Disfrutar II: the Holy Sea

To live by the sea…

To walk to the shore for matins, for confession…

To collect all concerns of the heart in a single vessel, shaped like a question mark,

And carry it down the beach along with your steaming tea…

 

Every wave is a prayer bench.

Wait for the next one and pour your question in,

Empty your mind,

Watch the foamy fingers catch it and draw it back to the watery heart of the earth,

to the beginning of time,

and then return the answer on the very next wave

…and the next.

Every answer the same, every answer new,

every answer just for you:

I am the door; knock and be opened.

Rest here, on these shifting sands.

But don’t go back to sleep.

 

m.l.     Costa Natura, Estepona, Espana
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Disfrutar I: Profiting from a prophet

As I sort my way through Jet-lag and half-emptied suitcases, I post the first in the Disfrutar series, musings from my sojourn in Spain.

Disfrutar 1:

July 16

Day dawns primordial pink, even over Irving, Texas.

It lifts the curtain of darkness with the corners of its luminous grin,

An old and knowing friend more reliable than my own faith….

 

My own faith, which falters, a shark caught in nets of outgrown biography, dulled imagination, suffocating circumstance.

Some souls, like sharks, need movement to live, need fresh experience flowing through their gills to oxygenate their mission, as they patrol the sea of humanity, praying more than preying…and pollinating.

 

Outside the Red Roof Inn, grackles—dollar a dozen dervishes—squeal with delight,

the same explosive squeal here as everywhere—Phoenix to Miami—

the same precious, exuberant, unfettered delight—

pops the bubbles of ferment,

pierces the swollen film around this heart.

 

Joie de Vivre needs no translation.

 

In their explosive, laughing peals echoes the voice of A.K.,

short for “African King,” he insists, until I demonstrate sympathetic familiarity with Arabic.

Then Akmiel, my Ethiopian taxi man tells me it means “complete.”

He is Prophet King of the Grackle Tribe, and my own wake up call:

“In America, Life is Good,” he says, “I love my job…

We have water to drink and a shower every morning…!”

 

So do I.

When did my heart wander from its home among the grackles?

No matter; they never missed me; and the dawn tells me it’s never too late to rejoin the party. It never stops.

And the password is always “Thank You.”

 

m.l.       (somewhere over the Atlantic)

Ask not for who the Diving Bell trolls….

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Pain:

…multifold, dense,  indistinct,

…pushing upward, collapsing inward, twisting in all directions at once;

…fumes wafting off of semi-solid emotion;

…tangled with tendrils of mind and meaning….

Tethered so,

there is no rising above it,

no wrapping consciousness around to contain it, like Ganesha swallowing a flaming demon.

There is only diving to the center to be consumed in its black fire

among the other charred structures of  self,

like skeletal wreckage rusting on the sea floor,

obstinately solid, and made more so in the witnessing.

Who is seeing this?

Who is the witness patrolling it all in a diving bell,

seeing all and engaging none with the eyes behind my eyes?

This I,

who lets “me” wallow in squalor, impervious and yet pervasive,

this I,

who fills the depths,  surrounds, and every space between with the silent sound of Presence

…and an invitation to the party of which I am guest of honor but not dressed to attend.

m.l., July 14, Eldorado, NM

Anal Fission and other dark forces.

There may be be no cure.

You can do the math.


What I wish for my poor world

is a psychic sitz bath.

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We often associate the phrase “Pain in the Ass” with a nuisance. Truth be told though, pain in the ass is a formidable adversary, precisely because, since it is attacking the area of the energy body (root chakra) associated with one’s survival and fundamental validity, one can scarcely help but regard it as adversarial. It is some of the hardest pain to allow, to accommodate to, because it seems to attack one’s very right to exist, one’s root in the physical world.

Even though I have lived pretty clean for my first 50 years, in recent months of my 51st year, I have developed an uncannily ferocious complex of afflictions at my tail end. This is where all the deepest shadow has been stored.

The body is a miracle, subject to physical laws but also to much subtler psychic forces. It is an instrument and a repository for all kinds of intelligence, and each intelligence has its own kind of memory. And when those many expressions of memory are activated all at once—by, for example, retracing old trauma—it is quite a phantasmagoria of sensation. Physical pain is one thing, but when combined, beyond clear cognition, with collective and personal trauma, shame, powerlessness and all manner of other human themes and emotion, which rip through the subtler bodies like a napalm wind—it quite literally cleans your clocks. It makes it very hard to even pretend to functionality. The ages are demanding audience and catharsis; it becomes your dharma or your downfall (and often looks like both).

As a carrier of the void, I’ve always been an advocate for the underbelly, the vulnerable, shadowy side of human experience, where the soul mines rich, forbidden truths. Even if these truths turn out to be fictions, they must be respected, as must the dark, which is real until someone turns on the light.

When you call in the Light, it comes. It is then you learn that thoughts, memory, and all other structures of self cast shadows. The light begins to flush them out. It augers in, down, deep. It awakens in the beneath and the between. Thus it is that, after a glowing honeymoon phase basking in the light, the emboldened one who recognized its Self in the Light, and romanced that Light with bold vows and prayers for more, enters a tunnel of increasingly chiaroscuro transfiguration.

My latest, formidable adversarial allies in this process have been a hemorrhoid and anal fissure, afflictions which can inhabit the same square inch of bodily real estate and require completely contrasting treatment. They cohabit insistently, en-fleshing every paradox that must be held without resolution in the heart and mind.

They bite my ass, slashing, like Kali, with excruciating precision at the tender tissues of my hind-end, and also at pride and all other sensations and structures of “self.”

I can feel that self grip in defense, in indignity, in the same mechanism that has preserved me and my ancestors through the ages, allowing us to evolve to this point.

Simultaneously, I can feel how, if I could access that impulse and relax it, there would be no more pain. What a conundrum, when the self recognizes that it is its own obstacle to peace, to liberation; when it recognizes that there is no remedy possible, only forgiveness. 

The body is not at fault. Nor is the person who fears she has failed to keep it healthy. This is simply a time in our seething world when we are being called to respond differently, to Love: To love the pain and the assholes and all inflamed eruptions on the world stage—whether violent actions or political candidates— not because they are asking for it, not because they are what or who they are, but because we are what we are.

We are being asked to Trust what we are, and embrace what we are,  in ourselves and everyone else:

  To BE Love even if when can’t FEEL love.

It is what we are for.

It is what we are made of.