it has been over a year since i last sent a note out to you. i want to confess, that over that long stretch of time, as we measure it, i have thought of you often. sometimes missing the simple art of writing words and sending them - sometimes turning the whole experience of not doing so into a monster of sorts, a failure. feeling like i wasn’t meeting my own standards, not producing enough, not following through on some idea i had of how frequent notes should be. failing at being an entrepreneur, or running my business.
i began to wonder about this definition though. really, really - a failure at what? in his book, No Self, No Problem, Anam Thubten explains that we don’t need to spend so much time being afraid to try, or afraid of failure. he points out that in our current human experience, where we are not awakened out of the illusion of separation, we have already experienced the greatest possible failure - we have lost touch with our true nature. all other failure is only a concept. “Actually failing is absolutely fine because we have already completely and utterly failed. Why are we afraid of failing again? Nothing else is really a tragedy or a real serious failure in comparison with the failure of losing our unity with our true nature.”
when i first tried to read Thubten’s book a few years ago i put it down every few pages, angry at him for some thing or another. irritated by his confident assertions. when i picked it up this summer my practice and experiences over the last years had changed me and each page seemed more likely to have me laugh and smile.
i feel comforted by his reminder. i don’t need to worry so much about getting things wrong, about trying (or not trying hard enough) and failing. i believe i have glimpses of my true nature, and so i feel the depth of his teaching. i have experienced my greatest failure, my separation from this state of being, from my true nature. that i didn’t write something, notes that i thought i would, for some time. this doesn’t have to be a failure - that is only a concept i might chose to apply. maybe i just let go. surrender to the time that passed and pick back up. this feels like a relief. from this space, i can truly let you know i am sorry that i went quiet. i am sorry that i thought of you, and didn’t find a way to let you know that you were on my mind - and my heart.
and here in the now i can write and say, hello.
a few weeks ago i sat on the hardwood floor and did my own quiet meditation while it rained. i thought that day about the gift of my deepening practice, about the heart swelling love of just sitting with the rain. a little while after that i decided to treat a long weekend up at the lake like a mini self-made retreat. i had a series of evenings where i committed to practicing with the sunset. it was spectacular. i could feel my nervous system shift as i took in the setting sun, the lake herself also holding me.
somewhere in these months and months that have passed since i have written, ten thousand small stories have taken place. death, loss, change, growing, breaking, spilling, falling, building, love, practice - driving from here to there, cooking this or that. my life, just like yours, a constant changing tapestry of doing - that is actually designed by my being.
this summer was a lot of matcha green tea, seeking out sunlight, discovering what courage is to me, and experimenting. i moved less and did seated practice more. i swam more and stayed on the shores less. i cried and shouted. i held and hugged and shared so much love. i felt lost and continued to discover that lost is all there is. that getting comfortable with feeling lost is the only time i feel certain.
as i write this note i am in my kitchen, sitting on my grandparents old wooden bench at my grandparents old wooden table. my children are with their dad, my cat is perched on the window sill, my dog is on the front steps. i just got off the phone with my best friend. i was telling her how much, over the last years, i have come to believe that my experience of my life, of what happens around me and to me, is determined by my internal landscape. i was sharing a moment the other day where i was certain someone was being unfair to me and i realized, “i can stand on making sure he knows i am right, and he was unfair - or i can turn inwards to the parts of me that are aching from all the unfairness. i can give them some light, some breathing room, some of my attention. some of the love they are yearning for. i can be right in this conflict or i can take care of my pain.” i chose to take care of my pain. this feels monumental, each time i chose it.
have you had an experience like this recently, or ever? one where you catch yourself able to make a decision about how you proceed in a higher stakes moment? one where you turn inwards and chose the pieces of your self that most need your tending?
in doing this, turning away from being right in the external world and towards what is activated inside me, i trust this act of internal tending is my path to some kind of awakening, is “me” coming back home to my true nature. and further, i trust that my true nature has a wisdom and capacity to navigate my life in the now. so i don’t need to fight for this (or any) “rightness” in a moment. i can welcome more of myself back home - and know that my true awareness always knows my way. i am somehow the great spaciousness, and form arising from the spaciousness, and that form engaging with reality. when i hold all three as true at once, my way is most known.
it has been a privilege to be born into a life where i have the space, time, and support to wonder about such things. the more i see this privilege the more important i think it is that i show up to it. that i take this and do the work of trying to wake up. that any way i can navigate such a path, and thus be able to better support others in navigating such a path, is my offering to a time in humanity when things are really quite fucked up. so i keep devoting myself to finding my way, to finding ways, to becoming.
all of this internal exploration and tending is perhaps a strange way to try to show up to myself, to my loved ones, and to this world - compared to the teachings of modern day society and norms. but, it all represents my ever deepening belief in our human capacity, our actual embodied awakening. and i am an aquarius - so strange is sort of my jam. my cats don’t ever seem to mind.
do you know what i mean at all? about the ultimate failure of losing a sense of our true nature? about deepening practice, sunset meditation, turning towards your own parts in the middle of a conflict? is there a hint of something familiar or something you wonder about in it all?
i want to invite you to stay here with me. if you are curious, or interested in being fellow travelers of some kind. if you are discovering your own kinds of homecoming, your own strange ways of showing up, your own unique life force and expression. i wonder if we might explore together, share some stories, exchange practices, be in a community of inquiry and grace somehow - more together and less alone.
i anticipate starting here, with some notes from me to you. some stories, some practice ideas, some life. i want to invite you to read quietly, or to respond, to write back, to say hello. i wonder if we might pick up here in the now and see where it takes us.
i know you have been out there discovering. i would love it if you would share something great or small with me.