Pieces of Sunrise

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Perspective

Jeb turns 11. We celebrate by traveling to the tippy-top of the island.

There, the air is cooler. The trees, larger.

The perspective, expansive.

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Groundless

We’re getting tossed about. All is shifting.

Our house is surrounded in scaffolding, as rotted fascia is replaced with new walls.

Jeb turns 11 on Friday. Hormones pulse beneath the flesh of his broadening shoulders. We look at each other, nearly, eye-to-eye.

The car got a new radiator (that leak was not just in my head – see post details here). And we discovered the rear shocks were shot, as well.

“What happens if you don’t replace the rear shocks?” I ask the mechanic, as I tally up the estimate he’s quoting me.

“Well, then you’ll have a pretty bumpy ride.”

I’m all for smooth sailing these days, but lately, circumstance seems to be continually swirling our family in the flurry of a snow globe. It’s unsettling. Discomforting.

Yet, I can’t help but think if I just changed my mind about it all, I may find some beauty in the blizzard.

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Sometimes in the midst of the chaos, I reach for the wisdom of a master. One who has dedicated her life to staying with all places uneasy. Pema Chodron dives right in. Suggests that the greatest gifts can be found when everything gets tight and goes topsy-turvy.

“…We continually find ourselves in that squeeze. It’s a place where we look for alternatives to just being there. It’s an uncomfortable, embarrassing place, and it’s often the place where people like ourselves give up…

This place of the squeeze is the very point in our meditation and in our lives where we can really learn something. The point where we are not able to take it or leave it, where we are caught between a rock and a hard place, caught with both the upliftedness of our ideas and the rawness of what’s happening in front of our eyes—that is indeed a very fruitful place.

When we feel squeezed, there’s a tendency for mind to become small. We feel miserable, like a victim, like a pathetic, hopeless case. Yet believe it or not, at that moment of hassle or bewilderment or embarrassment, our minds could become bigger. Instead of taking what’s occurred as a statement of personal weakness or someone else’s power, instead of feeling we are stupid or someone else is unkind, we could drop all the complaints about ourselves and others. We could be there, feeling off guard, not knowing what to do, just hanging out there with the raw and tender energy of the moment. This is the place where we begin to learn the meaning behind the concepts and the words.

We’re so used to running from discomfort, and we’re so predictable. If we don’t like it, we strike out at someone or beat up on ourselves. We want to have security and certainty of some kind when actually we have no ground to stand on at all.

The next time there’s no ground to stand on, don’t consider it an obstacle. Consider it a remarkable stroke of luck. We have no ground to stand on, and at the same time it could soften us and inspire us. Finally, after all these years, we could truly grow up…

We are given changes all the time. We can either cling to security, or we can let ourselves feel exposed, as if we had just been born, as if we had just popped out into the brightness of life and were completely naked.

Maybe that sounds too uncomfortable or frightening, but on the other hand, it’s our chance to realize that this mundane world is all there is, and we could see it with new eyes and at long last wake up from our ancient sleep of preconceptions…

We need encouragement to experiment and try this kind of thing. It’s quite daring, and maybe we feel we aren’t up to it. But that’s the point. Right there in that inadequate, restless feeling is our wisdom mind. We can simply experiment. There’s absolutely nothing to lose. We could experiment with not getting tossed around by right and wrong and with learning to relax with groundlessness…”

~Pema Chodron from “Three Methods for Working with Chaos” courtesy of Lion’s Roar

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