Apprenticeship to Love: Daily Meditation, Inspirations, and Practices for Authentic Relationships, August 14, 2023
• Today’s question: Is She, this ocean of life and love and sensation, calling you to experience more than you think you can manage? Are you tempted to be less than yourself?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 13 of this month's practice, to practice for yourself, your wants, the things you yearn for (see my "Short Practice to Relieve Anxiety,” below)
• My practice: 3am: 20 minutes: Pranayama to Rebalance for Clarity)
• My vulnerability practice: Listening. Breathing. Allowing all of these currents to move me. All of it to be tasted, eaten. Enjoyed...
Rev. Hans Peter Meyer
It's Monday. That's "chore day" for me and my pal. We get together most Mondays to work on stuff we'd rather not do. One week it's his yard and home. The next, mine. Otherwise, nothing would get done here. (I'm almost sure of that.) My excuse today is that it's my birthday. Not that I need an excuse. The other Monday I cancelled because it was raining for the first time in weeks and I needed to be in the woods with dogs and the trees, in the rain. Feeling it. Some things are important. More important than others. Rain the woods is more important than maintaining my house and garden.
It's a marker for where I'm at that this birthday kind of snuck up on me. If it weren't for my daughter's birthday yesterday and one of my BFF's birthday in a couple of days, I might have let this one slip under the radar. Not like me. That's what people who know me would say. But, like I said, it's a marker: I'm swimming in a bigger ocean, feeling more currents and tides, and this birthday thing seems to be smaller than it used to be...
Sometimes the flood of feelings and thoughts —to mix the metaphors: the flowers of this garden— sometimes they're hard to hold. So much to hold.
Too much to hold?
No. Because I practice. And that's why I practice. That's why I encourage my students to practice: to not only become more sensitive so they can feel it all, but to become stable enough and still enough to feel it all and enjoy it all! Feel the flood! Feel the tugging, the threatening-to-uproot us, allowing ourselves to be taken to the edge of ourselves... And yes, enjoy every moment.
To enjoy everything.
I have habits. Ways and means to keep myself from feeling. With practice, and with the help of teachers, I'm learning to resist these calls to make my own "trip to Echo Spring," to borrow a metaphor from Olivia Laing that, after yesterday's conversation with my daughter, seems so powerful. (I've narrowly escaped addictions. Seems I'm bent in such a way as to experience and test, but always to return to the ocean of it all and risk the drowning I fear.)
I remember those trips to Echo Spring. Fondly. But today I seem to be done with them. I'm grateful for that.
Everything in this garden I've sown, this life, everthing needs to be tasted. Devoured.
Yes, the metaphors are getting mixed. Muddied. But the ocean, the garden, Echo Spring itself, they're all part of the mud of this life. And though we're a season away now from the muddy season the lotus draws on to manifest as flowers... It's good for me to remember: I am of this mud and even in the light of mid-August when I was birthed from the darkness of my mother's womb, even now the mud is where my roots are at home. Remember this. Let the mud nourish me. And especially now when the bright light is too much and the womb space, that holy space of confusion, it calls...
(You cannot imagine what it means to me to have discovered first Kimberly Ann Johnson's work on the body and sexuality and her wisdom travels with Stephen Jenkinson, all of it because I started to ask my tantric/doula oracles about the "sacred womb." Nor can you imagine what it means for me to revel in the words and thoughts of Olivia Laing as she explores the body, the garden, alcoholism, creativity, anarchism...)
The art of conversation is a passion.
I've let this slip into an industrial mode by way of podcasting. An art mediated by commerce, marketing. I know this version of the trip to Echo Spring well: how I stopped living my life and created the illusion of mastering it —a delightful illusion that I was abruptly disabused of five years ago.
What did KAJ write most recently, reflecting on her summer's wedding? "There are some things meant to be kept private and some things that are meant to be shared." And: the readers of her email list are not part of her "cash piñata."
I asked Kimberly Ann to be on my podcast this spring. She agreed. I was overwhelmed with excitement. And, anticipated that my list would be a cash piñata. Not.
I failed to press the record button and our beautiful (for me) conversation was for that moment. And for whatever memory I have of it. In this failure, which I've thought about often, I've learned some things. Like, some things are perhaps meant to be private. Or at least, living on the moment of their experience. Like that conversation. Like so many conversations that I have with men and women, couples. Conversations that are intimate. Beautiful flowers that bloom for that moment. Not meant to be shared. Meant to be cherished.
These moments are the ocean in which I swim. And, to mix and muddy metaphor again, they are the flowers in the garden I husband. They blossom for a moment. They are the beautiful and irreplaceable and often forgotten flowers that I devote my life to. Like my conversation with KAJ. To be enjoyed. Savoured. And, allowed to fade...
The garden I tend is an unruly garden. I love this about Her. She teaches me that where the wild things are is the most fascinating place for me. Unmediated. Experienced in the raw. As is this ocean in which I swim, on which I sail. And, at times, flouder. Currents and tides and winds, all beyond me.
She holds my attention and my depth with Her unruly ways. Just be the husbandman. Not wanting to contain or limit Her, but only to know the joy of this moment.
Here I am. And a very happy birthday to me as I am remembering what I’ve sown, enjoying what I am reaping. Not all of it sweet. Not all of it bitter. All of it necessary to this moment. (She tells me I am beautiful, my beloved. I am choosing to enjoy that, too.)
🌀If something is not eating your plants, then your garden is not part of the ecosystem. (@creative_gardening1 on Instagram)
🌀Some stories- personal or archetypal or mythical- are only meant to be told in the dark.
Yes, there should be gatekeepers.
All knowledge, all revelation, all teachings, are not meant for everyone, everywhere.
There is timing.
There is earning.
There is waiting.
There is knowing the right moment.(Kimberly Ann Johnson, writing about her wedding)
🌀The way of experience begins with a breath, Such as the breath you are breathing now. Awakening into luminous reality May dawn in the momentary throb Between any two breaths.
Exhaling breath is released and flows out. There is a pulse as it turns to flow in. In that turn, you are empty. Enter that emptiness as the source of all life.
Inhaling, breath flows in, filling, nourishing. Just as it turns to flow out, There is a flash of pure joy. Life is renewed. (Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, yukti verse 1 via Kundalini Yoga School, Pranayama sadhana, Day 3)
🌀You are beautiful. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED PRACTICE
Day 13 of this month's practice:
Please read through first, then ...
Today, set a time —at least three minutes, perhaps 11— when you can be alone and in stillness.
• Stand or sit or lie, with a beautiful and straight spine, firm but relaxed, feeling your feet or your sit bones or hips heavy and connected to the earth;
• Close your eyes;
• Inhale deeply into your belly, letting it become soft and round;
• Exhale by gently and slowly, much more slowly than your inhale, pressing your navel to your spine,
• And listen to my guidance on this month's practice:
When you’re done, stand or sit or lie for another minute and breathe gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself: Is She, this ocean of life and love and sensation, calling you to experience more than you think you can manage? Are you tempted to be less than yourself?
Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
Continue with your day, open to the gifts it brings.
★ FOR PREMIUM & BRONZE SUBSCRIBERS
Join me for the live August 16 Apprenticeship to Love Virtual Workshop where we’ll talk about Barbie as an Oracle in our lives at this moment. THIS WILL NOT BE POSTED TO THE PODCAST. Register at… https://is.gd/97d9hv(Premium and Bronze subs please choose the no-charge. If you’re not a Premium or Bronze subscriber, please choose the Regular ticket or click on "subscribe" and choose Premium or Bronze at https://apprenticeship-to-love.ghost.io/)