As much as I seek community and foster supportive circles for creative and for spiritual practice, at the end of the day I know this path is a lonely one.
Lonely in the sense that only I can carry the load I've been tasked to move for this stretch of ground. The gremlins of fear and doubt are of my own creating and therefore only I can slay them. Or rather, befriend and tame them as their purpose is not so much to derail me, as to protect and safeguard me. Understanding their motives - to keep little Lisa safe - is to recognize they speak in the voice of the small, frightened, isolated me. And that, my friends, is not the totality of Me. Or you. This is when I need to draw upon guidance that provides a wider perspective, one that allows me to take in the fuller picture I am supported and cared for by forces far greater than what my limited senses can perceive.
I've been thinking that my frustration in community experience - no matter how loving and attentive my sisters may be - I still face the confusion and challenges alone. How am I to proceed? What is the right action? How to I find ease and comfort? How do I contribute to love and trust, rather than feeding fear and doubt?
Yet there is companionship ... brilliant points of light in the dark ... which may not make the struggle any less arduous but is comfort in the sense of yes, the task of healing is a universal one. I don't want to avoid it because that only drives the pain in deeper.
One friend recently articulating what I've been struggling to understand:
I have been wanting to slurp from a straw "the answer" -- can I just pay you to do the hard work and heavy lifting so that I can slurp up spirit and truth and light and answers without having to even lift a hand? No more laziness. No more relying on others to do this work for me. It doesn't work.
The loneliness forces me to dig deeper ... within myself, within my practice. I have to do my work. This is my practice. Attending to my life which has beautiful, soul stirring highs ...
... and the usual lows that come with being human and living in community. Aging. People being unkind to others. Actions stemming from ignorance and fear.
At the end of the day, I can choose to crumble or I can take action. As a spiritual teacher once shared, even small steps bring freedom from fear.
These past few weeks, I've turned to my sketch book and to my meditation practice. Both offer solid ground ... a place to regroup, rest, and attune to what is really true in this moment. And this moment.
What I can do is remember myself whole. Connected to Source. This is how my practice sustains me. Like a fire, I feed it and it rewards me with warmth and light.
Taking deep breaths helps. Remembering all this IS my life ... running my mother to her many doctors appointments, sitting on the metal waffle iron that passes as a bench at Cowgirl's martial arts center, cleaning the toilets, walking the dog (there's a lot of poop in one's life), standing in line at the pharmacy waiting for my mother's prescriptions (eye-opening is the sight of pharmacists like line-cooks at McDonald's filling a towering pile of medications ... drugs and waiting ... benefits of modern living?), and the usual host of tasks necessary to keep the day jerking forward.
Lurking underneath it all is the Not-knowing ... so much we cannot and do not know! But rather than despair (have been facing that one with an aging parent) I choose to think about Mystery. Opening to it, allowing it to simply be. Do I have any other choice? Would I want it otherwise?
I like magic, I believe in everyday miracles - the hummingbird at my feeder, the sight of my sleeping girl cradling a stuffed lovey, the connections I've made with so many amazingly inspiring individuals - I show up afraid, uncertain, confused and am continually amazed to receive so much.
A new session of my online offering The Gift of Practice begins September 22. All the details plus early registration bonus can be found HERE.
I can't do the work for you, but I share how I pace myself for the journey, how practice offers me hand holds when life is a rocky and vertical climb. Some days, all I can do is cling on, but other days the climb is exhilarating.