywhere
Driving in 4x4 up the bumpy, treacherous, incredibly beautiful, mountainous dirt road to our home

What takes some getting used to:
At night when the lights are out in the house it is irrelevant whether my eyes are open or closed – the view is the same!
The fine dust that settles over everything regardless of how much I clean
The brown colour of the river water due to tannins and the funny “scum” it deposits round the rim of my teacup
The realization that we need to make sure there are “belts and braces” in place for everything we might need – a dramatically increased awareness of the need for self-sufficiency
No distractions - nothing I have to do and nowhere I have to be
In this place one is confronted with the reality of who you really are. There are no places to hide and you need to be very happy with your own company and with creating your own entertainments.

We spend most of the day watching the ever-unfolding beauty from our balcony. I’ve been taking countless photos but nothing can do justice to the spectacular beauty of this place.

However, below is a small selection:

The view from our balcony

God’s handiwork on display all day from our balcony

Sunrise over the swimming pool

Sunset over the distant mountains

Toasting the sunset

Our house

Our pick-up in front of the house

Zingdad and Zing collaborating on The Ascension Papers

The 2 blondes in my life, in the light of the setting sun

Zingdad in meditative frame of mind

Next: Adapting to my new reality

Friday, May 21, 2010

Moving on

For me this is a time of endings, a time of nostalgia, a time for farewells.

My next blog posting will be written in our new rental forest home and between then and now lies a rather daunting to-do list, not to mention an exhausting list of concerns and anxieties about the move. We’re not just moving 500km away to a new town; we’re actually moving an eternity away to a whole new reality.

Suddenly, after all the months of talking about it and preparing for it, the time has finally come for us to start creating and living this new reality we have dreamed of for so long. Although there is a great deal of uncertainty and some fear about our new life, we have already mostly disconnected ourselves from our old life and we find ourselves in a rather unsettling place, betwixt and between.

As this weekend will be our very last in the city, we had planned to enjoy the best that city life has to offer. However, when we sat down to plan the weekend, we both realized that there was absolutely nothing we wanted to do other than stay home and cook a quiet meal, to be eaten amidst the piles of boxes. Just as well, I suppose. It would have been rather problematic if we still hankered after the city life.

However, there is still some attachment left to the old life. It’s quite amazing to discover how very closely I have identified myself with my home and I find myself experiencing periodic anxiety about whether the new owners will take good care of the pool, the garden and whether their furniture will look good in “my” home and worrying about whether they will repaint the walls which I so lovingly and painstakingly painted myself with specially selected textured paint. I know I have to relinquish my attachment to this house. I guess I’m really experiencing first-hand the suffering caused by what the Buddhists refer to as “attachment to form”. It’s been so interesting to note that every single possession I have released, from my home to my car to my clothing to my furniture etc was something that, once upon a time, I specially chose and loved very much. However, there comes a time when we have to release every last thing, including ideas and thought-forms and abstractions. And our attachment to those things, our identification of ourselves with those things, is what causes us pain and suffering.

I suppose mostly what I am having to let go of right now are the final vestiges of the previous ideas I had of myself; the go-getter, the yuppie, the “successful”, busy, upwardly mobile career person. I don’t really know who the new me is, but I need to create the space for her to come into being and the only way to do that is to finally discard all of the old.

I am suddenly acutely aware of the fact that I really am taking a leap into the complete unknown with only my heart to guide me home.

During the past few weeks, as I’ve said my final goodbyes to friends and family, I have been aware that several of these goodbyes will, in fact, be goodbye forever. My journey is taking me in a certain direction and I know that, despite their good intentions to visit, many will find that their own life journey simply makes this a remote possibility. So there’s been a lot of sadness and grieving for what was, but also a lot of reflection and many beautiful memories of journeys undertaken with some very special people.

So, now… here I am… standing on the edge of the cliff, with a very thin bungee cord attached to my ankles… waiting for the moment… heart pounding with excitement and a touch of fear….

Three, two, one… BUNGEEEEEEE…….

Next: First 10 days in Paradise