Monday, February 23, 2015

getting it right

we all begin at the beginning
and good.
and there is no end to that

But, very early on we become aware of a subtle shift, a space appears to take form between ourselves and the other. Conditioning sets roots into that space and survival begins to run the show. In spite of even the most well intentionally loving conditions, this will happen to all of us.

As we feel the separation occurring,
as our awareness of our separate self in and as our own body occurs,
we feel the pull, the tension, not to be separated.
We begin to do all we can to belong, to fit in
to stay with the other, to close the gap.
We avoid feeling this separation.

Ultimately and thankfully, because there is finally no place to go, 
we can meet the truth in our bodies.

That we can feel the separation and grow in trust to allow ourselves the experience, is the essential ground of awakening.
And individualizing, mysteriously, also brings us into the wholeness that we long for.
It is a conscious returning to the beginning of who we are.
And, lo and behold we can't make it happen.
Nor, can we keep it from happening.

I started writing what I used to call a poem prompted by my inquiry on getting it right. The inquiry and the condition arose from the fabric of my life.
Today I have more to say about separation.
I have more to say about individualizing.
I have more to say about this process of awakening and the process of reconnecting ourselves to what is always and already awake.
It is through separation, that most dreaded but illusory condition, that we become conscious of our wholeness.

We may have to lose ourselves many times and even watch ourselves do so,
to make the connection that reconnects us to the whole, consciously.

I began my conditioned life buoyed by the need to do it right. Later, of course, it grew into also needing to be right, but at such a young age as 7, being right really was not in my survival bag.

Dear Virgo ruling my first house, I no longer resist your gifts or your perfect lessons.
Dear Lilith in my first house made sure I did not succumb to someone else's pattern.
It took a long time for me to see this conditioning and this need among many other needs, clearly and with compassion. It took time for space to soften the edges of me to not flee from what I felt.
Conditioning still lives in me and this morning I wonder, does it live as thought or is it something else?
I could google it but it is so much more satisfying to ask myself these days.
I wonder about the form of conditioning, does it have form? No. I cannot see it or sense it.
Is it something passed down, that is not meant to be kept but to grow through, like good soil but in a backward way? Yes, poetically speaking, maybe.
Or is it like an ancient letter that keeps checking to see if I'm the right mailbox?
oh, more poetic license, yes!

When I feel the need to "get it right", it's serious.
My body responds in contraction, even panic sometimes.
Thankfully, that which is "only aware" as Adyashanti points to it, that which is kinder than thought, can hold that thought.

(hold that thought, suddenly has new meaning)

and from this moment of spacious holding,
what is not true is clearly felt and seen 
with the eyes of the heart.
The heart is the seat of our creativity.
And creativity is the seat of our wholeness.
It is how we come home to ourselves.
Whatever form creativity takes in our lives,
it will take us home.

This inquiry opened me up this morning to compassion for my limitations.
My limitations as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a friend can come home now, no longer needing to do it right. I am sorry for not being able to do it better. But I am relieved to see the truth. Perfectionism creates separation in me and my world and it hurts.

The drawing above is from my first week of first grade, in 1959.
My first life lesson was given form (and kept lovingly by my mother all these years). Something in my body did not forget the contraction in response to the teacher asking us to draw "what people do in the fall."

I really had no idea how to draw an answer. My mind went blank. 
And I caved in, trying to disappear in my front row seat.
I was scared not to know the right answer.
I found the solution by copying my neighbor.
Skillful, you might say! 
But the feeling inside was never addressed because I couldn't tell the truth about it. I couldn't give it a voice that I could hear.
It simply wasn't RIGHT! And I can be stubborn as hell.

My teacher gave me jobs to do that year to boost my confidence, so she surely saw what I wished to hide from.


That drawing revealed my life's path of learning to listen to my true self. 
My true self is the one who supports me like a best friend. 
I have painted all my adult life, but it has not been until I began to engage myself with process painting that I have been able to address those feelings which were leftover from my childhood. I'm setting those birds free.

Our living is a process of hearing our own voice, our intuition, our body, our heart and following through.

And that’s how one gets it right.

That’s how we will become the world, righted and whole.
The impulse is in each of us to follow through.
Can you feel it?


  1. Having experienced deeply the unity of it all, you got it right. After that you've seen clearly that the word "right" applies to whatever you honestly feel or think. You were "home" schooled.

  2. Thanks Benedict, now I really feel confirmed!