Friday, September 23, 2011

Living From the Heart Again: 28 Years of Life

I am sitting on the bed as I write this. Ness is curled up in a quilt, our red love- blanket spread across her body. I have just returned from the kitchen with an old jam jar filled with water and a croissant in a white paper bag. As I sat down, my cat pounced into the windowsill and perched himself there, staring into the magnolia trees in our yard. Earlier, I thought I had a good plan for how I would type and eat breakfast in bed without waking my wife. I had intended to place my jar of water into the sill...but with my cat Sadie there, this is no longer a viable option. Sadie enjoys knocking things over. I looked to my right and considered trying to balance the jar on the bed for a moment...but if I moved without thinking, or if someone else ( Ness, or our dog BB) moved suddenly the glass would spill and wet everything.

" Where can I place my jar so that it will remain full?" I asked myself.

And then I realized that this is the same question I have been asking myself for 8 years.

Where can I place my jar, so that it will not spill over accidentally? Where can I put my jar, so that I will comfortably be able to drink from it when I need to?

I have been searching for the answer to that question for a very long time.

This morning, an idea occurred to me that might actually be a viable answer, " open a meditation center". A great answer.

This could be a real possibility for me down the road. I would like very much for us to buy a plot of land on which we could live, own a meditation retreat, and run a simple vegan restaurant. It would bring Ness' passion and mine together in a way that each would compliment the other, and in the middle of this little oasis, we could find ways to bring our families back together.

My wife looks a bit strange right now. One foot is high up on a cushion facing downward, and the other is contorted in a sideways position. I must have looked silly yesterday too. I won't go into too many details here, but I had reason to believe that something terrible had happened to my wife. In the 45 minute period that ensued while the police searched for her, all kinds of macabre and disturbing fears terrorized me. I sat in the dining room, completely hysterical, sobbing uncontrollably. I called everyone that she knows, pleading with them to please call me if she phoned them. I prayed.

A few minutes later the police showed up on my doorstep, announcing that everything was just fine. Ness had only taken a stroll in the park. No one had harmed her. " She's right over there if you want to talk to her" the officer told me, and I looked over to see the love of my life chatting with three or four cops down the street. I walked down the hill in what felt like slow motion and the moment I was near her, emotions just started pouring out of me. " I thought you were dead!" I wailed. Ness looked at me and her face turned from anger to sympathy. She turned to the cops, thanked them and rushed me off before too much more of a scene could be made. She later told me that I looked totally destroyed and as if I was just hanging on by a limb. That's pretty much how I felt when I feared that I would never see my wife again. I felt as though I would just give anything to speak to her one more time... and through all of my self-made samsara, she was fine. She'd been fine all along.

Loss can really rack your brain. It can make you imagine terrible things when everything is perfectly fine. Trauma can do the same thing. It can cause you to make enemies out of people who really only mean well.

My birthday is in a few days. I used to have so much trouble with my birthday. On my birthday, I used to lash out at people, and I used to cry ad grieve for my first mother. It was not a day I could celebrate. On my birthday my heart was heavy, and everything reminded me of the family I lost many many years ago. I felt like some kind of cosmic joke on that day.

This morning, I started to think of the evolution my personality and spirit have undergone. I still struggle with how to live in the world, but I think I'm moving in the right direction. I have learned to appreciate my wife, my parents, my grandparents, my cousins, my extended family. I have allowed myself to search for the meaning of life.

In some ways, I feel as though I was born into a trap- and in other ways, I feel that I was very very blessed. I have had to overcome the loss of my first mother, father, and sister. Starting out this way wasn't easy...but I was adopted by people who love me. Even though there are a few people in my family that are unable to extend themselves to me, I am lucky because I can count these people on one hand. In life, although I have lost a lot, I think I have gained much much more.

On Sept 28th, I will be able to celebrate 28 years of life. 28 years of experiences. I have met strange birds. I have survived intense periods of grief and loss. I have been privileged enough to witness change. I have evolved. I have continually tried to understand the universe and myself. I have sought life. I have loved with my entire heart in the best way I know how.

If nothing else, I think I am finally allowing myself to be just be true. I didn't feel as though I could do that before. I felt very threatened and rejected by the world at large.... but this is now.... I have grown, I have changed. The world has grown and changed, my parents have grown and changed.

I was heartbroken when I learned that Troy Davis was put to death. I called the Georgia Parole Board and Supreme Court many times to advocate for him. For me, this was a very complex legal and emotional issue. Regardless of what Troy did, we have to decide what kind of society we want to be- the kind of example we want to set. Are we going to listen to what our citizens want? Is public outrage important? Should we allow criminals time to change, grow, and evolve? Should we hold ourselves responsible for creating a world in which people get left behind? Humans prey on each other. We do this for oil, for money, for power. Are we ever going to look at the ways in which WE have been perpetrators against life... or are we going to abide by procedural evils which DO NOT HEAL our society. DO we want to allow the law to become God?

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